LIVE: Black Foxxes / Weatherstate / Patrons @ Old Blue Last, London

By Max Gayler

Fresh off a tour with Nothing But thieves and just before heading out with Milk Teeth, Black Foxxes find time to put in a singular headline show at the Old Blue Last in Shoreditch, a venue synonymous with the most highly anticipated new acts, giving smaller acts a podium in which to rise through the ranks.

Support comes from ballistic Patrons making their Old Blue Last debut, and punk heroes Weatherstate. Patrons put on a show worthy of headlining this small venue, combining menacing instrumentation with piercing vocal harmonies and clean math breaks reminiscent of Blakfish and Arcane Roots. The high energy is kept up by Weatherstate who offer a more anthemic sound. At its core Weatherstate play into the summer-vibe hardcore on offer in bands like Gnarwolves and Nai Harvest. The snarling guitar and thick drum work clashes perfectly with the moody melodies in songs like ‘Piss It All Way’, showing a heavy influence from the Pixies – a sound more than capable of gracing much larger audiences in the future.

The almost sold-out venue appears completely filled before Black Foxxes take the stage and it comes as a very welcome surprise. A band in their infancy still, the three-piece have gathered momentum from fans, signing to Search And Destroy last year and being booked to open the NME stage at this year’s Reading & Leeds.

Moving modestly onto the stage, the band fire straight into new single, ‘Husk’. For what is a compact space, the first snare hit from Ant Thornton fires straight through the chest of every audience member like an unexpected gunshot. The immediately shrill guitar tone proves exactly why Black Foxxes are up there. With the bi-polar explosive nature of Glassjaw and the sing-along capability of bands like Neck Deep, Black Foxxes deliver something refreshing. A performance of raw emotion, singer and guitarist Mark Holley treats his instrument as an extension of himself, pulling his guitar apart as he shrieks through the end of the song.

With only five songs released, the set consists heavily of unheard material. Before showcasing what they’ve been up to though, the band plays through ‘Home’ and fan-favourite ‘River’, the latter comprised of confessional lyricism and unpredictable emotion reminiscent of┬áThe Xcerts’ ‘Scatterbrain’ – an album hailed by fans as their most unique. It’s after this that Mark confesses to the fans that this is “probably the worst thing in the world to do with tonsillitis.” – another reason to be in awe of his stomach-churning gruff howls (and something he’s bound to suffer for in the coming days).

In an interview with Punktastic in October last year, Mark spoke about the bands blues influences, stating the new album would feature a sound nothing like that of their ‘Pines’ E.P. – and how right he was. ‘I’m Not Well’ and ‘How We Rust’ sound like Gary Clark Jr. playing on a Biffy Clyro song, combining theatrical lyricism with melody-driven song-writing – there’s surely a big future ahead for this band.

Speaking about the harrowing loss of a number of iconic artists this year the band play through a completely reinvented ‘Suffragette City’ by David Bowie. A short but sweet tribute, this adrenaline-fuelled number will be something I’m sure the band will try to fit into their summer as they play through almost every festival in the British Isles.

Playing through their final song, tonight feels like a bigger moment than it may seem. Staying relatively quiet over the past year Black Foxxes have enjoyed solitude, crafting their sound behind the scenes waiting to release their debut album. If this is what the band can do at such an early┬ástage of their careers, there’s surely nothing capable of stopping this Exeter-born trio from┬áachieving anything they set out to accomplish.

MAX GAYLER