Heavy Kingdom

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" /> Wino & Conny Ochs – LIVE: The Black Heart, London 2012 – Jukebox:Metal Jukebox:Metal | Wino & Conny Ochs - LIVE: The Black Heart, London 2012 review
Wino & Conny Ochs - LIVE: The Black Heart, London 2012

Heavy Kingdom Tour
March 24 (15:15-16:40)
Capacity 100

The coming together of relentless doom metal legend Scott "Wino" Weinrich and German singer/songwriter Conny Ochs produced one of the best albums of the year so far in the all-acoustic Heavy Kingdom, which they have now followed up with the highly limited release of the EP Labour of Love, recorded as part of the 'Latitudes' series of releases from Southern Records.

Their short tour supporting both releases is also a very limited affair, playing 36 dates and all to very small crowds in intimate venues, or low down on festival bills like Roadburn and Doom Over Leipzig. For the London show the surprising step of playing in the middle of the afternoon was taken before the tiny upstairs room at The Black Heart was turned over to a free-entry night forming part of Desertfest.

Up first were Jake Harding (vocals) and Fredrik Rojas (guitars) from London-based sludge band Dead Existence showcasing songs from their new acoustic blues side-project The Death Letter. Their melancholic, musically complex songs were the perfect warm-up for Wino and Conny, and the response every track received proved they suited the small audience. Although their debut EP was yet to be released, they stuck mainly to originals, adding just one cover at the end (Monster Magnet's Powertrip) and have undoubtedly piqued the interest of those who were there by doing so.

Wino and Conny, after about half an hour of tuning and setting up of their own minimal gear, entered to an expected warm reception which mostly seemed to come from Wino fans. Familiarity with the Heavy Kingdom record appeared a little thin on the ground, but the pair delivered an energetic set which, although not as long as expected at just 85 minutes and with a few dropped songs from the planned setlist, did manage to take in everything from the album besides Townes Van Zandt cover Highway Kind (instead performing Rake, another Van Zandt track), plus several other songs both original and covers.

They added in most of the proper songs from Labour of Love (covers of Chris Whitley's Dirt Floor and Crosby, Stills & Nash classic Find The Cost of Freedom - segued onto the end of Wino's Hold On Love from Adrift - plus original Isolation). Tracks understandably left out were the instrumentals and the early version of Labour of Love itself, which was re-recorded for the album, another Van Zandt cover Nothing, but also, sadly, the excellent Wino-sung original Judas.

All of their own material and recorded covers were augmented by Wino songs Adrift and Old And Alone, both from his album, and Manifesto from his limited split single with Scott Kelly, plus Angels And Demons from Conny's solo album Raw Love Songs, and brand new song Crystal Madonna, which they had written while on tour.

The only accompaniment employed throughout the show besides the two voices and two guitars was the occasional use of a small bass drum, which Conny stomped on with particular enthusiasm for his own Angels And Demons, and when both men sang acapella harmonies, those were the moments when the reason why they felt they could write songs together attained incredible clarity.

The pair play their songs with an authentic belief in them, and a real love for the covers they choose, enjoying being true musicians. They play and sing together like they've been doing it for far longer than a year or so, and genuinely seem to possess that elusive "chemistry" the most successful cooperations always claim to have found.

Once this tour finishes Wino will be out fronting Saint Vitus, supporting their new album Lillie: F-65, and in June a new tribute album to Townes Van Zandt, which is split three songs apiece between Wino, Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till, is released. What Wino's next move after that will be is still unknown, but with so much activity, it might be a little while before he is able to follow-up with a second album and tour with Conny. Hopefully not too long though.

“ play their songs with an authentic belief ”

The Death Letter setlist: Tainted Wisdom / The River And The Road / When I Go / Dirt In The Ground / Down And Out / The Wrong Way / Powertrip

Wino & Conny Ochs setlist: Somewhere Nowhere / Labour of Love / Dust / Dark Ravine / Adrift / Heavy Kingdom / Rake / Angels And Demons / Old And Alone / Traces of Blood / Crystal Madonna / Dead Yesterday / Here Comes The Siren / Hold On Love/Find The Cost of Freedom / Manifesto / Vultures By The Vines // Isolation / Dirt Floor

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2012, Acoustic/Folk, Gigs, ,

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