While the East London trio that is Berries are definitely capable of sending the adrenaline pumping with some heavy riffing, and their singer and guitarist Holly Carter shows herself adept at the odd bit of Van Halen-style hammering on, they have something even more powerful up their sleeves.
Songs. Loads of songs, as it happens. They’re here, squeezed in somewhere between the record racks and the counter of Flashback to promote their new four track EP, all four tracks of which are strong enough to be stand alone singles. In front of 50 or so friends and fans – almost everyone here seems to know at least someone in the group personally – they open with a sizzling rendition of ‘Dangerous’ from the EP. Holly’s been suffering from a chest infection, we’re told a couple of songs in, but she’s putting a brave face on it for sure, vocals coming through loud and clear, occasionally harmonising with bassist Lauren Cooper when a chorus really needs nailing down.
Recent singles ‘Lies’ and ‘Silent’ arrive midway through the set and are among the best received numbers, great examples of their approach – short, sharp and with all the unnecessary fat snipped off the arrangements.
But it’s the EP’s last tune ‘Wits’ that impresses this writer the most tonight, mainly for the way the band ups the dynamics, switching gears from tight, almost reggae style skank to widescreen thrash and back again, drummer Lucie Hartmann flexing her skills with the sticks and leading the charge with confidence.
But they save the very best to last, a song called ‘ we think ‘ ‘Waiting’, arranged around a truly original, snakelike bottom E string riff from Holly’s guitar, it’s surely a future classic. Chest infection or not, Berries sound in pretty rude health to us.