The Picturebooks with support from Jonny Halifax and the Howling Truth 10/5/19

True grit and talent in it’s purest form at work 10/10

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Words and photos by Rebecca Bush

Its a glorious sunny day today and sat on the train travelling to Camden’s Underworld it seems a perfect fit for tonight’s gig. The excitement is high I’ve never seen The Picturebooks perform live before but know that it’s going to be an immense evening given their reputation and the buzz around this tour run.  

Thankfully tonight goes ahead as planned after the duo had to take a break in the tour earlier in the week due to sickness, forcing them to cancel their show in Newcastle, however they were back on the road two days later for their Manchester and Bristol shows and then onward to London.

Colour photo of Jonny Halifax sitting with a slide guitar on his lap with a microphone in front of him. He's wearing blue jeans, a black shirt and a red wide brimmed floppy hat. He is looking down at the guitar with his long hair falling slightly forwards past his long beard

Starting off proceedings tonight is a solo Jonny Halifax and the Howling Truth, usually a duo they have had to downsize due to limited space – there are a lot of instruments in the house tonight.

 Singer Jonny Halifax – previously a solo artist by the name of Honkeyfinger and therefore no stranger to performing alone – takes to the stage and situates himself amidst the array of effects pedals and instruments which form a sort of musical Aladdin’s’ cave around him and without further ado we are catapulted into his world of slide guitar and psychedelic blues. There is little interaction between him and the audience but you are drawn in completely to his world , and without really realising it , its very much a subconscious connection to the music and you are along for the ride.

I loved the whole busker vibe , just real and gritty and all about the music! If you get the chance its definitely a show worth checking out. 

Jonny Halifax full photo gallery on The Metal Report’s Facebook page

Jonny Halifax Set List

  1. (Got This) Rage
  2. Wiseblood
  3. Stormbringer
  4. Difficult Man
  5. The Mountain
  6. 21st Century Man 

Watching the stage set up take shape for The Picturebooks the atmosphere is full of excited anticipation and as I turn to look behind me the room has filled to what seems to be full capacity and it’s definitely buzzing!

They take the stage to riotous applause and singer Fynn warmly greets us all grinning from ear to ear clearly made up to be playing a headlining show here increasing venue size from previous London shows like the one they played at Islington’s The Lexington in 2017. 

Photo of FYNN CLAUS GRABKE of the picturebooks singing into a microphone. The photo is very dark, Fynn holds a microphone to his face and seems to be smiling under his thick beard. His hair is wet from sweat and stuck to his face, on his hand holding the microphone he has two large rings.


Right from the start they play and perform to perfection. Opening with ‘You can’t let go‘ its immediately astounding that a duo can create such a full and rich palette of sound. I have goosebumps listening to Fynn’s rich and gritty vocals, and relieved that whatever ails him is definitely not affecting his ability to deliver. Second song ‘I Need That Oooh‘ from 2017 release ‘Home Is a Heartache‘ has the whole room in motion, Mirtschink’s unique drumming style creating a beat you can feel run right through you it’s quite the experience.

 Their set is predominantly made up of tracks from latest record ‘The Hands of Time’ which is a total triumphant work of art and a smattering of other numbers from their back catalogue. 

Fynn takes a moment to explain that he is still sick and has dosed up on painkillers in order to perform tonight – and I know I can speak for the whole room that we are beyond glad that the show has gone on.

Watching the twosome perform is something to really marvel at. Their dynamic expressions , intricate guitar work and immense drumming diversity show that there is true grit and talent in it’s purest form at work here. The pair emit such a positive vibe and have such a wonderful message of positivity and living in the moment , the room is crowded and it’s hot in here tonight but there is a totally happy and elated feel here and we are all very much living in the now. 

Working his way through the set list, changing guitars often and turning his hand to the piano too, Fynn is dynamic and expressive drawing in the crowd and interacting with them throughout. Its all an effortless and seamless transition that works incredibly well. Personal favourite of mine ‘Howling Wolf‘ from the new album is a particular highlight along with ‘The Rabbit and The Wolf‘ from 2014 Album ‘Imaginary Horse‘ and sing along (and stomp along!) ‘Your Kisses Burn Like Fire‘.

The whole set really was immaculate, the slower paced and gentler moments perfectly placed and taking you on a real journey lifting hearts and spirits along the way!

Photo of PHILIPP MIRTSCHINK of The Picturebooks carrying a bass drum and playing it. He's wearing a light brown sleeveless gas station style shirt which shows off his wet, sweaty tattooed arms. His beard and long hair are also soaked with sweat; his hair sticking to his face.

Rather than leave the stage and participate in the farce that is the moment we all call out for the obviously inevitable encore – Fynn takes a moment to talk to the crowd and express his gratitude for their final UK show of this run being such a success. The show ends in a wonderful crescendo that is ‘Zero Fucks Given‘ with Phillip joining Fynn centre stage wielding a big bass drum and throwing himself just as completely into this performance as he does sat at his kit, the whole room is in complete unison , fists pumping the air singing along and stomping til we dropped!

I, for one, can’t wait for them to return so we can do it all again. 10/10 – MUST see.

The Picturebooks full photo gallery on The Metal Report’s Facebook

The Picturebooks Set List 

  1. You Cant Let Go 
  2. I Need That Oooh
  3. PCH Diamond
  4. Seen Those Days 
  5. Fire Keeps Burning
  6. Wardance
  7. Lizard
  8. Howling Wolf 
  9. Learn It the Hard Way 
  10. The Day The Thunder Arrives
  11. Rain
  12. Electric Nights
  13. The Hands Of Time 
  14. The Rabbit and The Wolf 
  15. Your Kisses Burn Like Fire 


  1. Cactus 
  2. Zero Fucks Given 

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