Bongripper + Primitive Man + Apey and the Pea
The Underworld, Camden, LONDON
Review by Nathan Slack
Photography by Adrienn Pucher
Here we are on the cusp of summer festival season where some lucky metalheads get to get a bit sweaty to some of the genres biggest and best acts around today. I for one am rather jealous of friends travelling to Hellfest this year as their lineup is dazzling. During this period the UK is often forgotten and sadly this year isn’t any different.
It’s a tad quiet here in ol’ Blighty which leads me to be ultra excited for tonight’s sludgey offering from Nightshift Promotions who have put on a stellar line-up down in The Underworld once again.
Just before their appearance at Hellfest, the instrumental sludge tinkerers, Bongripper pop over the channel to play their first UK show since 2013. With them they brought US heavy hitters, Primitive Man and Hungary’s most famous band, Apey and the Pea.
With that kinda lineup you have to expect it to be packed and it certainly was, with this being Bongrippers only UK show this year. Their support acts are also a big draw with fellow UK sludgers Grave Lines, Sea Bastard and Slabdragger also in the crowd to catch Primitive Man as much as tonight’s headliners. It’s nearing a sell out on the door and the promoter is buoyant as Apey and the Pea take to the stage.
Aron/Apey, the singer takes to the stage and the band go straight into one of their recent singles, Slaves off their latest album Hex, their heaviest to date.
Best way to describe Apey and the Pea is to compare them slightly to Down as they seem to have nailed that Southern NOLA style and Aron sings with a melody like their American forebears.
This is my third time seeing Apey and the Pea in less than year and it’s always a treat.
Caught them at this years Desertfest here in London back in April and dragged some friends along too who instantly fell in love with them.
They work hard and back at home, play headlining sellout shows on much bigger stages than this so I will forgive the singer for shouting at the crowd to “wake up!!” throughout their set.
It’s very rare in the UK for an opening band to garner any sort of crowd let alone one that is gonna get stupid to a band they hardly know, especially on a hot summer day when fans are most likely still by the canal with a can of cheap lager.
Sounding tighter than ever this band are really coming to the fore and I really hope that they can headline in the UK sometime soon and fulfill their great potential.
With tracks like Pothead and Abraham with its manic tempo changes and newer tracks like Death, Apey have a bright future. Just lay off the crowd! 7/10
Next up Primitive Man who have drawn a loyal crowd with them in their own right.
Their name is up on the board outside and as soon as the massive singer starts to belt out their first track I can see why.
This has to be some of the heaviest Doom I’ve ever heard.
My ears could have bled, it was so loud and the band’s frontman, Elm has the loudest death/doom growl I’ve ever heard.
Theirs hairy headbanging a plenty as a mini sludge mosh kicks off and I’m thinking to my self…”f**kin ell! this is heavy AF!”
Which is a contrast to when Elm speaks because he comes across as one of the nicest mild mannered blokes your ever going to meet.
The band apologieses to the crowd saying that they are going to have to leave like 10 minutes after Bongrippers set as they have to catch an overnight ferry. Meant little to me at the time but made me put 2 and 2 together later on. But we will get to that! I need to find out more about Primitive Man as I instantly fell in love and I suggest you check them out! 9/10
Quietly, Bongripper take to the stage, absent any microphone whatsoever and slowly amble into their opening track Worship.
They then play a track I’m not familiar with and even after asking the band, don’t know what it’s called as they wouldn’t tell me either!
Then came Endless and the band are getting louder and heavier with each minute.
The crowd start to kick off at this point and beer flies and covers me and the rest of us in the seething crush of the moshpit. Then it was over.
I’m guessing that the bands all had to dash to Dover to make their overnight ferry as Primitive Man said so cut short their set. Would have been nice to have been told this rather than a wordless mime act on stage. What they played that night was great but personally felt a little let down and for me it wasn’t a headline set at all. Playing Hippie Killer or Satan Worshipping Doom in its entirety would have been a special performance for their English fans rather than what we got. Shame really as it was never the less a memorable night. 6/10
2. Unnamed new track