After a well-received slot at Bloodstock Festival only yesterday, hotly tipped new metal band Vended are performing their first ever headline show outside of their home country this evening. Rocking up to the far more intimate confines of the Black Heart in Camden, we’re here to see if Griffin Taylor, Simon Crahan - sons of Slipknot’s Corey and Shawn respectively - and crew are up to keeping the family business booming.
Openers Graphic Nature only played a small handful of gigs before they were chucked into proceedings tonight; opening for one of the most talked-about young metal bands on the planet has got to be a pretty daunting situation for such a new act. To be fair to them, though, they take it in their stride, aggressively delivering their down-tuned, metallic groove, frontman Harvey Freeman a boisterous presence with a voice that could strip paint. If we were to have a slight criticism, it’s that their between-song interlude music, full of trip-hop and drum and bass, is in truth more imaginative than their actual songs. Get that balance right and they could be ones to watch.
One thing is for sure: Vended certainly know how to make an entrance. As the lights dim to a pale blue and smoke begins to billow through the room, the sound of Soft Cell’s classic Tainted Love pounds through the venue, inspiring a mass singalong. A swelteringly hot, sticky and jam-packed Black Heart then roars its approval as the band skulk onstage. They might not like it, but let’s get the obvious comparison out of the way: Vended do sound a hell of a lot like Slipknot. It’s understandable; Griffin Taylor has the DNA of his father, and the roars and barks that come out of his mouth are eerily similar. But, unlike others that have actually tried to ape Taylor Sr. in the past, it really does look, feel and sound natural to Griffin. Musically, there are the kinds of bruising, rhythmic volleys coming from all angles in songs like the excellent Antibody that make it hard to shake Iowa from your mind when you hear them, and Asylum really does sound like Eyeless.
That said, Vended have enough personality and quality of their own to not be defined by their family tree. The show they put on is full of raging determination, as if they’re desperate to prove themselves, and truthfully, they just look fucking cool doing it: all manic, twitching chaos and crowd-baiting swagger. You can’t learn charisma, and Vended, looking like a bunch of serial killer cartoon characters, clearly understand the importance of visuals. Perhaps most crucially of all, though, their songs are strong, possessing enough character, craft and harnessing of dynamics to surely make any fan of heavy music bang their head. Certainly, those in The Black Heart don’t have a problem losing their shit; as the lights come up after Vended’s allotted 45 minutes has whizzed by, the sweat-soaked, hoarse army of fans leave beaming and elated to a man and woman. It’s a small army at the moment but, while we’re not quite sure people will be talking this evening up in tones as gushing as Slipknot’s legendary London debut in 1999, on this evidence, there could be a lot of metal fans who end up very jealous of those who were in attendance this evening.