COLLATERAL — Live in Camden

The hottest gig-ticket in town this week was for the sell-out COLLATERAL show at London’s superb music venue, The Black Heart, in Camden, Thursday.

We recently described the band’s debut EP ‘4 Shots!’ as a: “Magical adventure [with] exciting guitar-work, creative lyrics, and increasing complexity of composition...”

A soft & sticky guitar that presented itself like treacle-tears… Phioto Credit: Neil Mach ©

Although, apparently, this band comes “ready formed” and “almost from nowhere” it’s because they emerged from the “Angelo Tristan Band” — a Kent-based country-rock outfit formed around the kernel of charismatic singer Angelo Tristan and with Jack Bentley-Smith, Louis Cairns and Kieran Gaffney. This line-up released a reasonably successful album in 2015: “Calm Before the Storm.”

And this incarnation toured extensively and got signed. In fact, Angelo had been recording before this, since at least 2013. The project called “Collateral” has been around since 2016: Again with Angelo on lead vocals and guitar, with old-pal Jack Bentley Smith on bass, and introducing Todd Winger on lead guitar with Ben Atkinson [from Subversion] on drums.

The lads were presented at the Black Heart by the well-known Planet Rock breakfast DJ Paul Anthony, who told the packed-out showroom that they: “bring the fun back into rock ‘n’ roll…”

Their style of melodic Americana and country-style rock reminded us of the impeccable compositional quality found on late-1970s Eagles albums.

Angelo – brownstone-ochre vocals…

Their mellow overture “Calm Before The Storm” had immediate appeal with a hooky bass-line and catchy chorus. “You’re The Only One” had a warm country feel with a soft & sticky guitar that presented itself like treacle-tears over the brownstone-ochre vocals. This was one of our concert favourite numbers.

Gone With the Wind” was a swinging booga-loogie treat with catapulting rhythms, plenty of cowboy-bounce and oodles of character. And, of course, “Midnight Queen” radiated confidence and retained an enigmatic sadness within the darker folds of its otherwise buoyant song structure.

This bunch of groovy, hairy guys were so freakin’ sweet & cool they had to be seen to be believed. The show took us right back to the days of Buffalo Springfield live at the Whisky a Go Go or Counting Crows down at the Viper Rooms, and even though they look like a bunch of decadent, glam-metal, Skid Row, throw-away freaksters they are actually — dare we say it? — sophisticated.

Many of their fans were keen to tell us that COLLATERAL are at the forefront of the New Wave of Classic Rock… but do you know what? We’d like to re-calibrate that definition: After watching their performance at the Black Heart we’d say this band is at the forefront of the New Wave Of CLASSY Rock!

Words & Pictures @neilmach 2019 ©


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