London, Camden Underworld
22nd September 2011
(Pics: Judith Fisher)
Frontman Kory Clarke is well-known for his spoken word, so it's no surprise that tonight's show kicks off with a recording of his poetry. Like a lyrical Pied Piper, this brings everyone to the front of the Underworld to witness Warrior Soul take to a London stage once again, and it isn't long before the crowd are chanting for them.
It's a very busy week for gigs in our capital, so it's refreshing to see that this show has drawn a good crowd, but they're slow to really get into it. This changes as soon as Kory's mood gets a little darker and the atmosphere builds, especially as they play 'Fuck The Pigs', which comes complete with punching the air, finger to the crowd, knocking over mic stands, launching at the drums and followed by, "I promise not to break anything"...
Yeah? I don't believe you and neither does the monitor guy standing side of stage, by the look of things.
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He then asks the crowd, "are you drunk yet?" and launches into 'Rotten Soul', which sends them into a pit of feral Kory disciples. The moshing continues throughout and then guitarist, Rille Lundell, decides it's his turn for a paddy as he storms offstage when his guitar strap breaks. The band decide to play on regardless, and it's partway into the next track before he's back with a new guitar and new strap, which promptly breaks as well. This time, he sticks with it and fixes it onstage.
By this time, the monitor guy is looking nervous and this doesn't go unnoticed by Kory. After saying "Kory vs. soundman part 5", he promptly ejects him to the back of the venue. The warmed-up and adoring crowd are hugging him as he leans over the front, and as the band leave the stage to prepare for their encore, a girl grabs hold of the mic lead, drags it towards her and starts chanting "Kory!". With a bent and broken mic stand quickly thrown to the floor, the five-song encore gets underway.
There's a distinct change in atmosphere as the moshing intensifies for 'The Drug', when it looks like Kory's actually snorting cocaine off his microphone. At the end of the track, and as the venue curfew rapidly approaches, he thanks every member of the band and the London audience. But Warrior Soul don't seem to want to leave and by this point, I think the staff at the venue have just given up trying to get them to stop as they finish up their set with 'Downtown' and 'Hero'.
One final encore of 'Wasteland', which is dedicated to Sharon, a long-term friend of the band who's emigrated from London to Texas, and the Underworld is left shattered by one of the most underrated bands of my time.