Gig Review: Black Moth + Puffer @ The Shacklewell Arms, Dalston 26/01/2015

Support band Puffer announce their arrival onstage with a storm of feedback. With continued feedback and liberal use of a wah-wah pedal (amongst others) they occasionally come on like a heavy metal version of My Bloody Valentine. They occupy the stage with an assurance that is breathtaking. One feels that in their minds they’re already headlining Wembley Stadium. They have a jamming element which brings to mind a heavier Grateful Dead. They certainly seem intent on giving Black Moth a run for their money.

CA - Black Moth Twitter If Black Moth are worried about the undoubted quality of their support band, they don’t show it. By and large the guitarists prefer Gibsons in favour of their predecessors’ Fenders, and the superiority of the Gibson ‘crunch’ shows. For all of their ‘foot on the monitor’ NWOBHMisms this band is remarkably fresh. This is by no means gonzoid heavy metal. With changing time signatures, and bars of differing lengths, some songs border on prog metal a la Rush and Dream Theater.

Singer Harriet Bevan is beautifully understated without losing power of delivery. The lyrics are not without humour. Tumbleweave from new album Condemned To Hope essays a drunken girl at the end of a night out: “Your smile says you got soul, but your blue lips say WKD”.

Impressively they manage to blow the onstage power. Harriet says that she doesn’t know whether that makes them “really cool or really shit!” The former, I’d say. Intelligent, interesting heavy metal that kicks like a mule.

Mark Kelly