De Staat: Our Black Heart, Camden – live review

De Staat
Our Black Heart, Camden
23rd September 2013

Dutch 5-piece De Staat began a three night Camden residency, following the release of third LP I_CON. Willow Colios went to check them out. Judging by this performance he might check out all three nights!

I hear the walls vibrating as I approach the brilliantly named Our Black Heart pub. I’m late and yet somehow just in time to witness the first of a three night residency for the Dutch band across the next four Mondays. (Comedian Josie Long is sandwiched in the middle Monday)

I recognize the song too, the intense bass line can only be from Sweat Shop off the band’s 2011 LP Machinery; An album that sounds like it was recorded live (it practically was, in the studio) and that I played to death on my erstwhile radio programme. And that’s the biggest reward tonight. De Staat are as good live as on their albums, perhaps even better than they are on record.


This is the most dynamic, fresh and exciting performance from a band I’ve seen all year. A five-piece from Nijmegen, they have just released their 3rd LP in The Netherlands, currently riding high at number 2 in the Dutch album chart. Nothing this exciting is troubling the UK top 40 at the moment let alone the top 10.

Lead single Devil’s Blood is just a bit too cool to be a Bond theme but it has spy movie soundtrack potential and they later delve into the vault for the first LP’s The Fantastic Journey of The Underground Man making it sound like a heavier, but still funked up Prince track.


Singer Torre gets down into the audience and dances amongst them, the band expressing controlled violence all though the set. The drums are just pounding and addictive and the Korg synths are utilized to emmit all kinds of sounds from high pitched squeals to deep bass frequencies. I can’t really compare De Staat’s sound to anything, they are crafting their own, but vocally there is something of Soul Coughing or perhaps even Buck 65.

The venue tonight is not even half full but there’s a sense we are witnessing a band in peak form. Tight, relentless and on the up this room should be full by the third Monday.  The band clearly have this in mind when asking the audience to tear the place down, but not too much as they are back next week, before going into set closer Witch Doctor, where musically they do just that.

De Staat’s impressive sound could fill venues a lot bigger than this and I come out with ringing in the ears but dying for more. I’ll be back next week and you should too. This is too good to miss.


De Staat play Our Black Heart, Camden on Monday Sept 30th and Monday October 14th.

The new LP I_CON is out now (but why not buy it off the band themselves after one of the gigs) and you can checkthem out on their website and on their Facebook and MySpace pages.

All words by Willow Colios. More writing by Willow on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. You can follow Willow on Twitter @ShootTheSinger.


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