Role Models / Brijitte West & The Desperate Hopefuls / The Empty Page / Brandy Row – Camden, Black Heart – 10 September 2016 Print E-mail
Written by Dom Daley   
Monday, 03 October 2016 03:20

Once again the Black Heart is the venue of choice for this album launch from Role Models for their second album 'Forest Lawn', and, in order to offer up value for money, I doubt there is a finer line up anywhere in the country this fine evening, with four hot acts all with new records either just released or hot off the press awaiting release.


First up in the oxygen free room is Brandy Row, who, armed with just his guitar and voice, experienced some of the dreaded technical problems that take a couple of songs to get sorted: but once 'The Drifter' is performed after Brandy pulls out the guitar lead and wanders around the audience - which wins back any of the punters who might have been drifting as a result of the technical problems (something of a master stroke, and had he pre-planned it I'd hail him a genius) - from then on the captivated punters listened intently and gave him the respect his music deserved.


Brandy Row - Camden


When he played 'Hold No Shame' you could have heard a pin drop with the audience homed in on the singer songwriter as he spilled his heart out on the Camden stage it was excellent to see and hear.  Closing with the fantastic 'Crazy World' I can only see great things coming Brandy's way, as he’s certainly got that X Factor - the look and, most importantly, the songs, and there was never any question as to the guys drive and determination.  If you want to catch a piece of the action, then you'd be foolish to miss him later this year when he heads out with The Graveltones across the United Kingdom.


Next up were Manchester three piece The Empty Page, who also have a brand new record to promote - and tracks from 'Unfolding' got a fantastic reception from the audience in The Black Heart.


The Empty Hearts - Camden


Wearing their influences on their sleeve, it’s a direct contrast to tonight's opener Brandy Row; however, they also hold true the DIY ethos that is just one common thread that runs through tonight's bands.  Frontwoman Kelli is an engaging and passionate performer and what you see is what you get and she offers up everything in her performance and tonight is no exception. 


New single 'Big Wheel' is a great song that lets you know exactly where these guys are coming from and the interaction between Kel and Jim (on drums) is infectious and has an excellent impact on those watching and listening. The Empty Page are bullshit free and work hard at what they do and have the tunes to back it up as is proven on 'Deeply unlovable' which has the room swaying and floorboards shaking.


Following that was the most excellent power pop punk rock from the one and only Brijitte West & The Desperate Hopefuls who strutted their way through the set dropping tune after tune from their recently released album 'From NY With Love'. 


Jesus, you'd have paid ten English pounds to have had the privilege of seeing these cats alone - and the excitement was building as 'Close To Defeat' was an exquisite opener from this most excellent of bands.  With a more than generous smattering of songs from the excellent new album songs like 'We Didn't Make It' stood shoulder to shoulder with the cream of the first album, like 'Mess Of Myself' as Ms West had the Black Heart in the palm of her hand as they turned in a headliner set no question about it!


With a fantastic version of 'Don't Wait For Tomorrow', it only left time for a trip down memory lane as NY Loose's 'Detonator' was a brilliant way to finish the set, and I - along with everybody else it would seem - can't wait until the next time we can see Brijitte West & The Desperate Hopefuls take a stage and entertain us to such a high standard. Simply sublime!


With it so far turning out to be every bit as good a night as you could want, it was time for Role Models to take the stage, as the room was now sufficiently lacking in oxygen and bodies were rammed into the venue: and the headliners weren't about to waste time and mess this up. There was business to contend with – and, following those three previous performances, this was a tall order; but opener 'Got No Time' showed their intent, and with the band not having too much time to think about this they just smashed the bar that had been set for the evening.


Role Models - Camden 1 

On with the rock and roll show as songs from 'The Go-To Guy' stood shoulder to shoulder with 'Forest Lawn' and the audience howled in appreciation as the set unfolded.  'Radio', 'Wanted To Be Wanted' and 'The Lights On Your Road' showcased the album and were greeted with huge enthusiasm and proved that the band were worthy headliners. With an undercard of such strength how a line up this strong isn't selling out the O2 sized concert halls is a mystery.  


The good people of London town that had ventured out were witnessing a masterful performance, as the band sounded tight and were visibly enjoying their time on the stage as it fed back and fore between audience and band. As the night drew to a climax, 'I Ain't Lucky' made way for   'Reality Holiday' and 'Saturday Night Sailor' from 'Go-To Guy', which were greeted like the returning prodigal sons, as the audience, who were having the best of times, judging by the sweat drenched smiles, were singing along. 


With only time for one more it was an opportunity for former six stringer Sully to get up on stage and sing along on the suitably raucous 'This Eventually Leads Nowhere'… and then it was done, as the audience howled for more, this night was done and dusted. A great time was had by all, No egos, just four great performances by four bands who live and breathe rock and roll.  Role Models did themselves proud in putting on such a great night’s entertainment and turning in a performance that was fitting for such a great album.  Rags, Dan, Simon and Nick I salute you… now, when can we do it all again?



Brandy Row – Dom Daley

The Empty Page - Ila Desai (

Role Models - Thai Ana Cervi