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LIVE REVIEW: Afterbloom + Phantom Isle + Shady Gringos at The Lock Tavern

Camden lies at the heart of any music lovers quest for melodious enlightenment, chocked full of venues and bars in which to see great live bands any day of the week, it truly is a sanctuary. Personally, the Lock Tavern is most certainly at the top of the list of venues/bars/places to lose your inhibitions, and arguably boasts some of the most diverse and impressive gig nights in the whole of London so it’s not a surprise that promoters, UFO Baby are taking the wheel for tonight’s proceeding with an intriguing and thrilling line up.

The psychedelic punky three-piece, Shady Gringos open the night with a whole host of clever dirty tricks up their sleeves. For a three-piece, Shady Gringos sound gigantic. Over half an hour we get a huge thrill ride that takes us through punky relentless riffs and raucous vocals, to a hallucinatory mix of mind-bending melodic guitar solos and instrumentals reminiscent of middle era Pink Floyd or Rush, all within the same song. Utilizing effects masterfully, Shady Gringos prove that Prog and Punk have more in common than once thought, living harmoniously despite their petulant tendencies.

Phantom Isle are next up and bring more dilated psych to the Lock Tavern. Breaking down the ceiling with massive riffs and huge sugar-coated vocal harmonies, melting like treacle down the walls in a tiny sweat-soaked attic chocked full of people. Phantom Isle have an edge to them which is reminiscent of some the ’70s greatest pop rock groups, blending some soft vocals with heavy guitars and synths. It almost sounds as if 10cc smoked a load of DMT and had a three-headed baby with Josh Homme. No denying these guys have a serious ear for a great chorus melody and utilise it well alongside their darker and more heavy side. Lead singer Pete Marchant even shouts out Tame Impala at one point, so there are no questions about where their influences lie.

Afterbloom close out the night with their wonky rock of ’90s variety, complete with loud attitude and even louder guitars. The West Midlands three-piece make it all seem so effortless; with songs so strong melodically, and clear, distinct guitar tones nonchalantly bobbing around the tiny stage. It’s easy to fall in love with this brand of indie slacker rock as it’s so relatable to our basic natural instincts not only in terms of simple catchy melodies, but content matter so easy to identify with. There’s something almost baseless about the music they play but in a good way, a way that we might associate with our own filthy irrefutable desires, tapping into that dark, inaccessible side of our personality, also known as the id. It’s not unfathomable to think that the three-piece supported Wolf Alice in the summer of last year, as they are just that damn good!

You can catch UFO Baby Promotions’ next gig on the 20th of April at The Lock Tavern.

Photo Credit (Afterbloom): Matthew Nelson

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