Gig Review: YOUNG STATES, UK FEDS + STANDING LIKE STATUES @ The Camden Black Heart – 29/10/2015

UK Feds 1 Mark K headed down to the Black Heart to check out Midlanders (Redditch’s) UK Feds, fresh off a UK-wide tour as main support for punk legends Ruts D.C. and performing tracks from their recently released debut EP, ‘Living In Anger.’Three acts, UK Feds on second – but who was supporting who?

The Black Heart is known for its interesting musical line-ups, and tonight certainly does the place justice. Proceedings are started by Standing Like Statues, something that they signally fail to achieve incidentally. Initial impressions are that they resemble Pearl Jam with female harmonies.

They’re very powerful without losing a sense of melody. The lyrics unfortunately are largely inaudible, but unless they’re saying anything earth-shattering we can cope with that. There’s a saying that a band is only as good as its drummer, and Standing Like Statues’ drummer is awesome. He’s all over the kit without compromising his timekeeping one iota. Standing Like Statues 1

I really don’t like classifying bands, but Standing Like Statues deliver shards of heavy pop metal that leave you wondering whether their mothers ever met Dave Grohl. Actually he’d be proud of them. There are also traces of Rage Against The Machine and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. They have good material too, and would certainly be worth a second look.

UK Feds 1 Screaming out of the West Midlands like a 15-inch shell from a naval gun come UK Feds. They claim not to be political, but they address the concerns of the ‘ordinary person’, and it’s nigh on impossible to do that without being political. They describe the Government as a “bunch of bastards”, which sounds pretty political to me!
Indeed, with their reggaefied leanings and thought provoking lyrics, they could be the bastard sons of The Ruts. They have a song about signing on – when was the last time a band did that??? Sadly, this is now relevant to a huge number of people, especially the young. UK Feds 3
This band can really play too. They switch from rock to reggae and back again with the ease of The Police, something they demonstrate with a cover of said band’s Next To You. In Jon Kings they also have a charismatic frontman reminiscent of Steve Marriott. In many ways UK Feds seem to have arrived fully formed. With their musical skills and lyrical concerns, it really is a case of ‘cometh the hour, cometh the band’. They are the most ‘currently relevant’ that I’ve heard or seen in a long time. If there’s any justice they’ll be headlining a tour near you soon.

One has to feel sorry for Young States, playing their first ever headlining gig following the really rather awesome UK Feds. Still, that’s the way the cookie crumbles I suppose.

Young States 1 They’re highly reminiscent of 1990s bands such as Sahara Hotnights and The Breeders. They’re tight and powerful, with the lead guitarist impressing particularly. Their material is good too; I Hope She’s Worth It – a song about being dumped – is a definite standout.
Unfortunately, one can’t help but compare them with the previous band, and in comparison they simply don’t cut it. They’re by no means bad however, and I’m sure there’ll be future headline gigs where they’ll dazzle. Tonight just wasn’t their night.

Mark Kelly


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UK Feds 4
Thank you and good night! – UK Feds