Words and Pictures: Adrian Hextall \ MindHex Media
“See the worst thing about doing this
Doing something like this
Is I think that at first people sort of are a bit suspicious
‘You know, come on, what are you up to?’
So said messers Lennon and McCartney on The Beatles track ‘A Day In The Life’.
As I sit in The Monarch tavern in London’s Camden Town, I mull this thought over as I watch a re-energised Towers of London sound check for their first live show with the original line up in over a decade.
After their debut album hit the shelves and the infamous weekly docu-series on the now defunct Bravo TV channel aired, the hype and pressure on the band to succeed or die trying ended with more of the latter then the former. Thankfully, some 12-13 years after The Rev and Snell walked away from the band, Towers of London have put aside their differences, pulled the original line-up back together, the one that recorded the incendiary debut ‘Blood Sweat and Towers’ and are warming up for what could be one of the live shows of 2019 to a very select audience.
As soundchecks go, there’s no half-arsed check of instrumentation, the band run through both old and new material, the latter giving us an insight into what to expect later this year with a true follow up to the debut album. There’s a buzz around Camden and things are looking and sounding promising. Pausing only when a cold one was needed to recharge batteries, the band ran through a 30 minute check in preparation for the ‘secret but known by everyone’ show that was to take place later that night.
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A swift trip down the canal and we end up at The Constitution, a traditional pub known for its live music in the cellar bar, a canalside beer garden and the key ingredients on a Saturday afternoon, a dartboard and jukebox.
Interviews take place (ours to follow shortly) and a photo shoot, showing an invigorated band, one that recognizes that perhaps opportunities were missed is being catalogued through the band’s YouTube channel ‘365 DTMI‘
With a slight delay before the band return to The Monarch, we set up at the pub in preparation for the headline set on what has been an all day event s part of the ‘Camden Rocks Presents’ series that lines up multiple artists that are likely to be performing at the annual Camden Rocks Festival. This year sees the festival expanded to a 2 day affair on 1st and 2nd of June. Hundreds of bands across 20+ venues makes the event a manic energised affair that showcases the best of old, new and unknown acts. Towers of London are also confirmed to play this year.
The set, when it begins, is electric. As we look to alternate energy sources in the world, the answer, it would appear, has been staring us in the face all along. The charged atmosphere in The Monarch could easily have powered a small town for a week. It’s the stuff memorable gigs are made of.
Donny is … well, Donny. Nonchalantly walking onto stage to perform for the first time in over a decade with the original band members, he reminds us why his bad boy persona got him into so much trouble first time around by spraying a full bottle of beer over the ‘lucky?’ ‘willing?’ recipients in the front few rows. A few screams of surprise down the front, a few laughs from those that were missed and then we were off racing through a set that felt like anything but a nostalgia trip.
The lengthy delay since the 5 all performed together dissolved into nothing as what followed was perhaps one of the tightest, most entertaining sets I’ve seen from a band that plays raw, snarling, punk rock, designed to fire up the masses in front of them.
The interaction between band and crowd involved both The Rev and Donny taking turns crowd-surfing, no mean effort given the low ceiling in the venue and not withstanding the fact that The Rev continued to play without dropping a single note.
Snell, Tommy and Dirk beef up the sound, the former a whirlwind of arms and hair as he batters his drum kit to a pulp. New tracks are premiered. ‘Get Yourself Outta Here proving that none of the spark of the debut has diminished. Not bad when, as the video above shows, the new material is still a work in progress for everyone. If the new album is of this calibre, then we have a lot to look forward to.
With Donny spending half of his time airborne, The Rev when not surfing, walking the Monarch’s bar to play from the back of the room and the rest of the band beating the audience into submission, the whole thing drew to an epic messy close with a stage invasion that must have had twice as many people on stage as it could safely hold.
An epic, intense, Molotov Cocktail of a set that resulted in one thing only, a complete triumph!
Welcome back ToL.
- I’m A Rat
- Air Guitar
- Good Times
- Get Yourself Outta Here
- On A Noose
- How Rude She Was
- Love That You Lost
- Northern Lights
- Fuck It Up