Desertfest had well and truly arrived in Camden by 1pm on Friday afternoon. The road outside The Black Heart was closed, the beers were prepped and the masses were already descending on the area. Compared to last year’s event where the first few bands on the Friday struggled due to most punters turning up till much later in the day, Torpor (9/13) had no such issues as they packed out the intimate Black Heart to a point there were people halfway down the stairs. Luckily the band were able to reward those salivating for the first riffs of the day, with heavy, crunchy guitar work dominating throughout.

Moving across the road to The Underworld, the maniacal Canadian trio Dopethrone (11/13) were given a hero’s welcome as they tore through tracks old and new with calculated precision. Front man Vincent displays a phenomenal stage presence, with neck and head movements that can only be described as crow-like - a motion which strangely adds to the venomous delivery. Also you haven’t seen a weird cover live, until you’ve seen Dopethrone perform Bill Withers’ Ain’t No Sunshine, complete with crowd surfing fanatics. An excellent performance which pretty much laid down the gauntlet for the rest of the bands that afternoon.

The day’s Main Stage opened up with Doom veterans Floor (10/13) who from the off delivered mind bending levels of heavy. Right back to the bar in the Electric Ballroom you had heads banging in trance-like sync because that is what Floor do - they suck you in and just pummel you with riff after riff. Drummer Jeff Sousa probably made the biggest impact though, as his tight playing and technical prowess dictated the power flowing out of the amps. The band do certainly have a bit of a cult following, many of which were down the front today, but with performances like this, their fan base will continue to grow as it has done since they reformed.

Later in the evening the hometown heroes Orange Goblin (12/13) put on a show which truly could have been in a headlining slot. As many of you will know, on record Orange Goblin are a good band, but live? Live they are absolutely stunning. They envelop so much of what a live performance should be about, creating a stunning party-like atmosphere which tonight just didn’t drop for a single minute. The towering Ben Ward put on a front man clinic, engaging with the crowd brilliantly whilst stomping around The Electric Ballroom stage with a high level of command. As a unit they all looked to be enjoying themselves massively, drinking in the fervent crowd reaction as they played tracks from across their 20 Year career, with the closing Red Tide Rising creating absolute carnage.

Whilst everyone was still catching their breath after Orange Goblin, tonight’s headliners Red Fang (12/13) began setting up the stage, and as soon as they threw themselves into the set the whole place exploded. Red Fang have a good relationship with the London crowd, and Camden in particular, which absolutely showed from the first note struck. Each of their three albums were covered pretty evenly in the set, with crowd favourites Dirt Wizard, Malverde, Throw Up and Crows In Swine stirring a particularly huge reaction. Another key part of the show, which certainly seemed to make the four on stage very happy, was the level of feedback generated from the band giving a couple of new tracks a whirl. The tracks slotted in perfectly with some of the older favourites, which has certainly created a bit of buzz around the band’s next release. Closing off the set in familiar style Red Fang smashed through the brilliant Prehistoric Dog and proved yet again why they are one of the best live bands in heavy music at the moment.