When this gig was first announced it instantly raised a few questions. Not only did it see one of the angstier, heavier, bands on the island playing alongside one of the more upbeat but also the De La Rue, while a pub known for live music, generally hasn’t been known as a home for the heavier stuff in recent times.
In fact the only thing that really made the line up make any sense was the father and son guitarist duo Mark and Luke Guppy who appear in each band, Luke in From Darkness and Mark in Sacred Hearts (though both known simply as Guppy just to make things extra confusing).
It was From Darkness, fresh from recording their debut album with Apocalypse Studios, who kicked off the night (after some excellent selections from DJs Vauvert Underground and Miss San Frandisco) and sounded like a band reborn.
The first three tracks of their set, Hit Me, Scream and Insane, were the best things I’ve ever heard from them with a great groove and real passion within their usual angsty, modern metal context.
From there the quality remained high and they seemed far less self conscious in their performance, with the crowd onside and no sense of the antagonism I’ve seen from them previously and in its place a roaring catharsis.
With that, the energy in the room was terrific and seemed to carry on from last weekend’s metal and alt-rock night as a pit kicked off, the likes of which I don’t remember seeing in this venue since a Teaspoonriverneck album launch several years ago, before they closed on another high with the less than subtly titled PornGore.
Following that cathartic energy would be a challenge for any band but, The Sacred Hearts launched into their set with real strength from the off with the siren call of Free World and the dancefloor quickly filled up once more, albeit with a slightly more relaxed and mature crowd.
From there the energy never let up through ‘hit after hit’ from the band including Lucy Don’t Mind, Adorable, Shine and a huge Lay Down My Head.
While I’ve seen the band several times over the years I think this was my first time seeing them in a pub venue and the intimacy and energy really brought out their best with the real connection with the crowd lifting the whole thing and, while the band have always been consummate performers, it was clear everyone was having fun, onstage and off, throughout.
With many maracas handed out to the crowd they launched into the customary mash up of Love Bomb and Deep Purple’s Hush, which saw the audience (and the floor) bouncing before an encore of another run at Lay Down My Head with Colleen heading out into the crowd, that left them wanting even more as the band left the stage.
While on paper this show looked like it could be an awkward mismatch, with one band showing a new and energised side and the other riding the wave of energy generated by the intimate atmosphere, it followed on from last week’s show at The Fermain Tavern in feeling like a fresh burst of positivity and cohesion in music on the island while reminding me, and many others, how good a venue for a real range of music the De La Rue can be (as it used to be a few years ago).