Tonight Seattle rockers The Walking Papers kick off proceedings at The Kentish Town Forum. With a sax and keyboard player either side, the six-piece band certainly have a fine layered sound that blends alternative rock and an often Tom Waits inspired vibe of jazzy backing and gritty, street wise lyrics.
Words: Kahmel Farahani, Pictures: Robert Sutton
Frontman Jeff Angell makes his best efforts to engage with the crowd and for the most part he succeeds and they end their forty-five minute set with ‘Leave Me In The Dark’ in front of a large crowd.
While The Walking Papers may not have a truly distinctive sound they still put in a fine show that goes over well with the fans tonight.
Although the band were lumped in with the grunge movement of the early 1990s, LA natives Stone Temple Pilots always blended too many subtle shades and musical influences to be pigeon holed with Nirvana. Their classic albums, ‘Core’ and especially ‘Purple’, currently celebrating its 25th anniversary, were masterpieces of heavy riffs, heady melodies and often haunting lyrics. Tonight Stone Temple Pilots make their return for a one-off headline show ahead of Download Festival.
As the lights go down and the band begin the pulsing riff of ‘Wicked Garden’, any doubts as to whether the band still have it are washed away. As the band kick into a ‘Crackerman’ the energy is electric and the crowd really let go and mosh pits surface.
“This is my first time in London so I’m going to remember this for the rest of my life, even if you don’t,” declares new frontman Jeff Gutt. Although the late Scott Weiland will never be replaced as the soul of the band’s music, new man Gutt does a superb job singing these timeless songs. With his cropped blond hair and writhing dance moves, the former American Idol singer even bears an uncanny likeness to the late STP frontman.
“Here’s a song off ‘Number 4’ we rarely play called ‘Glide’,” says bassist Robert DeLeo, and it’s followed by a very powerful version of ‘Creep’. The stage is left empty except for frontman Jeff and guitarist Dean DeLeo as they begin a stunning, stripped down ‘Plush’ which unites the entire crowd singing behind them before the rest of the band return to finish the song in full. “It’s been a long time London,” says a grateful Dean DeLeo. “Thanks for having us at your party.”
From classics like ‘Interstate Love Song’ to new songs like ‘Roll Me Under’, the band never miss a beat while singer Jeff climbs off the stage and up the inner balcony before going for a walk about the crowd. Ending their main set with a fiery and defiant ‘Trippin’ On A Hole In A Paper Heart’, the crowd singing “I’m not dead and I’m not for sale” in unison.
The band return for an encore that begins with ‘Dead And Bloated’ before finally ending the night with a wonderfully sinister ‘Sex Type Thing’ that sends the crowd into totally gleeful chaos, with crowd surfers flying by.
Stone Temple Pilots take their very well deserved bow. Tonight they surprised many a doubtful observer and proved that, even after many years and hard losses, they still have their own magic and the energy to carry it off.
Big Bang Baby
Interstate Love Song
Sex & Violence
Roll Me Under
Trippin’ On A Hole In A Paper Heart
Dead & Bloated
Sex Type Thing