Gig review: MONUMENT AND OUTLOUD, Barfly, Camden, London- 17 April 2015

The contrasting styles of Monument and Outloud have combined for what by all accounts has been a successful tour and a good value double bill, but at their London show at the Barfly not all went to plan.

One of the endearing characteristics of this small venue is the exposure it gives to new up and coming bands as three and four band bills are the norm here. However in this case, with a 10.15pm curfew, the evening felt all too rushed with four bands squeezed in.

The second band on, Agent, had apparently spent some while putting up their own banner and then what was to me a rather directionless and tedious set overran substantially. Outloud then still needed to soundcheck and came on stage with nearly half their allotted time used up. Frustratingly they had to curtail their set to a mere 25 minutes which was a particular shame for people who had travelled as far as Nottingham to see them.

The primarily Greek band, with a two guitar line up including Firewind’s Bob Katsionis and an archetypally Greek looking bass player whose demonic poses were highly entertaining, wasted no time,  with opener ‘One More Time’ coming over as a heavier version of JLT era Rainbow or prime time Malmsteen and ‘Isolation Game’ no less impressive.

They combine uncompromising riffing with a melodic sensibility but the star of the show though is American vocalist Chandler Mogel:  looking a bit like a young Anthony Kiedis he commanded the stage and had an impressive vocal range as he delivered new material from the ‘Love Catastrophe’ album such as ‘A While to Go’.

A  cover of OMD’s ‘Enola Gay’  with the famous synthesiser melody played on guitar was, shall we say, an interesting moment at which point a girl in the crowd upbraided me for not showing enough enthusiasm,  then they ended with the massive, anthemic  hooks of surely their best song ‘We Run’. While too brief, hopefully their London debut was a precursor to a return visit.

Monument were also affected by the late running and as headliners were only allocated a measly 40 minute set. In front of a distinctly hairy band, former White WIzzard singer Peter Ellis is quite a character with his curly hair, wild eyed enthusiastic energy and breathless high pitched between song intros.

 Monument were formed to take forward  his love of old school Heavy Metal and the NWOBHM in particular and songs like ‘’Renegades, ‘Fatal Attack’, ‘Carry On’ and ‘Runaways’ came over a raw version of early Iron Maiden complete with the twin guitars of Lewis Stephens and Dan Baune. The Maiden comparisons were even stronger when Peter left the stage while they played an instrumental.

A  healthily sized crowd lapped it up with plenty of headbanging down the front, though I felt they lacked the subtlety and ambitious scale that has come to epitomise Maiden, although one song, whose title I didn’t catch, showed signs of developing into an epic.   In many ways they are to Maiden what Airbourne are to AC/DC, paying homage to a classic sound with great freshness and enthusiasm but not in the same league as their heroes.

Other influences shone through with ‘Crusaders’ not dissimilar to the Saxon song of the same name and set closer ‘Rock the Night’ sounding like a speeded up version of Dio’s ‘I Speed at Night’.

The two bands occupy different points on the hard rock spectrum  but had in common a love of great guitar work, an impressive frontman and bags of enthusiasm. It was an excellent value evening, the short set times frustrating me but making want to see both again.

Review and Photos by Andy Nathan

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