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Red Fang live review – London, Koko

US riff-wielders Red Fang unleash thunder live in North London, with support from Torche

Red Fang live in London 2016

Entering the North London venue tonight, you can feel a certain buzz in the air. Tonight’s headliners have been a constant in this city for years; headlining last year’s Desertfest and visiting seemingly every autumn without fail, there is something of a cult growing around Red Fang here in the capital. But starting proceedings this evening are sludgelords TORCHE [9].

Hypnotic sounds roar out of the Koko PA, encompassing the hundreds of bodies that have gathered to bear witness. It’s psychedelic, it’s thunderous, it’s rumbling and it is heavy – not savage or brutal, but the Miami stoners somehow make the air more dense with their titanic desert rock. Eyes are firmly transfixed toward the stage, the multi-coloured lights are flickering, and swaying bodies are slowly submitting to the sensory overload Torche have created – constantly building and changing direction, but always moving forward into more adventurous and mindbending territory. Simply mesmerising.

By the time RED FANG [7] take the stage, the room has started to smell like Otto’s jacket. The venue is suddenly much tighter packed and the sold-out room is baying for riffs, of which there are many. Exploding like a sludge-bomb onstage, the Portland four-piece hurtle through a setlist of newies and beer-soaked oldies. Notably faster-paced than Torche, Red Fang kickstart the crowd with an anthemic rendition of Blood Like Cream that fills the room to the rafters, while the frantic No Hope (dedicated to guitarist/co-vocalist Bryan Giles’s “other pants”) whips the moshpits into shape. Littering the fuzzier, stonier songs around the set for some of the herb-loving members of the audience, it’s a performance of peaks and troughs, often lacking the engagement of Torche, and airing this many new songs before the band’s fourth album Only Ghosts has been released may be an oversight as more fans make trips to the bar. That said, the chuggathon of Throw Up and set closer Prehistoric Dog are as heavy, frenzied and fun as ever. Red Fang have come a long way since wearing beer armour, and despite the first song on their first album still being their biggest ‘hit’ (tonight seemingly played at double speed), the faces onstage say it all. Same time next year?

SETLIST

Wires

No Air

Crows In Swine

Blood Like Cream

Flies

Cut It Short

Sharks

No Hope

The Deep

The Smell Of The Sound

Hank Is Dead

1516

Throw Up

ENCORE

Bird On Fire

Prehistoric Dog