Luke’s Alphabet Tour – J: The James Cleaver Quintet at London Koko – 6th May 2012

By on Monday, 28th May 2012 at 2:00 pm

In the early-afternoon May-time drizzle, the numerous Camden Crawlers are seeking shelter at various pubs and clubs. Some choose a pub to watch the footy, some dive into Burger King but 100-or-so people stroll into Koko for a much-needed dose of angst and adrenaline.

Although Camden Crawl isn’t known for its heavy side, XFM is doing its bit to educate the masses with the skinny jeans wearing noiseniks the James Cleaver Quintet. Merging the anthemic punk rock sounds of Fucked Up with the metalcore stylings of The Devil Wears Prada, it’s enough to ignite the fires inside the bellies of the beasts in attendance, who await their feast with baited breath.

Since releasing their debut album ‘That Was Then, This is Now’ on Hassle Records last year, the Eastbourne hardcore mob have been on a trajectory to rock ‘n’ roll glory. Mixing the savage with the serene, frontman Jack Saunders blends larynx-ripping screams with cleaner, pop-punkier vocals whilst JCQ hurtle around the stage like someone sprinkled ecstasy on their corn flakes.

The high octane performance is boosted with a full-scale light show laden with strobes to please the wide-eyed crowd. Despite Koko not being full, the devotees on the barrier are lapping up every metalcore morsel thrown their way. Blasting out hits including ‘Snakes’ and ‘Think or Swim’, the delightfully deafened audience are treated to Saunders towering over them on the barrier for the big finish.

Yes, the bodies on the floor are primarily static throughout the performance but not every gig is about throwing elbows and kicking imaginary faces. Appreciation is still in the heart of Koko who will no doubt be joining JCQ on their festival travels this summer.

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