The Well at Our Black Heart

Support: Ritual King| 1968
February 7, 2020 at Our Black Heart
Promoter: Echelon Talent Agency

There is nothing quite like a rock ‘n’ roll gig on a Friday night to kick off a weekend. An enthusiastic crowd of rockers are ready to start the two-day break with some fine grooving, and a couple of participants partake in a spot of crowd surfing. The draw is headliners The Well on their first UK tour and back in Camden after their 2017 Desertfest performance at the stone’s throw-away Underworld. A good supporting cast offers an intriguing variation of styles with Manchester’s Ritual King and the sizeable crowd-pulling stoner-rock bruisers 1968.

What I caught of Ritual King is a band of huge promise. They create a sound rich in bluesy guitar melodies that spur on longer songs for absorption. The melodic vocal harmonies bring-to-mind Elephant Tree, while the progressive elements evoke Elder as two quality starting reference points. With their self-titled debut album due out very soon, it is great to report Ritual King are another fine home-grown band worth checking out and keeping tabs on.

1968 turn out to be the heaviest band of the night. They unleash a raging beast at the robust, louder, and blusterous end of Stoner Rock. They put in a mighty shift as well – vocalist Jimi Ray quips how hot and sweaty he is while those in front of him are wearing leather jackets. Their hard graft pays off as they get a good crowd in and an enthusiastic response to match.

Touring Texans The Well end their first trip around the UK in the capital before heading off a for a more extra few dates in Europe – then a mere one week break before packing the van again to begin a second-leg of their US travels. They prove they have managed to quickly form a sound all of their own. Yes, the deep down-tuned guitar sound is steeped in Sabbath tones, but they conjure riffs of dirty low-down rock ‘n’ roll gold, dual-layered with the singing of Lisa Alley and Ian Graham; what you’re left with is one quality, catchy tuned, spirited rock ‘n’ roll band.

They show a rather impressive coolness when they experience guitar amp issues, but they very quickly shake off any tension or nerves to raise the temperature and get the crowd whipped up into another enthusiastic reception. The Well pick five tunes from last year’s impressive Death and Consolation album mixed with older material. It is a 50-minutes set of all killer and not a whiff of filler in sight.

Tonight’s performance confirms the recent words of Gimme Radio’s DJ JJ Koczan on his Obelisk website, that The Well are one of the most underrated bands currently on the circuit. Let’s hope they don’t leave it too long before they return to the UK because they are a band worth savouring. And the inspired inclusion of both support bands make this a night where good Rock and Friday-night enjoyment are indeed the winners.

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