Monday, 15 September 2014

5/9/2013 TAT @ The Barfly

Thursday night finds me heading down to Camden, but as I don't fancy drinking the poor quality overpriced beverages in the Barfly I drop into BrewDog first for a couple of good (if not cheap) beers. A Libertine Black Ale and an Abstrakt later and I'm all set to head to the venue...

I arrive just in time at another packed out midweek gig. TAT have been away from the live scene in their hometown of London for far too long. In fact they have spent so much time on the US festival circuit over the past couple of years or so that they have only played about one UK show in that time. That was a late show at a club night at The Scala. Myself and a mate were planning to go to that after a gig at the nearby Water Rats earlier in the evening, but as we rolled up at around midnight the queue at the venue was still round the block and we'd obviously still be queuing to get in when the band were on stage - so that was the end of the only chance to see TAT in London for a year or so. Now they are back on London and taking a break from recording their second album to play a show. This time the TAT have elected to play a far far accessible gig for their fans. Would their fanbase still turn up after all this time away? Music fans (especially the younger fans who this band mainly appealed to) are notoriously fickle and if their favourite band aren't active they soon find other bands to follow and move on...However, TAT had already sold a lot of CDs and built up a large enough fanbase before decamping to the USA that there are still enough fans to fill this small Camden venue - I think most other bands would find themselves playing to a near-empty venue after this time away from gigging. However, TAT have a secret weapon in the charisma and stage presence of the dynamic Tatiana DeMaria. The band launch into 'Bloodstain' and the temperature seems to go up several degrees in seconds.
I got a new camera yesterday, but the venue is so packed there isn't really room to use it. Not that it matters much as I haven't figured out how to work it yet - having the wrong settings my first pictures still look like they were taken on my phone! It seems like TAT never been away as they power through songs like 'Pessimist' and 'Here's To You'. The excitement level rises, as does the heat on what is probably the last day of summer in London. It's not long before the sweat is pouring off everyone - even those just standing still. This is second to only the Datsuns at The Islington recently as the hottest gig I've been to in years. Songs like 'Diamond Child' see the excitement level rise further as stage diving and crowd surfing start to happen. Tatiana asks the audience if they want a fast song or a slow one - you can guess the answer! TAT give the crowd what they want. We get some new songs as well as the familiar ones from their 'Soho Lights' album - virtually all of which is played tonight.

Even after so long away the band seem on top of their game and play with all their old fire. That album really does have some good songs on it and tonight they are delivered with power and passion. Tatiana feeds off the energy of the crowd and bounces it right back at them. She is one of those people who seem totally at home on stage and absolutely in her element. She is obviously such a natural that I find myself asking why she isn't a star by now? Losing momentum by vanishing to the States for a couple of years might have something to do with that...  The atmosphere is electric tonight, and it's a bit special for TAT as this is also the venue in which they played their first ever show. It's special for the crowd too, and some elements of the audience get increasingly crazy. A mosh pit develops and bodies start flying about - some willingly and some not so. Things start to get a bit out of control as the usual inconsiderate and selfish minority start to spoil the enjoyment of others who are just trying to watch the show. The band are loving all this, but they are safely out of the way on stage. Me? - I've got a phone in one pocket and a camera in the other and I don't fancy getting either of them smashed thank you. In the last few months I've had a phone stolen, and a camera broken at a gig - I'm getting 'Idiot Intolerant'. Meanwhile, a girl and her expensive looking camera hit the floor, and some moron hurls a photographer's aluminium stepladder into the crowd with no regard for anyone's safety. 'Punk rock', or just plain stupidity? You decide.

Sing-along fan favourites like 'Road To Paradise' and 'I Don't Want To Love You' keep on coming. The band play tightly - Nick Kent on bass and Jake Reed on drums are a powerful and dynamic rhythm section that really drive things along. Tatiana's easygoing banter and rapport with the crowd adds to the atmosphere, and she looks like she is loving every moment on stage - maybe she won't want to leave it so long next time... The band exit the stage leaving the audience wanting more, and after a minute or so of demands (not loud enough for Tatiana's liking!) for an encore the hot and sweaty band return to give the equally hot and sweaty crowd what they want.
All too soon it's all over and the band's anthem 'Live For Rock' brings the evening to a close. Let's hope TAT don't leave it so long before playing in their home town again...

I head downstairs to get a drink as I haven't had one since arriving at the venue, but after a few minutes waiting to get served I've had enough. There is a security bloke blocking the way back upstairs so I abandon The Barfly in search of liquid refreshment - which I find in the Dublin Castle before catching the tube home.

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