Young Guns – Highbury Garage, London

By paul

Young Guns
Wednesday 21 July 2010
UBSU Subclub, Luton
Support: Deaf Havana + Francesqa

Punktastic?s glasses steam up as we enter the subterranean melting pot that is Hades. Sorry, the University of Bedfordshire?s Student Union. That old clichโ€šd ?wall of heat? is firmly in place tonight and it?s going to take some over-priced bottles of beer to work through the sweat. It?s uncomfortable to say the least but we?ll grin and bear it for the same reason the 300 or so other expectant bodies, many noticeably crushed against the security barrier from doors, will: this is one shit-hot line-up. It?s the type of bill that in a year?s time will have you pondering how these three bands could have shared a stage.

Live, FRANCESQA might just be the tightest band of the pop-rock breed. Having been the stand out on a Luton bill back in April, tonight the quintet doesn?t put a foot wrong, hitting the big notes, rocking the big chords, and being rewarded by the admiration of what has to be the biggest crowd the town?s seen (outside of a racist march) for some time. Top drawer stuff indeed.

DEAF HAVANA has been popping up in these parts for a good few years now and has made for interesting viewing. Having come along with an almost Gallows-esque hardcore sound, the King?s Lynn outfit has evolved into a much more polished, melodic act, even more so since May?s departure of screaming vocalist, Ryan Mellor. Whilst the change in direction hasn?t convinced all (certainly not this writer) it?s impossible to argue that it?s not moved the band onto bigger and better things. Tonight the quartet is greeted by warm waves of adoration as it jaunts through 30 minutes of rough-but-hooked melodic/rock parley. It?s true the band is a little static with its new four-piece structure but when you have hundreds of voices helping you out on ?Friends Like These?, even such criticisms melt away.

YOUNG GUNS soar in as poster boys, media darlings, and with a very daunting ?next big thing? albatross hanging firmly around the neck. Oh, and the anticipation of a few hundred people in this very room. It?s good then to see that the High Wycombe quintet is able to match up to such plaudits and expectations, putting on a neat and solidly impressive performance that at its best embalms the entire room, and at worst still generates a huge response. Whether it?s the breaking guitars penetrating the corners, the heavy, heavy drumming, or vocalist Gustav Wood?s perilous security barrier tightrope walk, it?s all infused with the presence of a band that is really at one and forceful as you like. Picking almost entirely from last week?s release, ?All Our Kings Are Dead?, is an obvious move but it?s a successful one. Plenty of mouths are singing along to every single utterance. It?s quite the display for a band that?s been doing this all on its own back.

So as the night ends with the band surfacing for an encore, of which you truly believe was unexpected, Young Guns prove that all the hyperbole isn?t for nought. Further success still isn?t guaranteed. It?s going to take a lot of work, but let?s face it, gigs like an opening main stage slot at the Reading/Leeds festival isn?t exactly going to hinder. Times ahead will be interesting to say the least.

Alex Hambleton