Redemption / Kingcrow (Live Review)

Live from the Camden Underworld, 1/10/11

Redemption – 2.5/5
Kingcrow – 3.5/5

This is one date that has been in my diary for months; the same show that saw me tell my close friend that I “couldn't make it” for his birthday drinking session, for Redemption are fast becoming one of my favourite progressive metal bands. They have an ability that the more you listen, the more drawn into the music you become, and announcing their second ever trip to my immediate vicinity, I'll be damned if I'm waiting another half a decade for this opportunity to swing by. And with half the band standing by the merch and contently talking away to passers by who recognised them (mostly ageing metal heads, some of whom brought along their kids who STILL looked older than me) things were shaping up to be a good night.

Kingcrow – an Italian band I don't really know – managed to pull a performance just on the cusp of being 'good,' lacking just some element to give them some sort of edge and really get the crowd's enthusiasm into overdrive. And despite the number of instruments used throughout, managed to rely on their own hands more than any backing track; every musician – bar the drummer – somehow finding his way to a microphone at some point in their moderately lengthy set (for a support act), a commendable feat I've seen others cheat on in the past. And without a bad note played between them all it has to be weighed that the audience were by and large not here for them. The fact that the small crowd showed them their appreciation throughout goes to prove that they succeeded in preparing the crowd for the musical magic to come.

And indeed, the musical magic did arrive, but the commendation here is largely to the music itself and not the performance; the band screwing up their own tracklist somehow, the occasional slip up on a complex and quick solo – understandable if perhaps disappointing given musicians of their calibre – and a vocal performance that doesn't quite match up to the recorded article (which is more to say how fantastic his vocal performance was there rather than suggesting he performed badly here). The major problems, however, all stem from what seems like their attitudes going into the performance; the vocalist could be seen reading his own lyrics not only in preparation but DURING a song, and banter between the musicians and the audience was kept short to “because we're pressed for time” and “if we had more time we'd normally do this.”

Which wouldn't be an issue if they were in any way shape or form, actually pressed for time. When the lights finally came up at around 10pm I thought I must have missed that the clocks had changed; that they'd gone forward an hour, and as I left perplexed and reality dawned on me, I began to feel a little cheated. That it felt like they were rushing through their material just so they could leave a little bit sooner, and that they didn't really want to be there. Speaking to Nick Van Dyk, chief songwriter for the band, prior to the show, he jokingly commented that “he's just glad anybody showed up.” If the band complains about being there on every leg of the tour then I can't say I'm surprised; I don't regret going to see the performance, but I'll certainly not be eagerly anticipating the next.

Photograph by me. Re-use as you please, just please properly accredit the source.