No-nonesense rock music.

A side-thought before we hit the review proper: people have no sense of rhythm.

Now, then. The Black Velvets. The Cockpit is already over half-full when this Liverpudlian foursome hit the stage – something of a nice change for a little-known opening act. However, it seems word has quietly spread, and the ‘Velvets have been gathering a rather impressive following. It doesn’t take Oxbridge intellect to see why.

They look and sound like a fiery collision between Jet and Audioslave, thumping out powerful riffs and screaming their no-nonsense rock and roll songs with attitude. The bass player looks like he’s going to fall over. The lead guitarist stands to the side of the stage looking hard. The drummer may combust at any minute. The singer must need a voice transplant after every show.

It’s simply phenomenal. The tracks comprising the blistering half-hour set aren’t anything special per se, but it’s so refreshing to hear something this refined, this powerful. There’s a trend that seems to state that upcoming bands have to be different to be worthwhile; but here’s the living antithesis. The Black Velvets are the precise opposite of originality. And it’s bloody brilliant.

The crowd rocks out, I think. Maybe they’re just all epileptic from the strobe lights. They’re not showing any sense of timing, so it’s hard to be sure.