Cart & Horses / Heavy Metal Fury With Tank And Leader Of Down

It was Metalheads galore down at the infamous Cart & Horses, Birthplace of Iron Maiden, on a warming Wednesday night. Existing as a one-way gateway into all things horns-to-the-sky, the venue was packed to the brim for the beckoning show downstairs with Tank and Leader Of Down.

Tank – Leader of Down

Cart & Horses, Stratford – 20 March 2024

Words: Monty Sewell

Photography: Steve Ritchie

Tank - Cart & Horses, Stratford - 20 March 2024.
Tank – Cart & Horses, Stratford – 20 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

Tank

Tank, from the time of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, were back to play what turned out to be one of the most brilliantly slamming gigs I have had the pleasure of attending.

Last year, founding member Algy Ward’s death hit the Tank team hard. But unable to let the memory of such a musician and a friend go, the band is back on the road. From tonight’s gig to heading across the pond to America this year, the band’s doors are opening into this new era of commemorative Metal.

Tank - Cart & Horses, Stratford - 20 March 2024.
Tank – Cart & Horses, Stratford – 20 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

With a back catalogue of music that has spawned a gaggle of dedicated, band patchwork denim vest-wearing fans, Tank descended with a thunderous force. 

The Cart & Horses is already the perfect setting for such an event; the atmosphere is unapologetically rock. The band mingled with their soon-to-be audience, and as the heavy heartbeat of the bass began to sound from below, we headed down.

Tank - Cart & Horses, Stratford - 20 March 2024.
Tank – Cart & Horses, Stratford – 20 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

With a heavy feature on the album that placed the band on the map, Filth Hounds Of Hades, beers are raised left, right, and centre. Frontman vocalist Marcus Von Boisman is an incredible performer of great stature. 

His vast range of vocals elevates the room, filling the space with an intoxicating Heavy Metal growl. A new addition to the band, he pounds into the audience, engaging them into a frenzy.

Tank - Cart & Horses, Stratford - 20 March 2024.
Tank – Cart & Horses, Stratford – 20 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

(He Fell In Love With A) Stormtrooper, Blood, Guts and Beer, Don’t Walk Away, Shellshock and That’s What Dreams Are Made Of shake the ground wild. Boisman gives a hefty take on the original recorded vocals on the 1982 record, giving a brawling depth to the songs.

Tank - Cart & Horses, Stratford - 20 March 2024.
Tank – Cart & Horses, Stratford – 20 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

Guitar duo and original Tank members Mick Tucker and Cliff Evans play with phenomenally cool tag team unity. Switching up the solos and crafty rhythm sections, that ’80s hunger is not lost and played out with an absurd amount of suave dexterity. 

The crowd absolutely loses themselves in the fiery nostalgia. Though it is hardly a night of past times gone by, Tank is here now, creating a new league of their own.

Tank - Cart & Horses, Stratford - 20 March 2024.
Tank – Cart & Horses, Stratford – 20 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

Karl Wilcox on drums plays a toe-to-toe slam dunk set, while Gav Gray on bass casts no shadow on his beloved predecessor. It is a brilliantly strewn-together show that has the crowd right in the palm of Tank’s hand.

Tracks from the Power Of The Hunter album and records Honour & Blood and This Means War are played before we get The War Drags Ever On as our encore grand finale.

Tank - Cart & Horses, Stratford - 20 March 2024.
Tank – Cart & Horses, Stratford – 20 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

Speaking with the guys after the show, we got to delve into Tank’s history while discussing the excitement of what is in store for the band next. 

Hardly being able to hear anything above the after-show excitement that had wrapped around the Cart & Horses, the guys were almost as buzzed as we were.

Leader Of Down

Leader of Down - Cart & Horses, Stratford - 20 March 2024.
Leader Of Down – Cart & Horses, Stratford – 20 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

Leader Of Down, the brainchild of Grammy-nominated former Motörhead guitarist Würzel and bass player Tim Atkinson, were supporting the packed-out show. The band has toured with Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons and features many sizable names (Lemmy, Fast Eddie Clarke, Cliff Evans, Bruce Foxton, Whitfield Crane) in their current discography.

Leader of Down - Cart & Horses, Stratford - 20 March 2024.
Leader Of Down – Cart & Horses, Stratford – 20 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

The guys are blazingly in their element. As the music rides up, vocalist Matt Baker cracks open the can on his superb Heavy Metal soprano shrills. He dips in and out of those middle-voice howls and lower-end proclamations with a technique to match the greats.

Leader of Down - Cart & Horses, Stratford - 20 March 2024.
Leader Of Down – Cart & Horses, Stratford – 20 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

Similar to Tank, Leader Of Down has such a rich history that it lends itself to becoming part of the show itself. Along with that comes anecdotes in between tracks that spark up a laugh from the audience. 

The intimacy of the venue broadens the whole experience. No arena or stadium show can give you the genuine, in-your-face authenticity of a gig like this. It is raw and bashfully brilliant.

Leader of Down - Cart & Horses, Stratford - 20 March 2024.
Leader Of Down – Cart & Horses, Stratford – 20 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

Guitarist of the night Magnus Ericson performs stellar, shredding through tracks from their latest album, The Screwtape Letters. Midnight In London, Cat’s Eye Night, and the title track, Holloway Motel, have that irresistibly good scream-along chorus that sees Leader Of Down strut their way into the night.

People Say I’m Crazy, Serial Killjoy (along with a shoutout to a certain ex), and Paradise Turned Into Dust are caught on the hook of Atkinson’s bassline craft. 

Leader of Down - Cart & Horses, Stratford - 20 March 2024.
Leader Of Down – Cart & Horses, Stratford – 20 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

The dynamic onstage treads the fine line between outright professionalism and maddening Metal passion. Drummer Daniel Akaoui puts the pace into the pedal with insatiable fills and a hard-knuckled edge to his rhythm hold-up, tying the whole set into one.

What a way to start a night off and what a band to see – indisputably – rise.

Leader of Down - Cart & Horses, Stratford - 20 March 2024.
Leader Of Down – Cart & Horses, Stratford – 20 March 2024. Photo: Steve Ritchie/MetalTalk

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