These might be the thunderous last days of summer in London but Adebisi Shank and Fang Island make sure the sun shines even in the basement of Birthdays.
Adebisi Shank/Fang Island, live in London
Venue: Birthdays, Dalston
New York and Ireland combine forces for an electrifying two-night stand in London
Between them they generate enough energy to power not only the bar above but half of east London to boot. Tonight is the second of two sold-out shows but the first to have been announced, so excitement is at fever pitch before a single note is heard. And you know you're in the company of devotees when fans roar along with songs that don't, by and large, actually have any words.
Going solely on Fang Island's Sisterly album you might think they're pleasant enough. Talented, certainly, melodic and heavy like a muscly Weezer. Go to a show, though, and you see that they're an utterly badass four-headed thrash machine who unite the crowd in head-spinning communion somewhere up amongst the dog-whistle pitches of the highest notes.
The Illinois and Sideswiper have juddering palm-muted grooves and almost constant jubilant soloing, offering classic guitar-work for a generation without time to waste. Guitarists Jason Bardell and Chris Georges cut straight to the chase, left hands splayed as they fly up and down the fretboards. Welcome Wagon seems to reference Breaking the Law, and when Bardell asks the crowd to turn to their neighbours for high-fives he doesn't have to wait long before the slaps become claps, then a wall of applause.
Adebisi Shank have been setting minds alight since their earliest shows in Ireland, turning tiny rooms into instant sweating frenzies. The opening bloops and chirrups of International Dreambeat assemble slowly, but when the song kicks in it sets a pace that never falters. Fans are lurching, surfing and dancing – proper arms-up ass-shaking dancing – in a jam-packed room which is, at best, twelve people wide.
"We're really sorry for the U2 thing," bassist Vinny McCrieth joked the night before. "As Irish guys we feel sorta responsible." But tonight there’s nothing to apologise for, with the set a selection from their second and third albums respectively. The reception is rapturous. Crowdsurfers tumble and kick the light fittings above the front of the stage, fans adding massive gang-chants to World in Harmony and choral whoas to Big Unit.
The trio are jerking silhouettes with an invisible drummer somewhere below. The Atari-tones and loops and riffs sound meatier and meaner and more euphoric than ever before. On record Thundertruth is light compared to the rest but tonight it’s warm and heartfelt. Closer Voodoo Vision doesn't so much gallop as sound like the thunder of hooves at the finishing line for the Grand National. There's very little talk before an unexpected single-song encore, the bouncing Jump Cut from their very first EP. The song closes an electrifying night for two bands who leave a triumphal buzz at the very core of your bones.