Cancer Bats w/support from Smoking Hearts and Bastions – Windmill, Brixton – 21.04.12




Saturday afternoon (just gone) and I are sat in the fabulous local live music venue in Brixton known as the Windmill, the venue say themselves on finding the place “just as you think you are in the wrong road you will find it” anyway the strange thing about today is turning up to a venue at just before 4.30pm doors to see a band that had already by this point in the day played two shows and were about to start a third even before arriving!

My photographer and I (Lovely Linda) were sat towards the back of the venue when it dawned on me that just across town at Garage in Islington the Cancer Bats were halfway through their third shoe of the day just as the first support act “Bastions” here in Brixton took to the stage.

Bastions are a four piece alternative/hardcore/punk outfit from Anglesey in North Wales and of the genres I mention I am not entirely sure which of these fits best as they seem to float above all of these various streams making a rather impressive river with the sum. They bring to the stage a rare raw energy which I feel is lacking from a lot of the new starts out there at the moment, their first track “Visitant” is a fast paced aural attack and seems designed to wake up the newly arrived crowd, the guys are fronted by Jamie Burne on vocals who immediately fills the space that inevitably left at the front of a venue for a first support and makes it his own, leaping about all over the place, right up in the faces of all who have crept gingerly forward.

These guys continue to give it full throttle throughout their set with no let up in enthusiasm and at one point I did think that Jamie was going to pass out he sounded that short of breath, from where I was I could not see right into to the area at the front of the stage and thought that the guys were experiencing mic problems however I later learn that it appeared intentional with Jamie choosing to sing his lungs out directly at the crowd.  A fantastic opener for the night, perfectly suited to not only the line up but also the venue, kudos to whoever booked them on the bill. Bastions currently have their debut album “Hospital Corners” available through

Bastions are: Jamie McDonald – Guitar / Daniel Garrod – Drums / Jamie Burne – Vocals / Gareth Davies – Bass

Full Set List:  Visitant, In the Shadow of The Mountain, Soar, Augury, With Love, Grief Beggar, Island Living, Unwashed.

Overall 7/10

A brief respite, quick cigarette and grab another drink and it’s time for Smoking Hearts who are a five piece punk rock outfit and they quite clearly enjoy what they do, from the outset vocalist Ben is urging the growing audience to join in and in their first track “Destroy” insists and receives audience participation in the form of sing and repeat of “This is time to destroy!”. Their name is perfectly fitting for the way the put on their show which is a blistering light speed pace that would leave Smoking Hearts if you weren’t quite fit enough to keep up! Their second track “Off with your head” currently has a recently produced video which you can have a look at here:


Continuing to rip through their tracks determined to fit as much of their on stage party into the show as they possibly can we arrive at the sixth track of their set “Natural Disasters” and now hopefully assuming I got my notes correct and against the correct track this is the one starts with a familiar yet different guitar lick which one part of my brain is telling me is Guns ‘n’ Roses “Mr Brownstone” and the other part is saying don’t be ridiculous it’s nothing like it, anyway it’s certainly Slash-esq which means I am liking it, onto their final track of the night “Stomper” which see the band disembark from the safety of the stage and proceed to take whatever route they feel like throughout the crowd and the next thing I know there’s a guitarist over there and a vocalist here standing on the table downing a beer en-route and as I mentioned before it seemed like a Smoking Hearts hurricane had torn through the Windmill at break neck speed, fantastic live band, extreme presence and definitely worth checking out!

They currently have two albums available through iTunes.

Smoking Hearts are:

Nobba – Guitar, Barker – Guitar, Calvin – Bass, Matty – Drums and Ben – Vocals

Full Set List: Destroy, Off With Your Head, Benedict, Seatbelts, Blue Nun, Natural Disasters, Thrash b4 Gash, Stomper.

Overall: 7/10




You’d think that playing six shows in five venues all across the capital in one day would be nigh on impossible to facilitate on time and that delays would occur but by the time the Cancer Bats arrive at the venue it’s packed and it’s midway through Smoking Hearts set, Cancer Bats actually start 5 minutes ahead of schedule whilst people are still arriving! These people are clearly on the entire tour, I admire these diehards trooping round London following in the bands footsteps and as the guys are playing a mix up at each venue with no discernible set list so to speak I can see the attraction to the fans doing this.























Cancer Bats (who hail from Toronto, Canada) open up with “Old Blood” from their new album “Dead Set on living” and immediately the crowds goes quite a bit mental despite Liam questioning if they were awake and that the previous show was more mental which I personally feel is a nice little rouse to get as much out of this capacity crowd (who by the way are still streaming in) at the Windmill, next up “Scared to Death” from their third album “Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones” was greeted with a triumphant roar and by now the pub is so busy people are standing on chairs, benches and stool just to get a peek of the band.


At this point the set list gets the better of me and with the guys rushing off to the next venue after the show I didn’t get a chance to check it with them however there was a shout out to their first ever gig with a roof dog (those familiar with the Windmill will know what I mean and the ones who don’t go look at their listings here pick a gig and go and find out the legend of roof dog)  and needless to say the guys were going off big style, fans loving it, even had one proper mad crowd surfer I I know “Rally The Wicked” was definitely in there as was “Road Sick” from the new album and I think they finished with “Smiling Politely”. The new album “Dead Set on Living” is out now and well with parting with your hard earned for.


Cancer Bats are: Scott Middleton – Guitar, Liam Cormier – Vocals, Mike Peters – Drums and Jaye R. Schwarzer – Bass.


Full Set List (I think):  Old Blood, Scared to Death, Black Metal Bicycle, Fake Gold, Lucifer’s Rocking Chair, Road Sick, Rally the Wicked, Regret, Smiling Politely.

Overall: 9/10



Full Photo Gallery Here









All Photos courtesy of Linda Heron Photography for


About Dave Bedlam

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