LIVE: Blood Youth / Palm Reader / Lotus Eater @ Boston Music Rooms, London

By Dave Stewart

Heavy music in the UK is undergoing an enormous revival. More and more punishing bands are making their way to the surface, all bringing their own unique approach to the genre. As a result, the touring circuit is now jam-packed with these artists, each bill showcasing a different side of the revival.

One such bill made it’s way to London recently, providing a stage for three of UK metal’s best – Blood Youth, Palm Reader and Lotus Eater. The show was originally taking place at Underworld, but due to unforeseen circumstances the show had to move to the Boston Music Rooms – a much smaller venue. What do you get when you combine those three bands with an intimate venue and a lot of people? Carnage.

The venue was buzzing early on, with attendees occupying the majority of the space well before the opening band took the stage. That band was Lotus Eater – a pissed off, menacing and sludgy quintet from Glasgow. Their presence as they stomped onto the stage caused everyones heads to jolt in their direction, and their eyes remained transfixed for the entirety of what followed. Every single pounding note was loud and destructive, causing the pit to erupt into a whirlwind of flailing limbs. Their music is reminiscent of fellow UK crew Loathe, being both musically impressive and emotionally unnerving. An impressive opening display for the evening.

Next up was Nottingham’s Palm Reader. An incredible amount of hype and respect surrounds this band, as the release of their 2018 record ‘Braille’ was met with praise and positive reviews across the board, propelling them to a platform they were unfamiliar with. They didn’t seem to be phased by it at all, though, as they thundered their jagged tones into the ears of everyone that had crammed themselves into the venue. Front man Josh McKeown had the crowd firmly in his grasp, hanging off every syllable that left his mouth.

Palm Reader immediately drew everyones attention towards them by hurtling through the intense ‘Always Darkest’, which acted as a disclaimer for the rest of what was about to happen. It was followed by a set made up of non-stop big hitters from ‘Braille’, such as the enormous ‘Coalesce’ and the frantic single ‘Swarm’. ‘Internal Winter’ was met with almost instantaneous moshing, as the opening chords surged through the bodies of everyone within earshot.

There was a nice surprise in the set in the form of golden oldie ‘I Watched The Fire Chase My Tongue’, the inclusion of which caused the crowd to burst into action and scream every single word back at the stage. The shining star of the set, though, was closing number ‘A Lover, A Shadow’; the journey through madness and serenity is even more powerful live and there wasn’t a single person in the room that wasn’t completely mesmerised by what they were seeing. A perfect set from a monumentally underrated band.

The final band to take to stage was Blood Youth, and what a show this was for them. This stop of the tour acted as a hometown show for them, and the last time they did a headline show in London they played to almost nobody. This sat at the opposite end of the spectrum, as they performed to a completely packed out room of avid supporters, a large portion of which were wearing their merch. This was Blood Youth’s night, and you’d better believe that they brought their A-game.

On top of the amazing attendance for this show, this also served as the band’s first opportunity to showcase material from their new record ‘Starve’ to a London crowd. They wasted no time in doing this, starting their set with the raging ‘Spineless’ which immediately whipped the audience into a sweaty frenzy. They followed by performing a selection of tracks that spanned their entire catalogue, barely giving the crowd a chance to breathe. As well as gigantic bruisers from the new record like ‘Cut Me Open’, the haunting ‘Nerve’ and headbang anthem ‘Hate’, they rocketed through older favourites such as the bouncy ‘I Remember’ and the catchy ‘Making Waves’.

No matter where you looked, you could see appreciative heads nodding or enthusiastic mouths projecting the words directly back at the band. But the crowd participation hit an all time high for a very specific part of the set. Blood Youth ripped into ‘Closure’, the title track from the EP of the same name, and they’d barely reached the end of the first bar before bodies had started flying. The energy didn’t die down for the entire song, with the choruses echoing through the venue louder than a jet engine. Before the crowd had a chance to recover, they launched into ‘Reason To Stay’, a favourite from their last record ‘Beyond Repair’. Without hesitation, the pit reopened and the audience gave the band another dose of the same – something that the band were very visibly appreciative of. Set closer ‘Starve’ gave attendees one last chance to exert all of their energy, and the powerful title track served as a perfect end to their set. They deserved to be at the top of this bill, and they have most certainly earned their place at the top of many more to come.

Every band smashed their sets tonight. Not one person left the venue unhappy as everyone knew they’d witnessed a dazzling display of music. Lotus Eater proved to be a very effective appetiser, Palm Reader set an incredibly high musical bar that any band would struggle to follow, and Blood Youth brought one hell of a show into a very tightly packed venue. Not only was this an amazing evening for Blood Youth, it served as an incredible night for British heavy music. And the best thing about it? These three bands barely represent a fraction of how much good music is floating around right now. It’s still relatively early in the year, and this was just one of the many stacked line ups that’s hitting venues across the country. Let’s see what the rest of 2019 brings, ay?