Black Moth at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen

Support: The Pearl Hearts
November 9, 2017 at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen
Promoter: I Like Press

In recent years, patience has been a necessity for fans (‘Mothlings’) of Leeds/London based stoner/grunge rockers Black Moth. Apart from sporadic gigs, it has been three years since their last long-player Condemned to Hope. So, the launch of new single ‘Moonbow’ is a taster of what we can expect from forthcoming album Anatomical Venus, set for release in February 2018, and will be the first to feature guitarist Federica Gialanze. Therefore, it is with interesting anticipation to hear how the new songs fare in comparison to older established favourites.

But first, support is provided by drummer and guitar duo The Pearl Harts. A stripped back, distorted bluesy hard rock, visceral assault, assisted by the purposeful energetic delivery by both Kirsty (vocals, guitar, loops) and Sara (drums, vocals).  While helped along with the use of pedal loops to enable Kirsty to whole-heartedly rock-out in good old-school fashion moves. A debut album is due to arrive next year by these self-confessed perfectionists, so another band to add to the those to watch out for in 2018 list.

Old-School Rock Out – The Pearl Harts. Photo: Angelique Le Marchand

All the reports this reviewer heard or saw were very favourable indeed of Black Moth’s recent Bloodstock festival appearance. And tonight, they undoubtedly prove Lemmy’s theory that not all the riffs have been used up. They start with the sure-fired winning opener ‘The Undead King of Rock ‘n’ roll’ where the enveloping lead-off fat riff wraps itself around your ears lovingly giving them a severe bash, to then proceed to an hour long set of staggering heavy riffage and prowess. So, what about the new songs, I hear you shout? They sound immense!

The four or five on display demonstrate with astonishing clarity what an exciting partnership is developing between Federica and Jim Swainston. They unleash carefully constructed riffs and hooks for fans of Sabbath’s darkened crushing, bruising, heavy grooves, which cross-pollinated with Thin Lizzy styled twin guitar licks make a mouth-watering listen. The said new single ‘Moonbow’ is an embracing gorging fusion of the above, swirling with crushing cymbals, while an intellectual substance is at work here in its musical and lyrical workings, and a fine Federica guitar solo to boot.

“Carefully constructed riffs”, Federica Gialanze, Black Moth. Photo: Angelique Le Marchand

This heavier, deeper, harder groove of the new transcends and is replicated in the older material as well. ‘Blackbirds Fall’ is staggering, stomping, an earth-quaking shaking power. ‘Banished but blameless’ and ‘Chicken shit’ unleash an even harder, inner wilder punk, grungy noisiness to proceedings. There are pivotal moments in the set where it all collides for jaw-dropping, blistering, immense intensity.

There is no fanfare – Harriet donning jeans instead of those recently viewed shiny pants – no encore, and balloon throwing is instigated by the crowd not the band. It all adds to the most direct and heaviest delivery that I think I’ve ever seen them produce. In between, Harriet engages in her usual charming witty banter, while throughout she swoons around, clearly engaged in the glorious enormity of their impressive sounding performance. Her clean vocals still supply an important juxtaposition to their furthering venting raise-the-horns ferocity, and goes a long way to set them apart from many of their peers. They have loud tunes!

Black Moth’s Jim Swainston. Photo: Angelique Le Marchand

This heavier groove also cuts right deep into the rhythm section, and is literally demonstrated when drummer breaks his snare early on. But after a bit of impromptu-twin guitar improvisation, ‘Looner’ is perseveringly delivered and it adds, you’ve got it, a heavier brutal edge to the song. While, in the meantime, no doubt an understandable panic-stricken crew scurry around – Harriet, hiding any worries, cheerily asks, “anyone got a snare drum in their purse?”- thankfully emerging with one in time for a restored kit for the next song. Any thought that the gig would have to be cruelly cut short is thankfully put to rest. Phew!

They have tied together their garage, doom, stoner sound into a clear focus on who they are now are as a band, and this heavier direction marks them as a seriously good, dare I say it, metal band, while still sounding nothing else but like Black Moth. They are clearly excited and proudly believe in the new album. It is in ample evidence tonight, and as the show progresses, and the snare drum scare subsides, it is revealed outwardly with on-stage smiles and an enjoyable looseness in their demeanour.

Bring on the new album. Black Moth are back, and they’re riffed up and ready!

“An enjoyable looseness in their demeanour”. Black Moth’s Dave Vachon. Photo: Angelique Le Marchand


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