By: Benjamin Bland
Photos: Samantha Hayley
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Electrowerkz | October 9, 2015
With new album Radio Static High (their second this year, after February’s In Black and Gold) getting a rapturous reception from fans and critics alike, there’s no time better for Hey Colossus to be back on stage in the capital.
As usual, Electrowerkz is a venue somewhat lacking in polish. Walking in to the room, one is greeted by not just impenetrable darkness but a thick cloud provided by an over-enthusiastic smoke machine. It is whilst navigating through the fog to the bar that Nottingham drone trio Kogumaza strike up. Whilst their repetitive, well-anchored approach offers relatively few surprises, the band’s forty minute sets nevertheless proves pleasantly hypnotic. Lower Slaughter are completely different. With eccentric frontman Max Levy seemingly dressed as if en route to a school sports day, the quartet are certainly watchable, which makes their fairly predictable (if entertaining) brand of noise rock stand out a little in the crowd.
The reception afforded to Hey Colossus when they finally take to the stage is better described as a smattering of enthusiastic, but very much polite, applause than as hero’s welcome. Then again, this is partly because of the sextet’s unassuming entrance. A few thumbs go up. The sounds of Teeth of the Sea’s DJ set fade away and all of a sudden things kick off. Note the choice of words. You may think you’ve heard Hey Colossus on record, but it’s only upon turning up to see them in the flesh that you really get the full experience. Everything amplified. Everything louder than everything else. Everything played with a mix of reckless abandon and powerful confidence.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given that Radio Static High has only just been released, it’s tunes from In Black and Gold – and the tasty pair of ‘Hot Grave’ and ‘Oktave Dokkter’ from Cuckoo Live Life Like Cuckoo – that get the most enthusiastic physical reception from the crowd. The killer opening riff to ‘Hey, Dead Eyes, Up!’ gets a few fists in the air and, more amusingly, some bizarre air guitar efforts from one particularly enthusiastic punter, whilst ‘Hot Grave’ feels like it might turn the room upside down at any given moment (as it always does).
None of this is to suggest that newer tunes get a lesser welcome. The title track and ‘Hop the Railings’, in particular, are greeted like the hypnotic behemoths that they are. Meanwhile, ‘March of the Headaches’ and ‘Numbed Out’ show all the signs of becoming future live favourites. The former’s colossal brain-crushing riffs might just be the highlight of the entire evening.
When Hey Colossus next come back to London (and we can only hope that it’s not too long) then tracks like these will have become firmly embedded in the group’s live arsenal. Given the formidable performance they have already unleashed by the time ‘Black and Gold’ arrives to sledgehammer us all to sleep – seemingly unplanned encore aside – that promises to be an affair that surpasses even this.
Are Hey Colossus the best live guitar band in Britain right now? You’d be brave to argue otherwise. Don’t miss them next time.