All over the world, even as you read this, there are thousands of people experiencing the euphoria of very loud rock music, played by musicians who are pouring their all into sweat-drenched, visceral performances. There’s genuinely nothing quite like it, and this is something that Tremonti, The Raven Age and HAWXX embrace like their very lives depended on it.
Tremonti, The Raven Age, HAWXX.
Shepherd’s Bush Empire – 29 June 2022
Words: Paul Monkhouse
Photography: Steve Ritchie
In a tightly packed Shepherd’s Bush Empire, it seemed that everyone merged into one fluid mass, the capacity audience reacting to every sonic of visual stimuli as a singular entity. Amongst the maelstrom, there was an odd feeling of calm, the contentment of being somewhere you belonged, strangers, becoming family for those few precious hours.
This was a celebration, a distillation of all that ‘we’ clawed back after all had seemed so lost two years ago, a making up of time. Three bands, one intent.
Read the Tremonti report at https://www.metaltalk.net/tremonti-turn-up-the-heat-to-a-volcanic-level-in-shepherds-bush.php
Opening the evening, HAWXX have been making tsunami-sized waves since forming at the tail end of 2017, the quartet a wrecking ball against all the bullshit in the world. With star-making appearances at the Heavy Awards, Bloodstock Festival and an incendiary set at Download this year, it’s obvious that they’re taking no prisoners, and the blend of joy and determination displayed sums up their attitude to live shows perfectly.
If playing such a legendary venue in their hometown phased them, they hid it well, and you get the impression that every minute onstage is sacred.
Visually striking live, HAWXX hit the hardest though in their ability to write material that will seduce you one minute and eviscerate the next, the four-part harmonies honey that hides the poison underneath. Songs like Death Of Silence and The Worst Thing, full of cascading riffs, twists in times and razor-sharp barbs, exemplify their approach, the brutality matched with a brilliantly engineered artfulness for maximum effect and lyrics that actually say something.
Led by the percussive power of Jessica Dann’s drums and the bass of Julia B Cadua, set-closer, Dogma sees the dark heart exposed and bleeding as Hannah Staphnill’s guitar slashes and Anna Papadimitriou wields her words and voice like a surgeons scalpel.
It’s a breathtaking display and one that leaves a lasting impression, HAWXX is the name on a growing number of lips. The future of intelligent yet fearsome rock music is in safe hands with the quartet.
A tough act to follow certainly, but The Raven Age are veterans of the circuit now. Their time spent opening for Iron Maiden at stadiums all around the globe equipped them with the skill set needed to win over even the most partisan of audiences.
This confidence has been boosted in recent years, the addition of new singer Matt James and the continuing maturation of their writing heralding a new chapter in their story as they stretch ever forwards towards the epic.
Certainly, this vigour has seen the band make a mark for themselves, their own tours seeing more and more sold-out notices across venues as their stock rises. As well as James, it’s the twin guitar attack of George Harris and Tommy Gentry that brings big and bold riffs solidly to the fore, Jai Patel’s drums and the bass of Matt Cox providing the merciless engine on which everything else is driven.
There’s certainly light and shade in the set, and although shorn of their most contemplative numbers due to time constraints, there’s a genuine dynamism here, and they manage to pack a real punch without losing any subtlety. From the jagged and anthemic The Day The World Stood Still through to the heads-down fury and soaring heart of Seventh Heaven, the set is full of muscularity and epic sweep.
Whilst the band were encouraged by the patronage of George’s bass-wielding rock icon father, Mr Steve Harris, they’ve continued to spread their own wings and show that they’re formidable enough to more than hold their own. The Raven Age look like having a very bright future ahead of them.