The Subways at Shepherds Bush Empire review

Posted on 13 May 2012
By Lara Cullen
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Hertfordshire trio The Subways closed their UK tour at Shepherd’s Bush Empire. They kicked off with an explosive version of “Oh Yeah” which promised great things for the night ahead.

Billy and Charlotte crashed and scissor kicked their way around the uncluttered stage while the fans went just a little bit crazy.

It’s unexpected to see the band have retained such an intense and devoted fanbase in spite of never having really fulfilled the hype or promise generated by their first album.

Sadly for those who weren’t Subways superfans, there didn’t seem to be anything to suggest that their standing in rock n roll fame circles might change for the better any time soon.

You can’t fault the energy that Charlotte, Billy and Josh put into their live act, but frankly the tunes don’t have enough about them back it up. Most likely, to any Subways novices, musically it all would have felt a bit “samey” and somewhat tired.

Fortunately, on Thursday Subways-novices were massively in the minority and those packing out the venue loved it. New material from the latest album Money and Celebrity got a good response.

“Rock N Roll Queen” made an appearance mid way through the set resulting in a massive mutual love-in between band and fans which was quite endearing.

As an aside it’s always admirable when a band have the confidence not to leave their biggest hits to the encore at end of the night. Last night’s closing honour went to “It’s a Party” and by then, for the Subways superfans and for the band alike, that’s exactly what it was.

Earlier in the evening second support band, the Swedish “Royal Republic” were interesting for a song or two and then faded into our unconsciousness whilst openers “Turbowolf” blasted our brains to smithereens.

Exuding psychadelic ear-bleeding rock, Turbowolf oozed cool from every sweaty pore. We’d boldly argue that this band should have been headlining and it’s only a matter of time and more material to allow them to fill a longer slot that stands in their way of headlining these venues.

Turbowolf are going to be playing Dot To Dot, Download and 2000 Trees among a series of other festivals this summer so if you get a chance, we’d recommend checking them out.

Words and pictures by Lara Cullen.