Earthless at Islington Assembly Hall

Support: Comet Control
April 6, 2018 at Islington Assembly Hall

Promoting the unilaterally praised latest album Black Heaven (on Nuclear Blast Records) Earthless revealed guitarist Isaiah Mitchell’s fine set of tonsils into their song-writing/rock-jamming craft.  It may not be the gimmicky promotional tool as Kiss unmasking their face paint back in the early 1980s; but it definitely has, at the very least, continued a strong and noticeable musical evolution, which the unmasking of Kiss arguably didn’t.

But before we find out how the addition of vocals affects Earthless live, the support on the European tour is provided by Canadians, Comet Control. They mostly turned to their more up-tempo choices from their two albums’ back-catalogue for tonight’s set. At their best, the two guitarists created a fine blanket of deep layered space/psych rock, which, as all good spacey rock can do take you into your own inner-zone with just yourself and the music. However, not all the songs could sustain this despite the band giving it plenty of effort, and therefore I found my mind wandering in a few songs. They do have plenty of potential and are close to achieving a fuller mind-melting experience – just a bit more consistency in their song-writing, coinciding with a bit more sonic adventurism in places, and they could be ones to watch out for. The reaction from the crowd, however, was respectful and promising.

Sustaining my attention turned out to be no problem for Earthless. The opening few minutes were like a very brief warming-up the engine before unleashing into an astonishing high level of full-on, rock-out intensity, which pretty much remained a constant for the entire set. This lose-yourself-in-the-moment music of Jimi Hendrix and Cream-inspired free-flowing rock could be seen in all directions as the punters were either air drumming, dancing wildly, bearing wide grins, or simply just viewing intensely. And how heart-warming it is to see such a diverse age-range in attendance. More proof of just how timeless rock music is.

Mario Rubalcaba – Earthless. Photo: Simon Kallas

With minimal lighting, scarcely any between song/jam banter, the trio storm through some serious rocking out; no egoistical showboating needed, as the constantly in-motion drummer, Mario Rubalcaba, head down, hair flying, cymbals crashing, pummels out exhilarating tempos and rhythms. Bassist, Mike Eginton, stands still and sturdy, while his fingers groove out those tightly controlled basslines. Isaiah lets the sparks fly, as solo after solo squeals around the hall. It all amounts to creating an energy that is both relentless and quite breathtaking.

Isaiah Mitchell – Earthless. Photo: Simon Kallas

And if further proof was needed as to where Earthless are musically coming from, the encore’s two covers give the game away as they thrash out, and nail rather impressively, the seminal Groundhogs’ classic, ‘Cherry Red.’ Isaiah exhorts his colleagues to play “one more!” before they burst into Led Zep’s ‘Communication Breakdown’, which contains all the energy and zeal of the original. Then, with a passing “thank you” to the audience, they depart and leave you to catch your breath. Oh, and the new vocalised songs fit in perfectly. Fabulous!

 

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