As London is heating up like a furnace in the Sahara Desert for tomorrow’s potential record-breaking temperatures, what better way to spend a hot, humid evening in the box-room oven of London’s home of metal, Camden, and prime watering-hole Our Black Heart pub, in the company of California’s proto-thrashers and hardcore punksters, Zig-Zags.
Thankfully, there is a slight feel of air-con switched on, which makes all the difference as Zig-Zags deliver a set of sheer muscle, guts and excellence, which eliminates any notion of caring about any heat discomfort. They mix the big-four thrashers early days with the directness of DC hardcore punk’s frenetic, robust intensity. A gruelling tour this may be so far for the band – Jed begins a tirade of how tired they feel after a recent 15 hours’ drive has taken its toll, before being encouraged by interruption from bassist Caleb to just thrash on with the next song – but it has no negative impact on their performance tonight.
What underpins their power and fun-filled fury is how tight a rollicking unit they are. This is still in ample evidence despite the venue’s bracing volume bouncing around the room like a basketball powered by Duracell – Zig-Zags’ tightness, but off-the-rails power and ferocity, still excels.
It is the songs from their third and current RidingEasy records release, They’ll Never Take Us Alive, where the quality uplift beams relentlessly louder and brighter. ‘The Shout’ is a masterclass of garage thrash pummelling; ‘No Way Out’ is a head-on Black Flag banger. But ‘Fallout’, packing in all the legendary thrash pioneers into one five-minute knockout punch is immense, ending their set before a two-song encore, with the gloriously titled ‘Punk Fucking Metal’ proving every bit as banging good as the name suggests.
With a different line-up for each of their three albums to date, you feel you have-to catch Zig-Zags when you can. This is a perfect time to do so, as this power trio are firing on all cylinders to only increase the heat, fusing punk fucking metal in exemplary style. Zig-Zags at their worst are damn bloody good; at their best, enormously exhilarating.