Date: February 10, 2018
Venue: The Black Heart, London
Review and photography by Ryan Whitwell
In that dark little venue, upstairs at Camden’s Black Heart, a crowd steadily gathered for a night of psych and grooves. Golden Void have been a band I’ve followed for a while off the back of being a fan of Earthless, which is where I first heard of Isaiah Mitchell, and I was chuffed when I found out I’d be seeing them live. Golden Void are on tour with Dommengang and tonight we had support from Glasgow based band, Sloth Metropolis.
Sloth Metropolis’ first ever London gig had a jaunty set with some upbeat rhythms. Not having heard them before, the first thing I noted was the lack of lead guitar with the band instead opting for electric fiddle and keyboard, alongside drums and bass guitar. The electric fiddle, played by Calum Calderwood, gave a uniqueness and “psych-folk” vibe to the band’s sound, which I enjoyed. The use of effects pedals (wah pedal especially) made things even better. The bass and drums (Lewis MacKenzie and Steve McNamara) had a really cool jazzy edge to them, which went very well with the warm vintage electric organ sounds from Nick Gaughn’s keyboard.
Cries for “more” rang out as Dommengang’s set came to an end. Their psychedelic laced rocking numbers with some splashes of Americana really struck a chord with the crowd. Strong focus on lead guitar from Dan “Sig” Wilson’s SG for the most part, with lots of wah and, I think, a tremolo pedal all sounded superb through the little Fender amp, giving a clean tone but warbling sound.
Another highlight for me was the sheer energy and near constant fills from drummer Adam Bulgasem. Barely a bar went by without a few extra hits being laid on for good measure. The fuzz seemed to be coming mostly from the bass guitar, which had some great technical fret work from Brian Markham, whose hands barely stopped flying up and down the frets. The vocals were taken up by both Brian and Sig, switching for different songs as required, but for me it wasn’t about the vocals as much as the extended riffs and grooves that got some great responses from those in attendance. No wonder the crowd wanted more!
The room was becoming a bit sweaty as Golden Void stepped out to great applause. If you know Earthless, then you’ll get the idea of what Golden Void are about, and you’ll know Isaiah Mitchell isn’t afraid of some extended guitar solos and drifting rhythms and Golden Void brought exactly that. The tone shifted throughout the set with the likes of song “Silent Season”, with it’s light, jazzy drums from Justin Pinkerton, and clean guitar tone, being juxtaposed with the more intense number “The Curve”, which goes straight in with a punchier sound, fast and furious tremolos, vintage tones, and is impossible not to move to.
Dommengang’s drummer was on the kit for Golden Void tonight, and after an intense fill he still had plenty left in the tank to deliver another great set with some great technical drumming. A bit of fuzz on the guitar for most numbers sounded great with the silky smooth bass lines from Aaron Morgan. I also loved the hints of electric organ and keys from Camilla Saufley-Mitchell that came through to add a bit of depth to the sound when needed, especially during The Curve, where it gave the number a Deep Purple feel that I loved. Usually Camilla adds her own excellent vocals but unfortunately she had lost her voice on this occasion, which was a shame but Isaiah’s emphatic vocals did a great job.
For me, I really got into the performance about half way through the set. Astral Plane is a great track, and after that something clicked. Whether it was the band or my own connection with the music (or a bit of both), I’m not sure. I found myself drifting with the infectious rhythms, only being brought back to reality when the time signature shifted and my instinctive nodding no longer matched the beat. There was a great rapport on stage too, with bassist and drummer high fiving after each song in celebration of… something.
For the finale, Golden Void invited electric fiddle player, Calum Calderwood from Sloth Metropolis, on stage to help them cover Neil Young’s ‘Powderfinger’. Plenty of singing along and swaying in the crowd, and a fantastic way to end the evening.
Golden Void: http://thrilljockey.com/artists/golden-void
Sloth Metropolis: https://www.facebook.com/SlothMetropolis/