Sunday, 9 March 2014

26/8/2007 Nemhain & Metalworks in Camden

SubjectNemhain & Metalworks in Camden

Like last Sunday, a bit of casual gig-going to chill out rather than going to see any of my favourite bands - I just felt like going out and doing something instead of sitting around in Dark Towers in front of my PC. I was 'off duty' and more casually dressed than normal - I didn't bother to take a camera for a change. My 'disguise' worked, as one or two people didn't recognise me at first.  My original plan was just to wander down to Camden to have a few beers and be entertained by one of the hard rock cover bands that play down there every Sunday. However, Rockworkz have stopped playing at the Purple Turtle after moving there from Bar Monsta, and Dead Seed now play every other Sunday at the Old King's Head in Holloway Road instead. This leaves justMetalworks still playing in Camden every Sunday. I was planning to go and see them at the Misty Moon as there was nothing else that particularly tickled my fancy, until I got a call from a good friend saying that he and one or two others were going to see Nemhain at Bar Monsta - so seeing as there would be people I knew down there I decided to go there first and see what was happening.

It was one of Mick Monsta's MMMFest bank holiday weekend events, which are always good value for money if you like the bands. I only arrived in time for the last two out of around five. I hadn't heard of the other three bands so I wasn't too bothered. Knockout Kaine were playing as I arrived - I hadn't seen them before, although they had been recommended to me a while ago. I think they are one of those bands I always arrive too late to see at the Purple Turtle or Bar Monsta. My first reaction on seeing them was "Not another of those bands!" Same old tired 1980's LA Glam image like all the other bands who look and sound exactly the same on the Camden circuit - I prepared myself for yet another tedious onslaught of 'sleaze'.  To my surprise, Knockout Kaine sounded much better than they looked (although the singer had a great hat) and had some above average songs - something sadly lacking in almost all the other glam/sleaze bands I see. What made them stand out was that they were actually capable of playing with some subtlety on occasion - which worked to bring out the qualities of the songs themselves. This was much more effective than the constant and cliched OTT posturings most bands fill their entire sets with.

Nemhain were the final band - this was their '1 year anniversary' gig, and the previously half empty venue filled up quite a bit when they came on. They made an effort to put on a good show - mainly featuring the attractions of their singer Morrigan Hel - someone who is hard to ignore. Since I saw the band at the Purple Turtle a few months ago there has been a lineup change and now ex-Spit Like This guitarist Stevie adds a heavier edge to the band's sound. At the moment, the band's songs aren't that memorable (not helped by a muddy sound at tonight's show) and the best song in their set was a Misfits cover. The band have managed to land some impressive support slots and gigs abroad in their first year of existance, so it will be interesting to see where they are in another year's time...

By around ten thirty or so the bands at Bar Monsta were finished, and not long after the house music started playing - time to move on...

It was too early to go home on a Bank Holiday weekend with no work to worry about the following day, so shortly afterwards I found myself at the Misty Moon. Metalworks were playing and the place was pretty full - or at least the front part of the pub was crowded - the back was nearly empty. I much preferred it when the band used to play at the back and it was much easier to move around and get to the bar. There was no real ale on tap tonight - another backward step.  However, the atmosphere was good and the music was loud.  There were absolutely no surprises in the setlist, although that didn't seem to worry those in the crowd. It was good to see some of my favourite hard rock classics played by some class musicians, although the sound quality left something to be desired.  I wouldn't pay to see virtually the same set every single week so I probably won't be back for a while.
PS: The rather cool Bar Monsta became the really horrible 'Camden Rocks' venue - a dreadful place. The former Wetherspoons 'Misty Moon' is now called 'The Monarch' - which is what The Barfly just up the road used to be called. Confused?

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