Live Music Reviews


All our Live Music reviews are listed here in "blog" style. Just scroll down to find the rest of them.

Imogen Heap

posted 20 Feb 2010, 09:04 by Harry Cooke   [ updated 20 Feb 2010, 15:42 ]

Leeds Metropolitan
9th February 2010

by Amy Greene

Going to a gig at Leeds Met? Take a dozen door wedges*. More on that later.

When I heard I was going to see Imogen Heap I knew only her ubiquitous 'Hide and Seek' which at one time seemed to be on every American TV show going (The O.C., One Tree Hill, Grey's Anatomy) so wasn't sure what to expect from this gig. I duly listened to a little more on spotify  to try and get a flavour for her music and felt that there was no way a live performance could live up to these gorgeous but heavily produced tracks. How wrong I was.

Not only does her vocal sound even more heart rending live, she is an incredibly diverse performer, using an effects pedal to loop and layer up tracks with instinctive ease, there was a real sense of the 'liveness' of this event, something which I feel can be lacking from electronic music. She played a massive perspex piano, an organ, a range of interesting percussion instruments which were hung on an enormous tree and also had a DJ on hand to play tracks and beatbox. Heap has a quiet yet engaging persona on stage, and seemed utterly at home in her performance. She was happy to explain how the gadgets worked, that her wrists were miked up enabling her to go and play any instrument, for example, and how she felt about the recent sampling of 'Hide and Seek' (philosophical yet pragmatic about the profits, if you were wondering.)

I preferred the tracks with more bass which you could dance to but the quieter tracks were brilliant for showcasing Heap's voice which is something else entirely and needs to be heard live to be believed. Her recorded tracks hardly do it justice but now I've seen her I appreciate she is a very talented musician and songwriter as well as a vocalist. 

The visual spectacle of the gig was as impressive as the aural one and made use of projection, beautiful lighting and shadows from the aforementioned tree and this definitely added to the experience. Heap's stage set has obviously been carefully and expertly thought out, although I pity the soul who has to get it into a truck afterwards and put it up somewhere else the next day.

The only irritation of the evening was the venue, as the doors at the back of the venue were banging very loudly throughout the gig. This would be OK if you were seeing a louder band but was really annoying for everyone listening to someone sing a cappella or play the piano. So thanks very much for having me as your guest Leeds Met, but sadly I felt that your venue didn't really do justice to this performance, although your staff were very lovely without exception, especially the security man by the lighting desk who seemed really worried about the sound of the doors.

So go and see Imogen Heap live if you get the opportunity even if, like me, you don't know too much about her. She's an exceptionally talented performer who manages to be engaging and down to earth at the same time.   

*disclaimer, this may contravene fire regulations, so don't.

6.5/10

The Features

posted 19 Feb 2010, 06:25 by Harry Cooke

Proud Gallery Camden, London
13th February 2010

by Harry Cooke


Having an art gallery which doubles as a live music venue is a tried and tested way of showcasing new music; the attendees are duly interested in the bands who perform, but have come to hear something new and may not know who they are coming to see. This, along with the running order removed the feeling of a 'headline act' for the night but couldn't stop the brilliance of the band nestled in the middle slot (between "Life In Film" and "Stricken City") from shining out.

While the other bands are relative newcomers to the scene, The Features have been in existence since 1994. Hailing from a town near Nashville Tennessee, frequently lauded "the next big thing" by critics, but never quite gaining the appreciation and commercial success they warrant. It could be that their British influenced Southern Rock was before its time, or a rocky relationship with their previous label left them without the backing they needed.

The second crack at the whip given to them by signing as Kings of Leon's first project on their newly created label (Serpents And Snakes) could be the catalyst they need to be propelled to the big league. 

The set was short, as expected from a showcase night, so The Features crammed in plenty of tracks with masses of energy and a frenetic pace with confidence that only years of touring can bring. You felt that every band member gave everything and this translated to a fantastic reception from the now packed-out venue. Thanks to Matt Pelham's excellent vocals The Features can switch from heavier songs to much softer tracks effortlessly, having a keyboardist in the band helps to broaden the range of styles available and they utilise this well. 

 

One unexpected difference in the live set compared with the soon to be released album "Some Kind Of Salvation" was the lack of a saxophone. I didn't feel that this let the band down in any way in their live performance, but it changed the dimension of the songs, especially when the missing instrument is so recognisable.

 

I'm sure this has been said many times down the years, but if you get a chance, go and see The Features before they get big. With a US tour with Biffy Clyro and Manchester Orchestra (following their success backing Kings of Leon in the states), there is undoubtedly going to be more exposure for this gem of a band, and with anthemic excellence in the form of “Temporary Blues in their arsenal, this band ought to be around for a while yet.

9/10

Band of Skulls

posted 17 Feb 2010, 03:27 by Harry Cooke

Magnet Club, Berlin
17 January 2010

by Dörte Heilewelt

On the website of the venue – the small Magnet Club – they didn’t announced a support band for the Band of Skulls. Ok, it is no surprise that there was one but it got me by surprised that the Dukes of Windsor were so good. 

Dukes of Windsor are a 5-piece band from Australia who just moved to Berlin and will probably take over Europe in the nearer future. They are making a mix of Pop and Rock and some electronic stuff with catchy lyrics – I guess it is called Indiepop. It seemed as if they had a lot of fun onstage and so did the first few rows (even through they stood 3 meters away from that small stage). 

The singer Jack often made room for Oskar (guitar) and Joe’s (bass) dancing by standing on the edge of the stage - those two certainly needed the place for their dancing. Besides those three there were Mirra (drums) and Scott (Keyboard) on the stage, too. They played a rather long set for a support band and it wasn’t boring for a second. I hope I get the chance to see them live again very soon.

Whoever thinks of Heavy Metal or anything like that when he hears the name Band of Skulls couldn’t be more wrong. I had the same thought as well before I gave them a short listen and got my concert ticket straight away after the first listen. I liked that name. Matthew Hayward (drums), Russell Marsden (guitar, vocals) and Emma Richardson (bass, vocal) are making Alternative Rock with trances of Blues. 

Just like the Dukes the London based Band of Skulls played for the first time in Berlin. They and the audience seemed to enjoy themselves and each other. The audience was excited and dancing and when they played “Death by Diamonds and Pearls” it seemed as even the last one in the Magnet was on fire. It was a pleasure to watch Russell playing his guitar and how he look to Emma from the corner of his eye. He came to the edge of the stage over and over again while he played and it looked like he’d have loved to jump off the stage and dance with us. Russell’s and Emma’s voices sounded rougher and a bit more dirty than they do on the CD and that is great because it fits the songs so much more. 

The only damper on this concert was when Russell’s guitar broke shortly before the end and he had to repair it onstage. Something that can clearly happen but I wished that the other two members would have interacted with us a bit more while Russell repaired his guitar. And another guitar was the reason why they couldn’t play all of their songs – they left the guitar at home (or somewhere that wasn’t the Magnet). The Set was about an hour long and despite everything it was really good. 

7/10

Erik Mongrain

posted 12 Jan 2010, 09:29 by Harry Cooke

Fibbers, York

11th November 2009


by Jonathan Wilcox


Montreal-based guitarist
 Erik Mongrain returned to Fibbers recently having cancelled his last scheduled gig and following an appearance on the Jools Holland show on the telly. For those who don’t know he’s one of those “virtuoso guitarists” in the vein of Michael Hedges and Leeds’ very own Jon Gomm.

 

For this gig several tables have been put out in front of the stage for some reason, which resulted in a bit of a scrum to see Erik sat on the low stage. Not to worry, a bit of neck-craning from the side of the stage meant I didn’t miss too much.


Erik’s a softly spoken chap and much of his on stage banter was lost on the crowd due to the din coming from the back of the venue. It seems a bunch of people had decided to use Fibbers as a regular pub and talked loudly and drunkenly between themselves, paying no attention to what was happening on stage. Hugely annoying when you consider the delicacies of Erik’s playing. Not sure if they had been there to see the support act who I’d unfortunately missed (Erik was on stage by 9pm) but even so, a bit of common courtesy for the man himself and those who had paid to hear him not them wouldn’t have gone amiss.

 

Anyway, onto the music! Erik’s mainly famous for his lap-tapping playing style, several examples of which have huge hits on Youtube but there’s very much more to him that this. Drawing mostly from his new album “Equilibrium”, he kicked things off with “A Ripple Effect” which displayed his unique talent combining finger picking, harmonics, tapping and percussion to dazzling effect. Sometimes you swear you can hear two or even three guitars being played at once with the way he move around his fret board. You could see a lot of open-mouthed people when he was being especially clever – one girl was very much “lost in the moment”!

He’s occasionally joined onstage by a fretless bass player who brings a different dimension to some of the compositions, particularly “Alone In The Mist”.

 

Erik’s ramblings managed to raise several laughs – especially his crack about his disastrous internet relationships – but I got the feeling he was a bit disappointed by the vibe in the venue. The constant chatter from outside the huddle of people watching him was very distracting. Despite this Erik was very entertaining and requested that if we wanted to have an encore we’d actually have to clap for it – not one of this false encore business. We duly did and he ambled back on stage to perform his “hit” "Airtap!" from his first album “Fates”, which he’d done on Jools Holland a few nights earlier. It was as awesome as last time I saw him do it and really displayed what this guy can do with a guitar. A friend who was with me commented that he probably should have done a bit more of this as those who are not totally familiar with his work may have found that the gig dragged a bit, with the constant re-tuning and quiet tunes. A good point, but again I suspect the atmosphere of the gig may have sapped a lot of his enthusiasm. I hope I’m wrong but if Mr Mongrain comes back to York I hope he gets the crowd he deserves or plays a more intimate venue.


6/10

Kevin Devine - Berlin

posted 18 Dec 2009, 05:06 by The Editor

Privatclub, Berlin
13th December 2009

by Doerte Heilewelt

I haven’t heard much of Kevin Devine before – only that he is good and some of the tracks on his myspace. Many of the songs there are recorded with a full band, since my concert ticket read "Kevin Devine (Solo)", I had no clue what to expect - except a singer/songwriter, a guy with a guitar in a small club. Actually there were two guys, with two guitars. 

The supporting act for Kevin Devine was the Swedish singer/songwriter Chikan. Even though both “just” sung and played guitar their sound couldn’t be more different. Chikan played some indie rock melodies with some playful interludes here and there. Songs like “All Your Friends Are Models” and “Electric Eels” come with intresting lyrics but unfortunately he wasn’t able to catch the whole club. He was missing that little extra that a singer/songwriter needs – maybe he was just a bit disturbed by all the mumbling in the back of the club. 

Kevin Devine has that extra. He started his set with the title song of his newest record “Brother’s Blood” (released by Big Scary Monster Records Company in the UK). This song is a mix of rock, folk and a bit of blues and makes you believe he is from the deepest heart of Nashville but he isn’t. He is from Brooklyn, NY. It was when he stepped back from the microphone and sung out loud on top of his lungs that I felt the intensity and honesty of what he sings.

Devine didn't come to wrap you up in his wonderful melodies and he won’t let you drift away. His lyrics are often of a very political nature. Even if you haven’t known them before it is not difficult to understand the words he sings – even for someone who usually never understands the words people sing on stage. His voice is clear and wonderful and sounds like he is eager to make you think – about modern politics, about changing yourself, about being a better person.

With songs like “Ballgame” and “I Could Be With Anyone” he enters melodies which are almost pop. Especially “I Could Be With Anyone” is a song with a strong hookline that will stuck in your head for a couple of days even if you have just heard it once. 
Devine doesn’t care for any music genre – he uses whatever he needs. Thats why we were allowed to hear everything from all-American folk to rock to pop on this magnificient evening. This becomes even more clear after you have listened to his “Brother’s Blood” record where he is supported by the The Goddamn Band

The only thing that was a bit disturbing was the noisy bar (cocktail shakers and mixers) in the back of the club. It seemed as if Devine was a bit disturbed by this as well since he made a comment on these strange noises on stage. Another very little thing that was quite disturbing to me was that he had to check is Blackberry for the setlist including turning around and go to the “back of the stage” (a rather small stage). This made the audience/Devine interaction a bit difficult at times.

Unfortunately the concert almost ended with Devine forgetting the words to the last song he played. Luckily he just played another last song for us. Despite that little mistake the audience was stoked in the end and applauded for minutes. Next time he plays in my town, I sure will be there again.

8/10

White Belt Yellow Tag + Morning Parade + Overreact

posted 27 Nov 2009, 05:01 by Harry Cooke

Fibbers, York

29th October 2009

 

by Vicky Miller


Hailing from 
Surrey, the now York-based Overreact opened up with some loud basslines and nasal, Brian Molko-esque vocals from singer Marcus Gilbert. “This song got played on Radio One a couple of times” Gilbert boasted from behind his huge, sweeping emo fringe before launching into Violent Eyes. They played a kind of indie-rock reminiscent of Feeder, occasionally slipping into a punk vibe and sounding slightly like an early Placebo. The drum parts were mostly unimaginative, although notably it was the drummer’s first gig with Overreact, and the pop guitar riffs became very repetitive after a few songs. Bassist Luca Cicero’s competence was probably this very young band’s saving grace tonight. 


Next up Essex based Morning Parade took to the stage with their chilled out indie vibes. Singer Steve Sparrow’s voice was high pitched, sounding a lot like Romeo Stodart from The Magic Numbers, and he seemed to wince a little with each line he sang. Morning Parade’s songs with their gently paced guitars and relaxed indie style had an introspective quality about them. There were some louder moments, the occasionally heavy intro but mostly the songs seemed to build up gently with the energy kicking in towards the end. 


As headliner’s White Belt Yellow Tag began their set, the crowd had begun to dwindle. The intro to their next single “Remains” sounded a little too much like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, but as the vocals kicked in the song quickly became their own. The guitar parts and drums were perfectly in time, although what would you expect as their live drummer is Tom Bellamey ex-The Cooper Temple Clause. It was at times difficult to work out whether vocalist Craig Pilbin was singing or simply shouting in tune. 


News” sounded like an epic of a song, with massive cacophony of riffs interspersed with gentle, ambient vocals. Halfway through the song descended into an energetic mass distorted guitars and energy, before reverting back into melancholic vocals set against quiet keyboard parts. During the last song, Pilbin’s strangled vocals were only just audible amidst the random bursts of noise and pulsating drums. White Belt Yellow Tag sounded repressed tonight, as if their punk energy was just waiting to burst out but never quite made it


Tonight’s show featured a decent line up with all three bands complementing one another with their varying takes on what would be generically referred to as ‘indie’. It’s a shame that the turn out tonight was slightly disappointing and the crowd’s reception, at best, average.

 

6.5/10 



Alexisonfire + Anti Flag + Four Year Strong + Ghost Of A Thousand

posted 16 Nov 2009, 02:40 by Harry Cooke

Leeds University Refectory 
Saturday 17th October 2009


by Joe Richardson 

I arrive in Leeds fresh from work and power march up from the train station to Leeds Uni arriving at the doors at ten past six. Even though the doors have only been open ten minutes 
Ghost Of A Thousand are already on stage and whipping the half full room into a frenzy with their rock and roll influenced hardcore. New single "Knees, Toes, Teeth" makes a storming appearance with it's pummeling riffs, driving beat and Tom Lacey's voice barking lyrics over it all. GOAT are also on a mission to teach the American bands on tour about a good bit of British politeness. Before "Running On Booze" Lacey asks the audience to split down the middle and, as the song starts, run towards to the person opposite and "shake their hand, give them a hug, squeeze a tit, what ever it takes". In all, another powerful, energetic and committed performance from Brighton's Ghost Of A Thousand.

One things for certain, 
Four Year Strong (pictured) have a tough act to follow but they pull it off. I will be honest, I haven't really heard that much of Four Year Strong before tonight but they certainly gained one new fan it the room. Four Year Strong do goofy, fun and uptempo songs that get the room bouncing along with them, in fact I think the only person with more energy is synth player Josh Lyford who is jumping around the stage and into the crowd from the opening song.

After a short break in proceedings that sees all the lights apart from the stage lights go out 
Anti Flag take to the stage and rip through a 50 minute set of breakneck anti capitalist punk in the mould of The Clash. So much so that towards the end of their set Justin Sane makes a passionate speech about how great it is to play in a venue that was host to a classic Clash gig before they launched into a cover of "Should I Stay Or Should I Go"Justin Geevers strained vocals fit the frenetic time signatures to a tee.Having never been a huge Anti Flag fan I now feel that I need to have a good listen to their back catalogue, but on this performance I certainly can see the appeal of the band.

What everyone is really waiting for is 
Alexisonfire. The Canadians have steadily built up a large following over the course of four excellent albums and numerous tours. Never afraid of a bit of hard graft Alexisonfire are a band with numerous live dates under their belts and their experience shows tonight as they create an atmosphere that closes in around you and carries you along through the hour and a bit that the band are on stage. They play a set mixed with old favourites as well as newer tracks taken from their latest album "Old Crows/Young Cardinals""We are The Sound" closely pips the newer "Accept Crime" sees the biggest crowd sing a long of the night and firm favourite "Boiled Frogs" sees the crowd at the front clamoring over each other as the circle pits really kick off. Stand out track from their new album has to be "Young Cardinals" which is aired tonight to a rapturous response.
Four albums into their career and 
Alexisonfire keep getting stronger and stronger.

8/10 


Flood of Red + Surprise…Fire + The Humour

posted 24 Oct 2009, 01:25 by Harry Cooke

FibbersYork

5th October 2009

 

by Vicky Miller


Wakefield
 based fourpiece The Humour opened up the night with some punk/ glam rock which evoked a highly stylised sound, similar to that popularised by the recent surge of American bands such as Metro Station and 3oh3. Camp singer, James Taylor, had a rather clean, non-descript vocal style and guitarist Matthew Bagley’s riffs were catchy and poppy, albeit slightly drowned out by Luke Richards, whose bass was a little too loud.

 

Promising the crowd “This next song you can mosh to,” The Humour went on to deliver much of what we had already heard with a very slight rock n roll tinge. Later, announcing “We are a positive band,” The Humour wowed the crowd with the lyrics “This world is a scary place, but I’m not afraid, so bring it on, bring it on,” repeated over and over. Their closing song One More Drink had a late nineties feel, reminiscent of Buckcherry but sadly lapsed into the kind of nah-nah-nah vocals which haven’t been used to great effect since the days of The Offspring’s Self Esteem. I cannot disagree that The Humour are a positive band and they exude poppy, feel good vibes. Their sound, however, lacks substance.

 

Next up, York’s very own Surprise…Fire took to the stage. They played a mix of melodic/ emo material which broke suddenly into energetic bursts of noise. Singer Josh Finn thanked the audience for their continuing support: “There’s a lot of faces here that we see at a lot of our gigs,” and also enlightened us about the stage lights- the red one is much hotter than the blue one, apparently.

 

Surprise…Fire’s final song Feet On The Ground was the heaviest in the set. From the chilled out intro the song quickly descended into some heavy guitar riffs, with interludes of quiet vocals from Josh Finn and loud backing vocals provided by guitarist Matthew Clarkson. Surprise…Fire received a good reception from the crowd, particularly in response to “Sweet as Fuck” a punk song with an overt 80s pop feel. It is clear these York based youngsters already have a very loyal, local following.

 

After a very long wait, Scottish sixpiece Flood of Red arrived on stage and launched immediately into a heavy set with some impressive vocals from Jordan SpeirsThere was no lag between the first two songs with one leading effortlessly into the next. There were some quiet, ambient moments during Flood of Red’s songs, juxtaposed against some heavy jamming, with Speir’s voice consistently powerful, and angry and throaty vocals provided by Dale Gallacher, the man behind the electro effects.

 

Flood of Red are a difficult band to categorise: heavier than punk but not heavy enough to be hardcore. They had an interesting sound: fuzzy guitars, a heavy bass, powerful singing and the added dimension of keyboard/ electronic effects. The songs from their album Leaving Everything Behind had a slightly poppier feel which briefly had the audience clapping along, whilst the songs from their debut EP featured fast paced punk guitars and heavy basslines with angry vocals from GallacherFlood of Red closed their set rather innovatively, descending into a rhythmic jam session with each band member hitting a drum simultaneously.

 

Despite the claps and cheers between songs, the band never really got the crowd going which is a shame as they played an impressive set. Flood of Red clearly have an incredible energy, plus an interesting and original sound, but for some reason tonight, York just was not very receptive to it.

 

7/10  


Newton Faulkner

posted 19 Oct 2009, 04:29 by Harry Cooke   [ updated 19 Oct 2009, 04:35 ]

York Grand Opera House
14/10/2009

by Harry Cooke

Autumn has arrived, although it feels like winter. York is shrouded in fog, penetrated only by the cold drizzle that I was completely unprepared for. Cold, wet and tired I took my seat in the impressive and warm surroundings of York's Grand Opera House and was instantly aware that I might fall asleep. I didn't know too much about Newton Faulkner before the gig, only being aware of "Dream Catch Me" and his cover of "Teardrop" by extensive radio play, I didn't know anything about Newton Faulkner himself.

I was soon to learn plenty as the man well known for his long dreadlocks likes to talk, and joke, and improvise between every track. I really like this about a solo performer as you get a sense of the person and adds to the performance. Faulkner includes the audience in his show as if you are sat around the campfire with him. I'd woken up and was laughing and enjoying the show without realising it.

Faulkner is an extremely talented individual, holding higher diplomas in music and he attended performing arts schools internationally, he is comfortable on the stage and clearly enjoys his music. Using the guitar body to tap rhythm beats while he picks the strings and simultaneously playing a Honer Organ with his feet (It's a pedal operated device, rather than a Jamie-Cullum style keyboard stomping). Faulkner is keen to emphasise that he is a one-man-band by placing cameras at his feet and displaying the pedals on a projector and demonstrating his guitar-body-drumming between songs.

Faulkner himself acknowledges that he is known for his covers, but before we hear his rendition of Massive Attack's "Teardrop" we get a burst of a very unexpected version of "No Diggity" by Black Street which I must admit I loved.

Faulkner impressed me with his talent and how engaging he was with the crowd. I'll be keeping an eye out for the next time he is around.

8/10



‎‏‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‏‎‎‎‎‏‎‎‎‏‎‎‏‎‎‎‏‏‏‏‏‏‏‏‏‎‏‎‏‎‎‏‎‎‏‎‎‏‎‎‏‏‏‎‎‏‎‎‎‏‏‎‎‏‎‏‏‎‎‏‏‎‏‏‎‎‎‏‎‏‏‏‎‎‏‏‏‎‏‏‎‎‏‎‏‎‎As Enemies Arise + Captain, Your Ship is Sinking + Valerian Swing

posted 15 Oct 2009, 01:06 by The Editor   [ updated 15 Oct 2009, 01:17 ]

The Cave, AmsterdamHolland

3rd October 2009

 

by Vicky Miller


Holland
’s very own Captain, Your Ship Is Sinking opened up what promised to be a musically innovative night. Their protracted, melodic instrumental opening was suddenly intersected by a high pitched scream as singer Friso Veltkamp’s vocals kicked in. Veltkamp threw himself around as if possessed by a demon as he screeched over the music. The guitar driven noise created by the band was reminiscent of the darker moments of Mogwai, yet the singer’s style was more akin to Converge or 3 Stages of Pain. These opposing ideals juxtaposed themselves within the music and Captain, Your Ship Is Sinking created a sound in this dark, intimate club that I can only say was truly unique. Each song intertwined long, instrumental interludes with distorted burgeoning guitar noise and sudden interruptions of manic hardcore energy.

 

Captain, Your Ship Is Sinking are clearly very accomplished as individual musicians. The sound they create is a kind of post-modern progressive rock fused with elements of grindcore. Although the aggressive vocals did seem to be a little random and disjointed from the music at times, their individual performances as musicians was quite exceptional. The unrelenting energy of “Noah Build Me An Ark” provided the set’s stand-out track, however each song they played really was as impressive as the lastTheir style was experimental and evocative and I can honestly say I was quite astounded by Captain, Your Ship Is Sinking’s performance tonight. 

 

As the second band, Italy’s Valerian Swing, took to the stage I couldn’t help but wonder where their singer was. As the band launched into their set, I realised there wasn’t going to be one. Now, although I’m a big fan of Mogwai and Godspeed! You Black Emperor, this was the first time I’d seen a band without a vocalist live and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Valerian Swing’s songs featured quiet elongated guitar intros which led into bursts of energetic noise and they made us of rapid tempo changes and start/stop techniques. Bass player Alan Ferioli clearly took himself very seriously as he danced around the stage, jumping on and off amplifiers

 

Valerian Swing’s songs are best described as ambient, instrumental randomness with most of their songs not seeming to reach a natural end; it was as if the members just stopped playing. It seemed strange, and impressive, that a noise so massive as theirs could be created by only one guitar, one bass and drums.

 

After seeing two support bands who were quite simply stunning, I was expecting big things from headliners As Enemies Arise, and they did not disappoint. This very young Dutch quintet exuded youthful, hardcore energy and anger from the moment they stepped onstage.

 

I had been forewarned by the band that singer Gideon Kessler was ‘a little bit sick today’ so his voice would not be up to its usual standard. This certainly was not evident in his performance tonight. His deep, throaty vocals were consistently powerful and as he screamed over some fast, heavy riffs, the band created a sound that was truly immense. Guitarists Johan Vesters and Simon Gloudemans showed off their technical abilities with some interesting and intricate guitar work, interspersed by the throbbing energy of bassist Jelle Swanen and drummer Dirk Van der Lockland.


As Enemies Arise’s songs tread that faint line between hardcore and metal. Their fast paced and intense sound is set against slower, heavier riffs in signature hardcore style, yet Kessler’s low and guttural voice is more evocative of metal vocals. Throughout their set, as the band head banged in unison, joked with each other between songs and exchanged cheeky glances, it was clear that they genuinely love what it is they are doing.

 

As Enemies Arise have everything the hardcore scene needs right now: youth, drive, anger and some serious talent. As their European tour draws to a close I can only hope that this band is going to get the recognition it deserves and I look forward to seeing them in the UK sometime soon. Their recently self released debut EP “Show Me That Smile offers a taster of this band’s capabilities and their live show tonight highlighted the band’s incredible energy and solidarity. For godsake, someone give these boys a record deal.

 

9.5/10 

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