LIVE: The Gospel Youth / Rob Lynch / The Autumn Ravine / Spineless Yes Men @ The Black Heart, Camden

By Jess

Brighton’s The Gospel Youth exploded onto the pop-rock scene last winter with the release of their single ‘Kids’. Headed by Samuel Little, they’ve been taking the music scene by storm, and are now pushing the boat out with the release of their latest EP, ‘Empires’. And with this release, comes a (day late) EP release show at The Black Heart in Camden.

Spineless Yes Men open proceedings and unfortunately seem to fall flat from the start. Their lyrical content is uninspired, and they seem like they’re trying to be a bunch of over-enthusiastic teenagers in their first pop-punk band, which this London-based sextet are not. It proves a disappointing and dull start.

But Kent/Brighton quartet The Autumn Ravine step things up a notch with their heart-wrenching, melodic rock music. With soaring choruses and catchy choruses that could rival that of Deaf Havana and Twin Atlantic, they proceed to claim hearts with their massive tracks ‘Drowning’ and the immense, flawless ‘A Little Sleep’. They know how to create emotional tracks, complemented perfectly with Damon Griffith’s elephantine vocals and their massive riffs.

Secret guest Rob Lynch is always a welcome addition to any gig with his strong acoustic tracks. He’s an incredibly quirky character, and has the crowd laughing easily between songs. But his music truly does the talking – ‘Kings and Queens’ is poignant, while closer ‘My Friends & I’, complete with Samuel Little harmonising, is a stunning end to a rather short, but sweet, set.

When The Gospel Youth take to the stage, the room is absolutely buzzing with anticipation. Good things have come out of this band’s camp so far, and ‘Empires’ is no exception. From the start, these guys mean business, throwing out huge tracks such as ‘Stay Positive’, which resounds throughout the tiny room. And then there’s their title track ‘Empires’, which is just glorious, especially when the crowd joins in with Samuel on those desperate cries of, “You took me by the hand, sang hallelujah!” They bring the everyone together with the emotional ‘If She’s the Rope’, before they belt out ‘Kids’, complete with melodic hooks and a bouncy chorus.

As The Gospel Youth sign off, it’s clear that tonight belongs to them. And if both their EP and tonight is anything to go by, then things are going to get very, very good for this lot.