It's a measure of the state of British metal that a cold night in January saw the Bullingdon almost full for a triple bill of fast-rising acts.
Truthfully, Tiger Cub veer more closely to indie territory, describing themselves as an 'indie band with a DIY ethic'. But the threads of Nirvana, the heavier end of the Stone Roses and the all-out riffing running through their set at the Bullingdon made them the perfect filling for the sandwich of full-tilt hardcore and prog-tinged post-hardcore that opened and closed this memorable night.
Employed To Serve hit the stage pretty much bang on eight o'clock and immediately stamped their mesmerising energy on the rapidly-growing crowd. They are the latest in a long line of outstanding UK hardcore acts, such as Gallows, Palm Reader and Heights, to produce music of world-class in a demanding and richly populated genre.
While the giants on whose shoulders they stand were criminally ignored by the mainstream, this time around bands like Employed To Serve are at least part of a movement with momentum. If anyone can break through, they are among the leading contenders.
Tracks from their most recent album, Greyer Than You Remember, filled most of the set, with the title track and 'Bury Yourself (Deep)' standing out. But the showstopper was a new song, from the album roughly scheduled for release in May. 'Spend My Days' is blessed with a riff of pummelling weight, lifted with fearsome energy by Justine Jones' holy roar.
Tiger Cub followed, and were inevitably a little tame by comparison, at least to begin with. But the three Js – Jamie on vocals and guitar, Jimi on bass and James on drums – rapidly claimed their own territory, building their set to a shimmering crescendo with 'Destroy' and 'Migraine'.
And then came Black Peaks. Having proved themselves well worthy of the Wembley stage as support to Deftones, they have caused rising ripples of excitement across the music media, and gained national radio airplay.
Their set for the Bullingdon was a full presentation of their current Statues album. Traces of Muse and even Yes colour their post-hardcore savagery, perhaps giving a die-hard purist pause to question their metal credentials.
But what old rockers called metal and prog is not what the current scene is about. Bands like Black Peaks, inspired by Tool, Mastodon and even Pantera, are synthesising a genre of breathtaking breadth and technical perfection which still manages to generate moshing mayhem.
Leading the charge for Black Peaks is frontman Will Gardner. He and his prodigiously gifted bandmates have crafted a suite of magnificent songs, but they are defined by a vocal performance which few rock singers from any era could emulate. Drawing on his classical training – he sang with the Glyndebourne company in his formative days – Gardner blends hardcore screaming with full metal roars, interspersed with passages of lyrical sweetness and fluting falsetto.
On the album, it's remarkable. To see it live is an experience of enduring emotional power. At the end of it all, you were left wondering how the Bullingdon could contain something of such immense artistic ambition. But since all three bands are likely to be playing far larger venues before long, we should be grateful to the dear old place for having the vision and good sense to present us with such a stunning night out. Long may it continue to do so.