Category: Gig Reviews

GIG REVIEW – DREAM STATE – BIRMINGHAM 11/02/18

Local Birmingham openers Mindstep were first on the bill. Mindstep are your average openers as shown by most of their performance. Yes, their vibrancy was average (excluding their amazing energy filled drummer – shoutout to them for lifting the set) but otherwise it was a lacked any audience-band reciprocity and was overall a little…dull. That’s not to say all of it was. Faster dance style tracks such as Peach lifted the set from time to time, but unfortunately the performance was brought down by a lack of stage presence from their main vocalist. A good voice, no doubt, yet it almost seemed as if they were afraid on that stage, whether it was a bad night or a bout of stage fright, Mindstep had their time and took it to a reasonable extent.

Next on the local support roster was pop-rock band Layover. With a clear definition between their old and upcoming material, it’s a clear factor of which ones the band prefer. While older tracks such as ‘Stage Fright’ had their moment, it was their upcoming unreleased material that truly stole the stage for Layover. A true overflow of emotion brought some of these fluctuating newer songs to life, and it’s something we can hopefully look out for in their upcoming studio recordings too.

Yet, if somehow you didn’t notice the bands before, you certainly did now. As Chapter And Verse flew through their set, with impeccably impressive vocal harmonies, insane stage presence and exuberant tracks to match, it’s clearly portrayed as to why they were chosen to support the full length of the tour. It’s rare to see bands consistently perform with vivacious power while including three part harmonies side by side, but through every track, be it ‘Slaves’ or even newer track ‘Magazines’, Chapter and Verse were there to get your attention, and that they did excellently.

Headliners Dream State are rising through in the world of rock, maybe not enough to sell out massive rooms, but enough to have a great performance and fan base to match. Dream State do not have the largest catalogue of material to hand, with one EP (Consequences) and two singles, meaning their set was a little shorter than one may hope, however, perhaps it was their insane performance from their opener ‘Burden’ to their ending track ‘Rebuild, Recreate’ that made time fly within the venue.

Interestingly though, it wasn’t just an average band, barrier, audience show. In a true Dream State fashion, vocalist CJ took off from the stage to sing fan favourites such as ‘White Lies’ amongst the crowd and in the pit, with some of the other band members joining along from time to time. It’s one thing to perform and sing to a few on the front row, but when you get fully integrated, singing their finale Rebuild, Recreate’ on the shoulders of a friendly mosher, you know you have a band who are there for enjoyment. This radiated throughout their set, and even though the set was a little short, there were more than enough highlights to fulfil the crowd, and either way, this is definitely NOT the last we will be seeing of Dream State.

Gig rating: 4.5/5

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GIG REVIEW – FIRE RED EMPRESS – WOLVERHAMPTON 20/01/18

Severn were first up and while you could tell it was their second ever show, they didn’t do as badly as one would have expected. Giving a few little awkward quirks such as ‘track 6’ and stumbling trying to be a frontman, the band did give it what they had and took advantage of their opportunity.

Scattering Ashes took their stage and held it…to an extent. As for many of the bands on this stage tonight, movement and energy did lack for a large majority of the night. Scattering Ashes were more polished than the band prior to them and helped get the audience a bit more intrigued.

Netherhall, like Fire Red Empress, had the advantage of playing a few weeks prior to this show on the same stage to a similar crowd. However, being a member down meant they had to perform an entirely instrumental set for their slot. The technicality and higher energy of Netherhall helped bring a more interesting side to an instrumental performance, giving it a further push and really making use of the creative technicality all three members use for their individual instruments. Yet, the worry with instrumentals is that sometimes they can drag on which sadly did seem to be the case at times in their set. Having to go completely instrumental which may not be instantly known is hard, so props to Netherhall for executing it well!

On the other hand, headliners Fire Red Empress took the stage with monumental exuberance, playing their full debut ‘Black Morphine’. Taking advantage of their recent set just a few months previous at Midlands Metal Crusade, the band clearly knew the stage and their audience well. While their set was longer than they may be used to, the band didn’t let that stop them as they threw 100% of their energy into killer tracks such as ‘Giants’ and ‘Dead Nature’.

Even on the slower side of things with ‘The Little Death’ there was still a full flow of eccentric energy and talent coming through. However, a lot of the songs sounded similar to their recordings, which isn’t an issue, but perhaps a little twist to some of the tracks could have embraced a more changeable side of the band and open them up to new stage ideas. Fire Red Empress are no strangers to playing Wolverhampton, and this was clear tonight. Make sure to stay tuned for our interview later this week!

Rating: 3/5

GIG REVIEW – PARAMORE – BIRMINGHAM 14/01/18

Paramore have shown a reinvention of themselves over the last year with the release of their 5th studio album ‘After Laughter’. Coming back to the UK on Tour Three, we went to check out how Paramore are living up to their new style.

For the supports, Mewithoutyou, the lasting impression they should have left sadly lacked. It appeared that for most of the set the drummer had more stage presence than the rest of the band themselves. While lead vocalist Aaron Weiss had some energy during some aspects of their set, the overall lack of energy and stage presence from the majority of the band sadly did bring their set down.

As expected, Paramore shot the start of their show through the roof with their hit single ‘Hard Times’, interestingly creating a crossover of Blondie’s ‘Heart Of Glass’ at the same time showing their impeccable ability to bring something new to their songs at any given time. Even pre-After Laughter tracks were given a little revamp with ‘Ignorance’ being sung partially through a black and white striped megaphone which actually made the song sound more authentic than originally.

Of course, one thing is clear through the newly inspired Paramore, they certainly love ‘After Laughter’ and rightly they should. Even mellower tracks such as ‘Forgivness’ and ‘Fake Happy’ were filled with a sense of ecstatic happiness, a sign they truly enjoyed their performance. Little surprises such as the live debut of ‘Pool’, singing older songs to other band members in ‘Hate To See Your Heart Break’ and a very cute dance from Hayley and drummer Zac Farro to Halfnoise’s (Zac Farro) ‘French Class’.

Another impressive factor of the show wasn’t just the groovy style of older hits such as ‘Ain’t It Fun’ and ‘Grow Up’, but also the stylistic approach to the visual aspects of the show. While some may see the band as having a more basic setup, their colourful lighting rig and big side screens helped amplify the resonating colourful vibe the band brought. Interestingly, through the newer tracks such as ‘Caught In The Middle’, the live filmed screens took an 80’s stylistic twist with colourful effects and filters to add a subtle stylistic choice to their show.

Yet not only have the band grown musically, but mentally over the years. While their new album ‘After Laughter’ shows a musical transformation, before the bands most popular track ‘Misery Business’, front woman Hayley Williams gave an apologetic notion, explaining that they aren’t the same band they were in 2007. Despite their less positive attitude to the track, the band took full advantage of its popularity, picking two fans to join them onstage to help finish the angst filled belter.

Even so, it seems that there are things in Paramore shows that do go unplanned. Be it Mewithoutyou’s vocalist Aaron giving a rather random massage to Taylor York in No Friend to Hayley Falling over Taylor during ‘Misery Business’, leading Taylor to go on an energetic fuelled frenzy around the stage after losing his place in the track.

Paramore may have grown up over the years, but the same energetic stance in their music still shines through, if not even further at this point.

Gig rating: 5/5

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GIG REVIEW – ROAM – BIRMINGHAM 13/12/17

Playing their penultimate show of their ‘Great Heights And Nosedives’ Tour, pop-punk band ROAM took to Birmingham’s O2 Academy 3 in Birmingham on Wednesday 13th December.

Stand Atlantic opened the show to a sold-out crowd of approx. 250 people. Despite the tour almost coming to a close and the fact the band had traveled Continue reading “GIG REVIEW – ROAM – BIRMINGHAM 13/12/17”

GIG REVIEW – COURAGE MY LOVE – BIRMINGHAM 21/11/17

Opening their tour in Birmingham are pop-rock band Courage My Love along with supports Chapter and Verse and local supports Mindstep and The Prophets. Continue reading “GIG REVIEW – COURAGE MY LOVE – BIRMINGHAM 21/11/17”

GIG REVIEW – YOU KNOW THE DRILL – BIRMINGHAM 31/10/17

 

Playing a special themed set in Birmingham’s The Sunflower Lounge were local pop-punk band You Know The Drill and their friends in Northshore and All The Rest. 

First up performing as ‘naughty noughties’ were pop-rock newcomers Northshore. With half of the band bringing their Halloween spirit coming as Mario and Luigi, they quickly understood the issues of playing in a costume. However, this wasn’t a major issue as Northshore brought their own style to well known hits such as Paramore’s ‘Misery Business’ and My Chemical Romance’s ‘I’m Not Okay’ as well as some of their own. Northshore definitely know how to play a gig, and even with limited stage space, brought the energy further into their playing to make up for their lack of space.


Next up on the Halloween themed show were Coventry rockers All The Rest in the form of pop-punk legends Blink 182. While All The Rest played some well known hits and had a clear audience connection, energy lacked and the performance sadly seemed a little off in terms of playing. The energy of the set sadly didn’t match but they did have their standout set moments such as their version of ‘All The small Things’ which had the highest energy and brought the set up.


‘Pop Divas’ You Know The Drill are the final headliners to the stage, arriving as their terrifying personas Of Santa, Ali G, a lawyer/barman and Andy Murray. It’s safe to say that You Know The Drill brought out their inner divas from the start, bringing a sassy energetic kick to hits such as Avril Lavigne’s ‘Girlfriend’ and Taylor Swifts’ ‘We Are Never Getting Back Together’. Even through their own tracks such as ‘411’ the diva fulled energy never halted.


Even with a smaller stage, You Know The drill used all the space they could get, moving around the space and using it it their advantage. The bands connection and involvement with the audience was clearly present, joking around (with literal jokes) and poking fun at their other friends in Northshore as well as their own band mates. Even with small tech issues such as Luke’s (Guitar) wireless running out of battery leaving the rest to improvise.


For a Halloween cover show, there was certainly a high energy and some pretty serious band covers going on. With costumes, a blow up ghost and some inner divas, this was definitely a good Halloween show.

Rating: 4/5

GIG REVIEW – HOSTILE – WOLVERHAMPTON 21/10/17


Down at The Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton, we caught Influens, SID, Disarm Goliath, RAM and Hostile at their show on October 21st!

First on the bill for the night were heavy rock band Influens. It often seems that being the first support of the night can hinder a performance and sadly, Influens fell victim to this. While it was clear they were on time and played their tracks well musically, their stage presence lacked. Continue reading “GIG REVIEW – HOSTILE – WOLVERHAMPTON 21/10/17”