The inner city of London had a thriving community of heavy rock/metal venues. A place metal heads could congregate, air guitar, passionately show the horn signs and headbang their worries away. Back in the day we had the infamous Ruskin Arms in Manor Park, The Standard in Walthamstow and the Island in Ilford. Three venues packed with local headbangers. Now, the Ruskin Arms is a gastro pub, the Island a banqueting suite, and the Standard is waiting to be turned into affordable flats for locals who cannot afford them.
There’s no local venue for a DJ to practise their set, old school metallers to enjoy their Red Stripe while air guitaring to Judas Priest, or headbang to Sabbath. No place to watch local unsigned bands live. The Standard was a great venue for battle of the bands, unsigned acts or to witness a band about to break out a new record. I remember the night Rock Bitch sold that venue out. I do believe Biohazard played there in their early days.
But is this about to change?
Right under my nose, a new scene has opened in Leytonstone, East London. The Plough and Harrow pub once owned many, many years a go by ex-England manager Terry Venables, has another room – a room called Sinbin. Once a month on a Saturday evening, Sonic Rebellion have a night for metal heads to go somewhere local, somewhere to wear pirate hats and band t-shirts, and share their passion of this music.
The evening starts at 8pm on the dot as music blares out, which is how it should be. Two bands perform later in the evening, but as with any good nightclub the opening hour or so is pretty dead. A couple mill around. As the music gets heavier, the clientele grows. More black-wearing ladies and gentlemen enter the scene…I love this sight.
The DJ blasts out Stone Temple Pilots’ “Sex Type Thing”, Sepultura’s “Nomad”, Pantera’s, “Walk”, Testament’s “Disciples of the Watch”, Type O’ Negative’s “Be My Druidness” plus Megadeth’s “Skin O’ My Teeth”… and much, much more.
The first band on tonight are a Moshville Times Band of the Day, Dirty Falcon. The three-piece with blasting guitar riffs, heavy drumming and a vocalist who crashes ear drums with loud heavy tunes provide an impressive half an hour set, loud and ear splitting. They throw out songs such as “Chicken Foot”, “Spitting Feathers”, “Devil Cares” and “Just What You Think You Were” while the revellers headbang and air guitar with a blow-up guitar.
Sonic Rebellion’s a great idea. Their DJs are experts of the genre and are part of the revolution of this local venue, with a potential for gathering the masses. Kevin Costner was told that if he builds it they will come, the guys at Sonic Rebellion have built something for the people to come to…. and they’re coming. With the help of acts like Dirty Falcon.
And also headliners Slave Steel, a four-piece thrash metal band. In 2008, the band formed in Rome, Italy. After a few line-up changes, Slave Steel settled and came to London in the middle of 2015. They crash onto the stage with their heads swirling in unison. The power of their sound could wake the dead in a nearby cemetery.
Spread the word of a metal club playing metal music until the early hours of the night. It’s local, but unlike the League of Gentlemen this isn’t a local club for local people, it’s a local club for everyone. It’s safe, the sound is loud, the people are friendly and there’s another next month.
Sonic Rebellion: facebook