LIVE REVIEW: As Lions, Camden Barfly, London, 11/02/2015
A crowded room with a sticky floor, other people’s bodily fluids, and an almost inevitable hangover looming the next day might not be everyone’s idea of a good Wednesday night, but if we’re perfectly honest, there’s not many other places we’d rather be. Tonight, As Lions are out in force to dominate Camden Barfly, and they achieve their aims entirely.
From the ashes of Rise To Remain, writing partners Conor O’Keefe and Austin Dickinson have emerged almost phoenix-like, proving that starting again entirely anew can pay off tenfold. Alongside equally talented fellow ex-RTR-bandmate Will Homer and strong newcomers in Stefan Whiting and Dave Fee, the guys have been working incessantly to bring about change; not only in the new and refreshing take on British rock, but in the attitudes of those who consume it.
It’s worth remembering this lot only officially released one song to date prior to this, their first show at Camden Barfly. The Fall, showcased by Kerrang! Magazine back in January was met with an overwhelming reception, proven in the sheer numbers of people who’ve headed down to check out what they’re all about.
Of course, they don’t just stop there. There’s an incredible five more tracks being offered up tonight, and for those who’ve not quite sussed out the whole math thing yet, that’s six in total. Six tracks to debut live, and thankfully, six tracks well and truly nailed. There’s a cohesiveness on stage that stretches from vocals to strings to percussion and back, and it’s this mutual energy that allows them to shine in the spotlight.
Not only is the music on form, but the party game is strong, too. When the set breaks midway to allow for shots for all, it’s evident that this is a band having a great time, grateful for the rebirth, and wanting to share in their good fortune with their fans. Granted, there may well be a very strong posse of friends and family, alongside the odd random metalhead peppering the crowd, but this is a testimony to the loyalty the guys are blessed with in the face of other, weaker and slightly amusing contenders (like another band who played this evening…).
We’d be lying to say it had been an easy ride, but any trials and tribulations are long departed as the five-piece storm an incredible debut, bound to cement As Lions right into the burning heart of British rock.
Written by: Claire Louise Sheridan