by Jon Ousey
Guest Writer —
June 28, 2012 at The Intrepid Fox in London, UK
Hornet were back in town tonight at Soho’s legendary rock and metal bar, The Intrepid Fox and I couldn’t wait. Rock ‘n’ roll could have pretty much summed up the scene that night as probably seventy percent or more of the patrons were definitely old school rockers but just because most of the crowd were ‘rockers’ doesn’t mean it’s limited to die hard rock fans. The bands on this bill came to play some kick ass rock… and kick ass they did! The line up for the show opened with Titans & Kings and then went on to Meansteed and then headliners, Hornet and I must say it was a pretty heavy night of music with some serious talent up on stage. Hornet have created a huge buzz at The Intrepid Fox over the last few months which I haven’t seen other bands do in years and with their large and loyal fan-base eagerly awaiting them to take the stage, I knew everyone in this intimate venue was in for a real good time tonight.
The first band on stage Titans & Kings, looked, acted and sounded like seasoned professionals. The music was brought hard except for a moment when they slowed things down a bit on a softer song but then it went right back to gut punching rock which was their distinct sound. Everything about Titans & Kings sounded good that night from the kick ass guitar rhythms to the timing of the drums. The music is hard without being too hard, and there is definitely a big melodic edge to all their stuff making the songs easy to listen to whilst showing off their musical aptitude and songwriting prowess. The stage presence of this band reflects the feeling and tempo of the songs. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the band and will definitely go and see them again. After Titans & Kings exited the stage it was now Meansteed’s turn in keeping the crowd going and keeping things lively until Hornet took the stage.
Meansteed took to the stage as the main support for tonight and kicked things off with their high octane rock after previously opening for Hornet at The Intrepid Fox in April. They opened up with song ‘Make A Stand’ which straight away reminded me of an Airbourne song and this time round just a little too much. Singer Matty Dorkings worked the crowd well and the audience tonight enjoyed them enough but for me they didn’t really cut it like the first time I saw them live back in April. Don’t get me wrong the band were energetic and worked very hard on stage but the front man’s imitation of Joel O’Keeffe was pretty tragic. Their new bassist is a great asset to the band with drummer Adam Sutcliffe who kept the rhythm section tight. However their track ‘Weekend Warrior’ couldn’t have been anymore of a Motorhead rip off! That being said I have listened to their music online since and it is very well produced. I do honestly think Meansteed will do well once they have crafted their own act and sound and I look forward to seeing them again when they have.
Hornet were up next and I could feel the vibe in the air which this band creates as before the band hit the stage the crowd were chanting “Hornet”. Singer Joe Thompson introduced the band and riled the waiting crowd into frenzy by getting them to scream “Hornet” some more. The band smashed out an intro and kicked off into opening song ‘Down To The Bone’ with the crowd erupting into cheers, whistles and a mosh pit. Everybody was ready to see Hornet as these guys are not just all about looking like rock stars, it is a part of their show and it works well by giving the people a visual and a persona to relate to along with their music. It’s worked great in the past, so why not now? Does Hornet pull off the look and talent like some of yesteryears bands? You bet your ass they do!
They draw heavily on that 70’s era’s rock sound yet adding more of a punk element and maybe even leaning more towards metal, which I think is tailor made for today’s rock fans. But unlike a lot of old school esque rock bands that have high pitched vocals throughout their songs, Hornet singer Joe Thompson has a deeper, raspier voice. Tonight I could clearly see what Hornet is… pure entertainment and the people at the show obviously agreed, singing and going mental for every song.
Although the band suffered some technical difficulties with the guitar they had a ‘fuck it, let’s get on with it’ attitude so this didn’t slow them down and what is amazing about this band is their ability to work the crowd. Yeah, it was mostly hard rockers tonight but I am definitely not a strict hard rocker yet I still had a full on grin going all night and I could clearly see that the girls at the front of the crowd wanted more from Joe than just his music.
Though the show only consisted of ten songs and a guitar solo the band gave the crowd a night to remember, with memorable moments including singer Joe Thompson and guitarist Tollef Rikje-Pearson going into the crowd to show off his guitar skills, Max smashing his bass solo to the crowd and most importantly, the band taking the time to talk to their fans. Who would be disappointed after a night like that? The fan favourite ‘Hunky Dorey’ ends with the whole band, except guitarist, Tollef Rikje-Pearson. He performed a few-minute long high powered, energized guitar solo behind his head and then removed the guitar, held it up in the air put it behind his back and continued ripping it up, this is the first time I’ve ever seen this done and the audience absolutely loved it! As soon as he finished the crowd cheered and the band wrapped up the song.
Whether a band is rock, metal, punk or any other genre they cannot survive on image alone. Fans demand the talent and if a band has the image and talent then the fans will make sure the band gets the recognition they deserve that will help push that band into the spotlight. Why do the fans do it? To ensure that the bands and the music they like will be around for a very long time. I have a strong feeling Hornet have a long career ahead of them.