CrashDiet + Jettblack – O2 Islington Academy – 27/04/13
Jettblack are what you might call the perfect support band. They’re modern, bring along a host of their own fans and their hard rock genre means that you can place them with pretty much any other rock band. This, however, was more of a co-headline tour. With album no.2 under their belts, you’d expect the boys to be building up experience and honing their craft. And they are, just in a slightly regrettable direction.
The set list was predictable but very well received, running through a host of their hits including the Two Hot Girls and Slip It On as well as the newer Prison of Love, Less Torque More Thrust and In Between Lovers. The gritty ballad Black Gold was less expected due to its slower nature and length but the band played it well, living up to the song’s emotion. Their performance was tighter than I’ve seen it before, the sound balanced and rough, just like their studio work. The vocals, however, were less than perfect at times with a few clashes erring on the wrong side of harmony between singer/guitarists Jon Dow and Will Stapleton.
The crowd were mostly receptive and enthusiastic though in places the band became a little boring, as if the same visual show had been rewound and replayed with the soundtrack of a different song. The lights and constant guitar soloing on podiums of amplifiers detracted from the show; if you’re a band that can play, you don’t need to hold yourself up for this sort of attention.
A mixed, not exactly thrilling set, which was disappointing, especially since the songs were played, on the whole, pretty well.
CrashDiet had a welcome of their own. It’s time to expect more from this band and justifiably so too. This is the tour for the 2nd album with singer, Simon Cruz, and a UK show like last time, with rather shambolic vocals and apathetic stagecraft at best, might cut it with the 15-year-old Crash cult hogging the front two rows, but the band should be pushing for more.
Luckily, to some extent, they are. Bouncing out to Change the World, Cruz’s vocals were on top form, guttural howls matched only by the backing vocals provided more by the crowd than Martin Sweet and Peter London. I was sceptically impressed by how much these two have improved their harmonies, especially when singing so far away from their microphones…
Nevertheless, Sweet and London were interactive, visibly enjoying the show which always makes the crowd enjoy it more. Cruz jittered around the stage like an electrocuted jelly bean, racing through Anarchy, California, Snakes in Paradise and Generation Wild to name but a few. The performance as a band was certainly much tighter and the contrast in attitude to Jettblack, especially concerning Sweet’s solos was welcome, with minimal fuss made over Sweet’s handiwork. London received his own roar for an average bass solo and the “instrumental”, if that’s what it was meant to be, three-quarters of the way through the set was a strange and redundant mash up of acoustic guitar, harmonica, bass and drums.
For some reason the set seemed extraordinarily short, despite being an hour and I felt more older hits wouldn’t have gone amiss given the crowd’s reaction to Queen Obscene/69 Shots and Riot in Everyone. Cruz’s stage dive at the end was an entertaining stunt, not least because he only got across about 4 people before security dragged him out and then a girl wouldn’t let him go. Still, it added to the atmosphere of rebellion, anarchy and chaos.
Condolences, of course, go out to CrashDiet at this time for the loss of their manager, Michael Sundén, who tragically passed away in Nottingham earlier this week. For a band to commit to a show like this so soon after is impressive and professional and I don’t think their fans would have thought any less of them had they postponed it.
While they may not match the solidarity and sheer performance of some other bands, CrashDiet are undoubtedly impressive in their ability to create an atmosphere and to drive a crowd. Remarkably vivid and entertaining.