This Friday I thought I’d head down to the Rattlesnake on Upper Street, one of London’s newest music venues, to check out my friend Tom Richardson’s band, Cities Will Fall. I’d spoken to Tom earlier that day and could tell he was as excited at the prospect of getting back on stage as I was at seeing him up there. Grant and Danny, the Magnus Brothers on guitar and drums respectively, were also friends of mine who I’d known since the Blankiss days, and Gabriel Moreira I’d only met once before (albeit briefly – at Tom’s birthday bash in February).
The Rattlesnake is a decent looking rock bar recently opened on the site of the old Walkabout, and has kept much of the old layout while giving the place a much-needed makeover. As I arrived Tom greeted me and we had the chance for a quick beer before they went to set up.
The band opened with “Blood On Your Hands”, and frontman James Putney really puts his stamp all over this track. Being the only band member I hadn’t previously met, I had no idea what to expect from James or indeed, from the band as a whole. But I have to say, he oozes confidence. His stage presence is light years ahead of him. His vocal style, and to a lesser extent his outfit, denoted obvious hip-hop influences, and the opening track served as an ideal vessel for him to demonstrate not only those but also his ability to scream with the best of them.
About thirty seconds into their entire set, my attention had already been snared but the back of my mind was harboring a concern. The doubt on my mind was not about the band’s musical ability in the slightest, but simply whether or not they could get away with playing nu metal in 2013.
“Blood On Your Hands” was a strong choice for an opening song, largely due to James’ ability and its high-octane feel to pique the crowd’s interest, but it could have been written by Sum 41.
The second song was apparently untitled, however when James introduced it he gave it the impromptu monicker “Mungo & The Flower”. I guess that’s a working title, which was apt as the song itself felt a bit like a work in progress. I enjoyed it but I did feel it was maybe just lacking a certain something.
“Broken Society” would be an excellent choice for a first single. While some of the band’s other numbers highlighted the five members’ individual strengths (a good example being Gabriel’s guitar playing on the very next track “The Blind Leading The Blind”), “Broken Society” works really well as an advert for the band as a whole, and showcases their on-stage chemistry as we see five minds working as one.
“Whitechapel Memoirs” is definitely the band’s masterpiece, their magnum opus. The haunting intro draws to mind images of Jack The Ripper himself calmly lurking in the shadows of East London’s archaic passages and railway arches, and the guitar riff reminded me a little of an air-raid siren, which is of course reminiscent of another chapter in the East End’s history, and if this touch was an intentional one then it was also relevant as this song blew me apart like a B-17 bomber. This was my very favourite song of the set.
To wrap up, they ploughed through “Barrel Of A Gun”, before launching into “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”, which was the perfect end to a (sadly) too short set, for which they turned the energy level up to 11 and didn’t look back. It is evident that these five talented young men have a real hunger to perform, and I believe that they are fully deserving of playing to bigger and wider audiences. If they keep playing shows with the same level of enthusiasm, one day cities will fall at their feet.
Walking to the bar, it dawned on me that by opening with “Blood On Your Hands”, they were giving the audience a taste of something familiar before taking us on a ride in a whole nu direction, and I for one want to jump on board.
NU METAL IS BACK BABY!!