Gig Review: Mountain Caller / Morag Tong – The Black Heart, London (29 May 2021)

This show was originally scheduled to take place in November 2020 to coincide with the release of the band’s debut album Chronicle I: The Truthseeker but due to various pandemic-related reasons we had to wait until 29 May… but it was totally worth the wait.

This was my first gig at The Black Heart since late-2019 and it was so good to be back. There was a point when I thought I might never walk through those doors again, but they successfully reached their £150,000 crowdfunder target in March which allowed them to re-open on 17 May. Currently all gigs are limited capacity and socially distanced, but the venue has done a great job of making up some benches that keep with the overall vibe of the place and the set-up works really well.

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After enjoying a lovely cold pint downstairs at the bar (pre-booking is required) I headed upstairs to the venue for a much-needed dose of in-real-life music. First to hit the stage were psych doom four-piece Morag Tong. Perhaps it was the fact that I hadn’t been to a live music show in over a year, but my god the bass was something else (in a good way). Pints of beer vibrated off shelves and onto the floor as if they were keen to start their own mosh pit. It was loud and heavy and it was excellent, albeit a shock to the system after so long spent in the quiet of my home doing jigsaws. I really enjoyed Morag Tong’s sound and they were the perfect opener for the evening. It was also an interesting change to have only the drummer on vocals.

As this was an album-release show, Mountain Caller played their debut album Chronicle I: The Truthseeker all the way through in its entirety, with each song met with huge cheers from the crowd. The album may only be six tracks long, but the songs are each an expansive proggy post-metal journey and so their set felt far from short. I have been listening to the album a lot while working from home so it really was a pleasure to hear it performed live and in real life just a metre or so from my face. This is the live music experience I had been missing for 15 months.

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After they had played through Chronicle I: The Truthseeker, Mountain Caller treated us to a completely new and as yet untitled new song which was as epic as one might come to expect from the band. They then finished their set with “Beyond This Black Horizon”, the first single from their forthcoming EP Chronicle: Prologue (out 9 July). Chronicle: Prologue (as its title suggests) is a prequel to the album and if the first single is anything to go by it will be fantastic. “Beyond This Black Horizon” is now available wherever you stream your music, and the vinyl can be pre-ordered from here.

New to Mountain Caller? Check out the awesome video for “I Remember Everything”.

Photos by Katie Frost Photography

Mountain Caller: facebook | twitter | instagram | bandcamp

Morag Tong: facebook | twitter | instagram | bandcamp

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