Von Hertzen Brothers – Black Wolf – Ulysses: Live at The Dome, Tufnell Park, London

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The Tufnell Park Dome in darkest North London has had a bit of a resurgence of late with its mid-sized entertainment room being more regularly frequented by touring bands that Ghost Cult readers would heartily approve of. So it’s here we schlepp off to, catching up with our favourite brothers in rock music, the Von Hertzens. Tube delays and refreshment catch ups mean we miss most of the set by the charming and sprightly indie/glam/rock stomp music of Ulysses for which, if the last few songs were any indication, we are very sorry about. Next time, gents, I promise.

Black Wolf play muscular heavy metal, reminiscent of Judas Priest or Iron Maiden or – well, insert any number of hard rockin’ bands here – and they are pretty decent if you like this sort of thing, which, judging by the enthusiasm of the crowd here tonight, many people evidently do. There’s not much that you haven’t heard before but they do a decent set that leaves you warming to them and wishing them well. Given the crowded market place within which they have decided to play their art, it is important you get people on your side: they certainly did tonight.

We are all here for the Von Hertzens though and the room seems to fill almost instantly with less than five mins to their arrival on stage. A loud and almost valedictory opening of ‘New Day Rising; sets the bar at an astonishingly high level which, to their credit, they not only stick to but,on ‘Flowers and Rust’, they move into another league altogether; its swooning harmonies and melody leaving many wondering whether they had, ahem, something in their eye. ‘Black Rain’ has a larger sense of brooding and foreboding than perhaps original listens on record would suggest and ‘Let Thy Will Be Done’ is funkier than a funk convention. Or something. ‘Freedom Fighter’ is full of verve and panache and makes you feel a little bit better with the world; a bit like the band themselves to be honest.

This evening’s performance is full of charm, warmth and energy; they have a brilliant talent that they showcase with a level of insouciant charm and brilliance. This is a band who have gathered their mojo up and twisted it gloriously – they are a fine group of songwriters with not just a cracking new album to promote but a back catalogue of enviable riches. As my companion said to me, tonight felt like a bit of a privilege seeing them. Well said. Glorious, glorious stuff.

 

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MAT DAVIES