Rap metal supergroup outfit Powerflo made the extensive commute across the pond from LA to the ever-bustling and vibrant section of London, that is Camden as part of their European summer 2018 tour promoting their ‘Bring That Shit Back’ EP released earlier this year.
Consisting of a dynamic line-up of revered musicians with varying backgrounds such as the OG Sen Dog of iconic latino American hip-hop group Cypress Hill, Billy Graziadei who is the lead vocalist and ryhthm guitarist of New York hardcore / metal titans Biohazard, Christian Olbe Wolders who slapped many a mean basslines as part of the metal institution Fear Factory, and former Downset guitarist Roy Lozano. Powerflo is certainly a band steeped in distinction with such an exciting range of angles covered and such music royalty coming together.
On the day that the ever headline-hungry and extremely controversial current US President Donald Trump came to visit London (and was greeted with mass outrage and disapproval in the form of some 250,000 momentous UK protesters), it felt very right to be in the cosy Boston Music Room venue witnessing such a turbulent and powerful band as Powerflo, that Sen Dog himself stated is a voice for the people, that the lyrics they write are:
“for the everyday person; I’m not laying in a fuckin’ mansion or kind of ‘out of touch’ – it’s for me and you and for everybody man – I tried to make the lyrics as relatable for people as I could.”
(I was very lucky to have been given the chance to interview the guys a couple of hours prior to this performance which you can read in entirety here)
Describing themselves as an amalgamation of rap, metal, punk and thrash, Powerflo certainly do bring the noise with their multi-genre fusing sound that Billy jokingly coined as “migraine blues”, they served as a more than adequate replacement for the forecasted thunderstorms that thankfully did not rear their head this night!
After a brief and somewhat disjointed yet very loud performance from Cardiff’s Astroid Boys, the crowd livened up immensely when the Powerflo-ers took the stage, and the appreciation for the group and individual members was sounded by an almighty universal roar from all in attendance when the haunting opening bell chimes of ‘Resistance’ struck.
Adorned with gleeful smiles and plenty of headbanging all night, each member appeared and sounded revitalised and were clearly enjoying themselves hugely as they executed a thrilling performance running through the majority of numbers that make up the groups 2017 self-titled debut album that is a real rampage on record but ignites such a wildfire in a live setting. At numerous points some slightly crazed fans took to embarking upon the stage for a good ol’ crowdsurf which only further enhanced the intensity of the performance and served to invigorate the band members more.
One factor that was easily observable and nice to see throughout the performance and highlighted by said crowdsurfing antics was how diverse a crowd the group draw; ranging from teens to guys who appeared bearing down on their sixties – some who were proudly showing Billy their many Biohazard tattoos when they got up on stage. This coming together and evaporation of social boundaries and judgement is one of the more powerful and moving aspects that music can hone and is always fantastic to witness and be a part of.
Delivering a set-list that really faltered at no point at all, with each number eliciting such a positive and stimulating response from the receptive faithful gathering, Powerflo really came through with the second-to-none pedigree possessed by the group. Having the entire audience completely captivated from start to finish is an honest reflection on their performance and I don’t really want to single out a song to praise it in a higher fashion than the others as every track was delivered with the same level of passion and dexterity, yet I will say aside from the glorious moment of ‘Resistance’ kicking off proceedings, ‘Where I Stay’ was a highlight for temporarily relieving each flailing head to the tune of uniting all in a cosy sing-a-long for the rousing chorus.
This was my first time seeing Powerflo (this was only their second ever UK show after gracing Download Festival in June!) and the superb performance has my eyes firmly peeled for the second album the guys told me they hope to begin working towards in the near future.
The final touch of the band members to hang around near the exit of the venue as soon as they had finished laying waste, freshly bedewed in well-earnt sweat, to spend time greeting as many fans as wanted to speak to them and get a photo was a supremely humble gesture of them and clearly made the day of the many admiring fans – such experiences live long and proud in the memory and excellently brought to a conclusion the emphatic Powerflo demonstration.
Powerflo’s self-titled debut album from 2017 and their 2018 EP ‘Bring That Shit Back’ are out now via New Damage Records. Credit for both photos goes to Jessica Lotti.