The most thermally-hot gig-ticket in town this week was for the dual-headliner show of PISTON and COLLATERAL at North London’s Lounge 666, Archway. Both the Cannock-based five-piece rock charmers PISTON and the Kent-based four-piece country-rock buzz-makers COLLATERAL are causing ripples of excitement across the industry right now. To have them both playing on the same night at the same venue is some kind of magical serendipity!
So, after a thoroughly enjoyable, gargantuan and hard-hitting set by Bristol-based, old-time Southern Rockers Sons of Liberty — The Piston segment started with their “Dynamite” — a sing-out crowd-pleaser that bounced the North London room into a state of zing-filled enthusiasm right from the off…
Rob Angelico is a fine vocalist and started to win-over the room from the very start, although it soon became clear that the ballads are this band’s strong point, and sometimes their upbeat numbers are a harder-slog, although Rob was irrepressible and workmanlike throughout.
But he’s not a hypemaster or a loop-zooping frontman like, perhaps, you might expect…
The band’s secret weapon is, it seems, the former Inglorious and Guns2Roses guitarist Jack Edwards. His irrepressibly vibrant licks and full-blown stage antics were only matched by the plumage of his bubbly mousseux hair (if anyone should be making shampoo ads, it’s Jack). And the drummery from Brad Newlands was also fearless and quite extraordinary, forever fuming and spontaneous. Although it has to be said that the drum solo performed quite early-on in the show was ad libitum and kinda precipitously topsy-turvy.
“Rainmaker” came with low-pitched riffs and grabbing low beats and was delivered like an epic switch-number, of gasoline and carnality. This was, certainly, the stand-out song of their set. The “started with a kiss…” anthem “ One More Day” was also sincere, energetic and impeccable.
In fact, the Piston show was a brave, self-propelled & undoubtedly powerful package of monster-rock fun. But, despite the inducible chutzpah, it’s a fact that the transitions between Piston’s songs went on-and-on, possibly creating a fragmentary experience for the public. Also, although Rob was lucent and heroic at first, he started to flag towards their final ten minutes. In addition, the place restricted their light show (maybe the Kolis nightclub had been lost without a shilling for the meter) and only made use of their full fulguration during the cover version of “Proud Mary”. This meant that, compared to the brilliant majesty of Collateral — to burst on a bright stage right-after — Piston seemed to transmute themselves into a “support act” rather than the co-headliner of the night. Of course, perhaps this was the plan all along… in which case, please forgive us, and we applaud the Piston boys for their humility.
When Collateral come onto stage we knew, immediately, that Angelo Tristan is a star in transcendence. It seems that his recent experiences (with Jon Bon Jovi Med Cruise and this summer’s Ramblin’ Man Fair, for example) have had a transfigurative effect on the showman. Yeah, at Lounge 666 the audience witnessed the full amelioration of a star… here was the emergence of another Mercury.
“Big Shot” was a hand-clapping entry-antiphon that arrived with cartloads of fizz and a dose of energizing tension. Right away, Angelo got the audience-fists flying high into the air…
The melodic Americana and country-style numbers rubbed shoulders alongside classic and rugged rockers, so we never felt the show was over-rehearsed, too slender, or too urbanely polished. No, it felt like good ole rock ‘n’ roll … played with efficiency and gusto. Thus, “Gone With the Wind” had slingshot rhythms and gutsy riffs (and the first smoke of the night) while “Midnight Queen” breathed confidence, though the song harboured polysemantic sadness.
If you tried to describe the Collateral experience at Lounge 666 you would be at a loss: it is all about having extreme confidence in themselves — yeah, perhaps even audacity — and it’s about having reliance in their own ability to entertain. It is undoubted oom-pah-pah and an unstoppable impudence… and the kind of bravado that even comes across when they’re rhapsodizing about the hurts found in life or just contemplating their innermost introspections.
Bands need to create a legacy these days if they want to prosper and succeed. It’s no use “just” playing a good rock show… Now, you have to meet people and deliver the “complete package“. So it was impressive that fans traveled great distances to be with these bands for the night. In fact we even met some that had traveled across the Atlantic to see their favorite band. Fortunately, this was a night to remember…
And, if the competence and scope offered by these two bands has anything something to do with it: you can rely on the fact that rock ‘n’ roll ain’t dead yet!
Top show: 5 Stars.
Photos: Andras Paul ©
Words: @neilmach 2019 ©