The Subways @ Shepherds Bush Empire, London

Review by James Meakin, Photography by Martin Hobby

Welwyn Garden City’s finest close their tour in style in the depths of West London smashing out delightful three piece rock and roll pop anthems to a sold out, dedicated crowd.

Opening the evening is Turbowolf.
The momentum of this band in underground hard rock circles is impossible to ignore and judging by the quality of the live show it is not without justification.
Smashing out colossal doom laden rifferey and trippy psychedelic synth lines leaves the Empire quivering.

This band throws the heaviest Sabbath guitar weight into a whole new level of darkness. Stunning to behold, singer Chris Georgiadis is slathered in the 70s hard rock regalia, dripping with out of mind colours his falsetto vocals and captain of the ship leader of the band showmanship make Turbowolf one of the bands to watch out for during festival season. Turbowolf are just the perfect way to start an evening of hard rock. 4/5

Sweden’s Royal Republic takes the mountains of atmosphere created by Turbowolf and dilutes it completely. Sweden: nil points.
The music itself is horrendous, it seems to be inspired by bands such as the Hives but with absolutely all of the edge taken from it. Songs such as the closer ‘underwear’ are just so underwhelming that the band would be easy to ignore if the vocalist would just stop the ‘ironic’ death metal growls between lyrics.

The singer stands at the front of the stage with out of the box, studio rehearsed and rehashed stage moves removing any aspect of personality from an already vapid performance. Royal Republic can be compared to a country entering a ‘rock’ band into the Eurovision Song Contest.

Cheesy leather jackets and unsettling moustaches aside I suppose they were extremely tight, they didn’t seem to make any mistakes but if you are looking for onstage chemistry from a band then steer clear of Royal Republic. 0/5

To the stage please The Subways.
The Subways epitomise the classic Nirvana influenced three piece sound; fuzzy bass, tom heavy drumming and an enigmatic front man.
The Subways seem to be treading water as of late and never really seemed to live up to the hype of their debut album. The new material does shine at the Empire, the sold out crowd in fine voice and spewing over with energy.

The new songs seem to have a more mature sound to them with fantastic hooks and invigorating choruses but the ballsy, young, hell bent for leather attitude does not seem to be stitched into their songs as much as it once was. ‘Rock and Roll Queen’ buzzes as it should, hazy memories of sunny August evenings in Berkshire being brushed aside by the older theatre inhabitants.

The screams of dynamic, dare devil vocalist Billy Lunn are juxtaposed with the superb mic work from bassist Charlotte Cooper. Both get completely lost in the roll and it is a delight to see.

The crowd scream every word of ‘Mary’ back to Lunn making the high ceilinged space feel like a dingy pub loaded with friends. Lunn is known for his onstage antics and climbing to the first balcony level before throwing himself into the audience does not leave anyone disappointed. However there is something slightly off centre about the performance.
It does not feel like a last night of the tour blow out one would expect from a band such as The Subways, the opener ‘Oh Yeah’ spread the audience into pits and pogos with waves of crowd surfers irritating security staff but the band were unable to maintain momentum. New songs like ‘Popdeath’ and ‘It’s a Party’ keep the die hards happy but leave the rest of the venue comparing the band to acts such as the bland masters Kings of Leon.

This band are what they are, a three piece young at heart rock and roll pop band and that is the show they deliver. It is fun, digestible rock music that thoroughly deserved the massive headline.

It is fun, but that is about as far as it goes. 3/5