From the moment he stepped onto the stage to the evening’s finale of, ‘How You Like Me Now?’, Kelvin Swaby, the lead singer of The Heavy, whipped the crowd into a dancing, chanting frenzy with barely a chance to draw breath. With a set of near ninety minutes promoting April’s new album, ‘Hurt & The Merciless’, and plenty of material from their back catalogue there really was something for everyone on a night that highlighted why this band has managed to stay successful for so long.
The Heavy are from Bath, and formed in 2007 after Kelvin met guitarist Dan Taylor in 1998 and discovered a mutual taste in R&B music. With Bass player Spencer Page and drummer Chris Ellul making up the rest of the four piece, they have released four albums to date and are regularly featured in film, TV, and video games. The iconic sound they have created, with influence drawn from many genres, seems to appeal to fans of different sorts of music and yet draw them all together in their admiration for this excellent band. Their 2009 single, ‘How You Like Me Now?’ has been used so many times that it has become their almost signature song and even drew the interest of Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich for a campaign rally in the States before the band slapped a cease and desist order on him to make him stop. It is the band’s ability to appeal so widely which surely attracted the politicians and it certainly makes this a band seem able to satisfy music fans of all tastes and this was reflected by the wide assortment of fans present last week at Heaven, near Charing Cross.
Heaven is a fantastic venue and always has a feel good vibe whenever I see music there, and combined with the band’s determination to put on a show, it was a heady mix. Despite the night being a chance to promote the new album, the band started with, ‘Can’t Play Dead’, from 2012’s last album, ‘The Glorious Dead’, before moving into three songs from the new release. Of the sixteen songs on the night, nine came from, ‘Hurt & the Merciless’, five from, ‘The Glorious Dead’, and just the big two from, ‘The House That Dirt Built’. When the super catchy new song, ‘Miss California’, moved into the classic, ‘Short Change Hero’, the level of excitement moved to an even higher level and never really abated. Kelvin has incredible energy and manages to combine this high movement with perfectly executed vocals.
This single London date was near the start of a tour that will take in Europe, USA and even Japan as the band promote an excellent album that stands shoulder to shoulder with their three earlier albums and can only help to cement The Heavy’s place as one of our finest exports.