By Nathan Lucking, London Correspondent
Venue: The Barfly, London-September 28, 2015–Cypher16, Black Sixteen, RSJ, and New Device
Monday nights are not normally the go to night for hitting the town or big nights out but Monday 28th September seemed to ignore the norms with Florence and the Machine at The Roundhouse pulling in a near full house (from what I saw from the street) but for those disposed to a heavier sound The Barfly was the place to be from 19:45 with four rock and metal acts presented by the famous Camden Rocks festival.
After some last minute pre-show set changes giving RSJ a half hour set they were the first to take to the stage, I say to the stage that’s only ¾ accurate as the lead singer spent around 90% of the set out in the crowd engaging them if they liked it or not (they did) with his mic and face in their faces; even getting help from one fan on a chorus. Whilst their lead singer was marching around the venue the remains of the band were busy using every inch of the stage and every ounce of energy they had, refusing to let the lime light leave them entirely.
As it turns out RSJ were probably the most traditionally heavy bands on the bill for the night, something noted by Black Sixteen’s singer, guitarist and New Devices singer during a conversation in their dressing room. Black Sixteen, a London grunge band, and New Devices, a hard rock act, were both hoping the crowd wasn’t looking for anything too heavy from them as well – they wouldn’t get it.
But all was well when Black Sixteen took to the stage and introduced that they were in fact the lightest act of the night play some British Grunge rock, which went down a treat with the highly receptive and musically diverse crowd that the headline act, Cypher16, had pulled in. All was smooth sailing for the first three songs until an extended pause between third and fourth song when lead singer informed us all that their drummer had lost his nuts, of course referring to the wing nuts on one of the kits symbols to which the room erupted in laughter as the band tried to find the errant wing nut before continuing the set as if nothing had happened.
The headline act were in fact the third band on the bill and the act everyone was waiting to see, Cypher16 did not disappoint their fans play a mix of well know fan favorites and a huge swathe of new material from their highly anticipated newly released debut album The Great Surveyor. Cypher16 brought the same level of dedication and professionalism to this show as to every other stage I’ve ever seen them play, this plus their heavy but clean musical style is winning them a lot of supporters and some very prestigious articles (metal hammer this month).
Following their mammoth tour of China last year it’s great to see this new material and level of energy from the boys who show no signs of slow even slightly with their set filled with headbanging riffs as the three free standing member of the band move about their small sections of slightly cramped stage. However the set was not free from issues and like Black Sixteen suffered an instrument based malfunction, this time during the latter stages of their set when Will’s G string broke – I spoke with him after the show and he told me the strings he had for this show had ben used for around five hours (practices and the show) compared to using the same set of strings for the entire China tour! – luckily the boys always travel with spares and the songs continued unaffected.
Closing down the night were New Devices, a hard rock act from London, the four piece took to the stage and played a full set as if it were to a much larger venue, ignoring the shrinking crowd in front of them – many heading for the last train home, others celebrating with Cypher16 in the bar downstairs – but a hardcore few remained and showed full support of the four piece throughout their half hour set.
Cypher16-“The Whole Sea to Cross”
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