Loathe & Holding Absence – Boston Music Room, London – LIVE REVIEW

Holding Absence, Boston Music Room – London, 08.03.2018 Photo Credit: Hayley Smith

After turning more than a few heads with their split EP, This Is As One, last month, Holding Absence and Loathe have taken to the road with an explosive co-headline tour, stopping off at London’s Boston Music Room.

Tonight’s support came from Sleep Token who nobody knows too much about. They claim that they are ‘united by their worship of an ancient deity crudely dubbed “Sleep”, since no modern tongue can properly express it’s name.’

Sleep Token are a masked, and so anonymous, group whose videos, album artwork and attire screams ‘heavy metal’ at the top if it’s lungs. They have adopted an ominous ambience and create real tension before taking to the stage.

What happens when they get there though is enough to knock the book-by-its-cover-types clean off their feet.

Anticipated heavyweight guitar riffs are actually joined by clean-cut vocals, more synonymous with some chart toppers than anybody on the metal circuit today.

Their set was nevertheless captivating without even addressing the audience once. Given the right setting, Sleep Token could win over a sensationally broad spectrum of fans.

Sleep Token, Boston Music Room – London, 08.03.2018 Photo Credit: Hayley Smith

Holding Absence have been steadily garnering attention for some time now. Largely hailed as in line for the UK rock throne, the Cardiff quartet have been shaping their own legacy since day one.

Where most would take tonight’s stage as is, Holding Absence carted out full length mirrors, floor lamps and incense sticks creating a trifecta of ambience.

Their performance was just as well thought out as their staging. Clearly playing as a strong unit, they only seemed to pull themselves out of their act for the odd endearing hug between members and subtly mouthing ‘oh my god’ to themselves.

They do have a lot to celebrate here. Largely tonight’s crowd is there’s and even though there’s only one split EP in their discography right now, the audience know every word and don’t hold back in showing it.

afterLIVE’s Alyce Hunt received a certain amount of…jeering…whilst she cooed over Lucas Woodland’s vocals whilst reviewing that split EP – but in reality she is perfectly justified.

Woodland WAS born to do this. Live he doesn’t miss a mark with a remarkable vocal texture and aptitude to connect with his crowd.

Holding Absence, Boston Music Room – London, 08.03.2018 Photo Credit: Hayley Smith

But he’s not up there alone and it’s already apparent that a huge group of people harbour a lot of admiration for Holding Absence.

Loathe are undoubtedly the heavier offering of tonight’s bill – all but carrying the metal torch alone.

Kadeem France is also a formidable frontman with all the charisma and ferocious energy that brings a band like this to life. Whilst the rest of the quintet are either concentrating on frankly overcomplicated tracks or hectically trying to pull off some sweet-stage-moves, France takes it all in his stride.

There’s a marked swap around of crowd members but as the Loathe audience steps forward the atmosphere seriously changes.

From beginning to end Boston Music Room was one big mosh pit matching the bands propensity for the chaotic.

Loathe, Boston Music Room – London, 08.03.2018 Photo Credit: Hayley Smith

It can’t be said that Holding Absence and Loathe really have too much in common but what they do share is a place on the “to-watch” list.

All things considered, tonight was a perfect example of the incredibly varied things that the UK rock scene is creating today. If this is the next generation of big names then the future holds a roster of creative stars with an ownership of their identity.


See our full gallery of the night here