Review + Photography by Adriana Vasile

HEAVY! If I were to describe the evening it one word, ‘Heavy’ would definitely be the one I’d go for. Coupled with ‘moshpit’ and ‘sweaty’, you can already get an accurate picture the mayhem that took over The Underworld in Camden on a quiet Thursday night for Issues.

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Ground Culture kicked off the night. I must confess I haven’t heard them before tonight, but they grabbed my attention from the first song, so I had to jot down their name immediately for further inspection at home. Turns out, the Newcastle guys made quite an entrance in the music scene after dropping their debut single ‘Confessions’ and having it played on BBC Radio One’s rock show. From then on, their future started shining bright and full of promise. With a well-defined, complex sound and a message for the world to hear, it’s no wonder they made an impression. The young band defies the expectations that come with the fact that they only emerged a little over 1 year ago: they put on an amazing show for The Underworld Camden crowd, with ease and casual attitude that generally shows up in well-versed bands. Their quality songs, together with their frontman’s captivating presence and engaging chats with the crowd between the tracks, delivered a show to be dwelled on. They are surely worth keeping an eye on, I hope I‘ll see them again on a bigger stage soon.

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Ground Culture (2)

Next on, Lotus Eater took the evening to the next level, with a heavier sound and by continuously inciting – or better said demanding – the crowd to jump and mosh. They came on stage like a hurricane and kept the wild energy going throughout the set. No wonder that by the time they were done, everyone was gasping for breath and trying to cool down… all with big smiles covering their faces and nodding with approval. They had a good time and were ready to welcome the main act.

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Lotus Eater (1)

Issues came on shortly, on a dim-lit stage, bathed in smoke and flooded by welcoming cheers. The overall excitement hit the roof and the crowd started singing along and jumping to the beat. Technical difficulties presented themselves after a few songs, followed by an awkward couple of minutes of silence and unrest… However, this did not put anyone off, as the guys shortly recovered quickly and continued the show with unwavering passion and energy.

They played a mix of old and new songs, to which the crowd reacted quite differently. Every ‘old’ tune was giving way to emotional interludes, when everyone was singing as one in perfect sync with Tyler and throwing their hands in the air at the choruses they knew so well. Clearly, these tunes left their mark on each and every one’s heart, speaking to them on a deeper level. Alternatively, the newer songs were giving off a different vibe, everyone was still having a great time however they didn’t seem to have had the same impact on their fans’ souls. Either way, halfway through the set, the room was already all steamy and entirely (walls, ceiling and floor) covered in sweat.

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They ended the set on a high, with ‘Slow Me Down’ to the crowd’s delight. All lights were off, with the room lit solely by phone flashlights. Looking around the room, you could immediately tell this was one song everyone was waiting for. Together as one, their voices blared louder than ever before from the first lyric, betraying memories and feelings which this particular song was expressing so perfectly on their behalf.

However, the crowd didn’t want to slow down just yet, screaming for the band to return for the encore. The band came back with ‘Hooligans’, to everyone’s delight, including mine – this is the first song I heard from them and to date I can too remember the lyrics.

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“If you know the word to this song, I need you to lose your voice tonight!” shouted Tyler and continued by playing ‘Mad At Myself’. It was like he read everyone’s minds as they made one last push to jump higher than before and sing from the top of their lungs, as was befitting to such a tune.

“Thank you so much, we are Issues, see you next time!”

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See the full photoset from tonight’s gig here.

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