vintageliveA little bit of old school worship at The Underworld on a Sunday night is a perfect way to prepare for a new week. Icelandic power trio, The Vintage Caravan are once again laying waste to these shores and London is the latest stop. They’ve brought along a couple of tour buddies and it’s almost a guarantee things are going to get mighty sweaty and loud.

Local band, Landskap kick things off in front of a small but enthusiastic gathering. Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd tones greet us before some big, clean riffs. Jake Harding’s vocals have a rich, seasoned quality that compliment tunes that hint at everything from the might of Black Sabbath and Uriah Heep to the simple honesty of Lynyrd Skynyrd. The beautiful mix of classic rock and early heavy metal with deft prog twists provides a smorgasbord of sonic delights with moments of all out riffage as they close with “Mask Of Apathy”. The set has a certain seriousness with an obvious respect for their influences and is a brief but more than satisfying introduction to the evening.

The main room has a nice little buzz going by this stage. The p.a. blasts a quirky, country style version of “Paranoid” which is actually very fitting for Dead Lord who obviously appear to be enjoying themselves before a chord is even struck. When those chords are struck though, there’s lashings of Thin Lizzy meets Iron Maiden twin guitar goodness. Like a pack of kids in a candy store it’s a head banging, fists raised in the air party. Involuntary smiles pop up everywhere – this is pure good times metal that is completely infectious and the band’s wide-eyed mood commands the venue. Led by guitarist/vocalist Hakim Krim, songs like “No Regrets” and “Ruins” are scorching and the temptation to air guitar is strong and indulged in! Throw in a bubble machine for good order and this set proves to be an unashamed escapist blast. Beer me up and bring on more! This is the Swede’s first UK tour and hopefully they’ll be back again soon.

Although still quite a young band, The Vintage Caravan have clocked up some serious gigging miles. Since day one, they’ve been delighting audiences with a powerhouse twist based on big Led Zeppelin inspired grooves. Tonight proves to be no exception and there’s a ton of massive, crunching riffs and sheer, blistering solos courtesy of Oskar Logi, whose charisma, enthusiasm and swagger ensures the accelerator stays firmly pushed to the floor. The rhythm section of Alexander Orn on bass and Stefan Ari on drums is super tight and it’s all too easy to lose yourself in their sound as they blast through classic tracks like “Cocaine Sally” and “Shaken Beliefs”. Even a broken string can’t stop them and a little help in the shape of Dead Lord guitarist, Olle Hedenstrom’s Flying V ensures they finish with a pummelling version of “Midnight Meditation”. Surely one of the most exciting young bands around, they have a freshness to their sound that keeps them away from any retro tags that are all too readily applied these days. A word for tonight’s display? Triumphant.

This was a top shelf gig that could lift the most sombre of moods. All the way through we had talented young bands with well-crafted songs but above all else it was their collective mood that kept the gig truly entertaining. For anyone who is inspired by the classic rock and proto-metal sounds that shaped our world, you really need to check these bands out.

(Johnny Zed)