The American super group, Powerflo, played the Boston Music Room in Tufnell Park, on the 13th of July with support from Welsh hardcore/grime rockers Astroid Boy. Both bands bring a ton of energy and enthusiasm to a mostly willing crowd on a Friday the 13th that was only unlucky if you happened to not be in attendance.
Originally scheduled to be in The Dome, the gig was moved to the Boston Music Room presumably due to poor ticket sales. With both venues being beside each other, it isn’t an issue for fans and was the right move as even the Music Room wasn’t packed and this kind of high energy music seems to demand bodies a bit squashed together and jumping around in unison. It just wouldn’t feel right in a sparse crowd.
Despite the wonderfully sunny weather in recent weeks in London, coming out of the Tube station, we are greeted by a sudden torrential downpour meaning I, and a a fair few others entered the gig looking absolutely drenched. Damp tops did nothing to dampen spirits though and the half full venue had a nice buzz and atmosphere running around it already. Supporting Powerflo were Welsh band, Astroid Boy. They are a band that have really been making a name for themselves in recent times. As well a shaving a new album, called Broke, due out in late September, they have recently supported some very high profile bands like Body Count and now, Powerflo.
They are an energetic bunch, moving around on stage constantly, demanding crowd participation. Despite everyone watching seeming to really enjoy what they were seeing, they are mostly static, choosing to watch rather than let loose which is a little disappointing as the band deserve more for their efforts. Lyrically they spit rhymes about real issues and the song, Foreigner, really goes down well as the crowd join in with the line “We know that you don’t like Foreigners”. Little digs at the likes of Donald Trump also get a good cheer.
The band switch things up on stage regularly with the guitarist stepping in and out for different tracks. For me personally, I preferred it with the guitars in feeling it got a little too straight up rap/grime without it. Still, I really enjoyed watching them and will be checking out more of their music. You can find out more about Astroid Boy at their Facebook or Twitter page and can preorder Broke from here.
The first issue of the night comes next as the stage times shows that there will be a 45 minute wait for Powerflo’s turn. That is long, and while it was partially forgiven by the funny track sung to the tune of Transformers that had a chorus that just went “Transvestites, woman in disguise”.
Finally the 45 minute wait is up and NWA’s Straight Outta Compton plays. Annoyingly, it ends and still the band haven’t appeared. By this time the half full venue is starting to feel really full with many people turning up just in time for Powerflo. While I am glad it’s full, it is a shame they didn’t come earlier to throw some support at Astroid Boy. Another tracks starts up and finally the band appear, literally sprinting onto the stage 4 minutes after the 21:15 start time. While 4 minutes isn’t a lot, it is when you add it to the 45 minutes we have already waited.
Rather then come out to a warmed up crowd, they have to get everything going again but that doesn’t take long as they launch into the track Resistance. They are loud, the floor is shaking, the bass is thunderous and the band throw themselves about like lunatics on the small stage while lead vocalist, ex Cypress Hill rapper Sen Dog fist bumps the front row. One of my favourites comes next, with My M.O. It sounds fantastic live, really impressive as the band manage to sound exactly like the studio version. Finish the Game carries on the pounding happiness before one of their most popular tracks, Where I Stay gets an airing. I love this song and it is just as good live with the “na na na” bits getting sung back rapturously.
By this point in the show, the crowd is absolutely pumped with people throwing themselves about, lost in the music. We do also get a stage diver or two which would normally be pretty cool but they aren’t being particularly careful and knock over Christian Olde Wolbers mic which has a technician on stage trying to put it back together while the band continue. Start a War gets played before Sen Dog talks to the crowd a bit. This turns out to be one of the most popular moments of the whole show as he introduces a band member and they then launch into a bit of music from that band’s past. For example, introducing Christian from Fear Factory gets us 30 seconds of Replica from Demanufacture. This, and just Billy Graziadei in general, may just get the largest cheer of the whole night.
Back to Powerflo though and the excellent Less than a Human gets played. Like everything from the band so far, it sounds really tight and really heavy. As they continue you have to admire Sen Dog’s ability at working a crowd. He comes across both funny and warm despite his vicious spitting of the lyrics.
One of my favourites, Made it this Way gets aired and I am delighted, though not surprised, to hear how pounding and heavy it sounds live. It is a really energetic number and Billy Graziadei seems to find a platform in anything to launch himself off of. As manic as it has been, as involved as the crowd have been, it really sets off next as a Biohazard track gets played. From 1994’s State of the World Address, they play How It Is, which featured Sen Dog back in the day. The crowd go mad for it and the stage becomes a diving platform as a constant rotation of people now get up and launch themselves off. The last few tracks of the night get played which also equate to pretty much all of Powerflo’s material so far starting with The Grind.
Fernando Schaefer (Worst) and Rogelio Lozano (Downset) sound great in The Grind with Schaefer’s drums shaking the room while Lozano blazes out riffs on guitars. The fonal proper song of the night is their best known, Victim of Circumstance which ends the night on a high. They do actually finish on the short self introducing Bring that Shit Back from their EP of the same name but it is just a minutes opportunity for the fans to gratefully applaud the band and roar their approval at the powerful show they have just seen.
All in all, it was a really great show with Astroid Boys doing a solid job of showing the crowd what they were about. The night was, as expected, Powerflo’s though showing that their powerful, hardcore/metal sound translates really well onto the live stage. The crowd were great, the band’s charismas was infectious and the music was powerful and heavy. You couldn’t ask for much more. Only complaints would come from the timings. 50 minutes between bands is too much. The gig also ended much earlier than I thought, at around 22:10 so really we only got less than an hour from the headline act. To be fair to them, they played pretty much every song they have and it is only because they were so good, that I was disappointed to see them leave the stage.
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Powerflo’s self titled debut and their EP, Bring that Shit Back are available on all the usual streaming services and you can grab physical copies at the links above. Find out more about Powerflo at their Facebook or Twitter account for news on new music and upcoming tours.
Powerflo at the Boston Music Room (13/07/2018)
The Final Score - 8/10