15 May 2017. The Waterfront Studio, Norwich.
It had been over 15 years since London’s “nu-gaze” masters had graced a stage in Norfolk’s fine city, but they had finally returned to fans both old and new. Last year eventually saw the release of the band’s highly anticipated second album, The Secret Sessions and a UK tour was always expected by fans. If the Norwich show was anything to go by then the rest of the UK tour would have been well worth the wait.
Supports for tonight’s gig were Norwich’s own KAMENSKO and MARLA, bands which prove the local scene is in safe hands. KAMENSKO warmed up the crowd with their classic sound but surprised with the odd cheeky breakdown, fresh yet funky. MARLA had an immense sound considering they were one member short, their stage presence and rich material more than made up for the absent member. A high-energy indie band in the same vein as THE EDITORS but bolder, there were lots of interesting and captivating sounds to pull the crowd closer to the stage. One band to watch for sure.
There was a modest excitement before MY VITRIOL took to the stage. Remember, this is a band who performed on Top of the Pops and main stage Reading and Leeds back in the day, so to see the group in such an intimate venue as The Waterfront Studio is a special treat indeed. One striking component of their set was their impressive light rig, it made the small venue feel like a room triple its capacity and perfectly complimented the dreamy and melodic rock the band from London produce.
Kicking off with a few newer songs from The Secret Sessions, such as We’ve Lost Our Way and It’s So Damn Easy, the band, including frontman Som Wardner, looked relaxed and oozed professionalism on stage. The new songs nestled nicely amongst the old with fans greatly appreciating Finelines’ lesser known songs such as Infantile as well as the classic single Grounded. By the time the band finished with Always Your Way it felt like tonight had been a celebration of the band’s reunion but also a celebration of their unique material which had been sorely missed in the UK music scene. “Hopefully it won’t take us 15 years until we play Norwich again.” Hopefully Som, hopefully.
This week is all about newbies and blasts from the past
Band to watch: TOY MOUNTAINS. Before the end of last year, these young lads from Glasgow were announced as support for PALM READER’s UK tour this February. TOY MOUNTAIN’s EP I Swore I’d Never Speak of this Again is a wonderful mish-mash of all things alternative. Each track brings a fresh new take on different styles, a highlight being Hard Done By which opens with a blissful post-hardcore riff and continues in a glorious haze of alternative rock. The honest lyrics are irresistible and completes the package. Old Friends is a punkier affair, mixing GLASSJAW vibes with indie. It seems on this EP there is something for everyone. Being hard to pigeonhole will highlight the band’s strength of not sticking to one style but successfully maintain the ‘TOY MOUNTAINS’ sound. They manage to capture a nostalgic alternative vibe and if their live shows have the same amount of energy their recordings have, then they would definitely be a band to see.
Video to watch: PRIMITIVE WEAPONS. About to embark on a UK tour as support for THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, this post-hardcore troupe from Brooklyn, New York released a video for new single Panopticon Blues and it’s a bit of a political affair. “You’re watched, you’re trapped, you’re never alone” is repeated throughout the song which reflects the claustrophobic 1984-esque feel of the video. The message is clear here but it is the band’s raw energy which gives the video a sense of urgency. With a sound similar to later CANCER BATS and PRIZE COUNTRY, PRIMITIVE WEAPONS have plenty of bass and shouts but the catchy tunes to go with it. With the hard task of warming up the crowds before DILLINGER, I doubt it wouldn’t be too much trouble for these fellas if the raw energy in their recordings is anything to go by.
In the stereo: MY VITRIOL. Speak to any MY VITRIOL fan and they’d tell you the wait for a follow-up to 2001’s Finelines was absolutely agonizing, but in October last year the band finally released album number two, The Secret Sessions. As a fan base only release, it was mostly funded by the fans themselves which is what makes this album so special. What’s more, the record was well worth the wait. The most exciting aspect of The Secret Sessions is Som Wardner and Ravi Kesavaram have somehow managed to maintain the early noughties sound but with contemporary production. MY VITRIOL sound deliciously modern while sounding like…MY VITRIOL. Tracks such as It’s So Damn Easy and If Only (God Only Knows) captures the band’s unique combination of shoe-gaze and rock. Blissful riffs and melodies are their speciality and they are still clearly the masters of it. With a stellar second album, let’s hope it won’t be another 15 years until album number three!
Band to rediscover: FROM FIRST TO LAST. Yesterday the internet went into meltdown when it was revealed Sonny Moore (you might know him as SKRILLEX) reunited with his old band FROM FIRST TO LAST to sing on new track Make War. It is still not quite clear if Moore is back for the whole album but this was still huge news in the emo world. Nostalgia hit and it seemed everyone was prepared to dig out their eyeliner, straighteners and red and black stripy hoodie. FROM FIRST TO LAST never actually went away though after the departure of Moore in 2007, but they never quite managed to capture the magic of albums such as Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has A Body Count (2004) and Heroine (2006). Moore was a driving force behind these albums with his distinct voice and his hairstyle will always be considered to be the epitome of emo haircuts, but with Make War, the band are following their more post-hardcore direction and it’s very, very promising. With bands like SAOSIN and UNDEROATH having reformed, could 2017 be the year of emo?
5 fiendishly good metal videos to get you in the mood for all things undead and delicious
Halloween is almost upon us! Enjoy the first part of Metalmance’s list of spooktacular band videos to rattle your bones to.
NEW YEAR’S DAY – Angel Eyes
It just wouldn’t be Halloween without Ash Costello and the frontman of MOTIONLESS IN WHITE, getting all freaky in this NEW YEAR’S DAY video which gets fans all hot under their tattoo chokers. All goth girls probably wish they can catch Chris Motionless’ eye across a masquerade ballroom floor. He sure does steal hearts in this video…ahem…
ENGERICA – The Smell
Nowadays the scariest thing to come out of Essex is the cast of TOWIE, but 10 years ago this gloriously old school horror video by Essex band ENGERICA gave everyone the creeps. Stylishly shot in black and white, ‘the smell’ is cast in a ghoulish green and terrorises a whole city. The band’s catchy and fun rock songs are sorely missed but it’s gems like this video that remind us what a [trick or] treat the band were.
MY VITRIOL – Nightcall
Will the new MY VITRIOL album finally see the light in 2017??? Here’s hoping, but until then, feast your eyes on this hella-creepy video for their cover of KAVINSKY’s Nightcall. Frontman Som Wardner sports a pair of fangs and white contacts in this video to accompany the narrative of a terrifying masked stalker (think Michael Myers crossed with Team America). It involves woods, lots of blood and a disturbing twist…
BLEEDING THROUGH – Kill to Believe
Now, I’ve been a bit cheeky here and included BLEEDING THROUGH twice in this list, but bear with me. Both videos connect, with this video for Kill to Believe being first in the running order. Frontman Brandan Schieppati pulls up to a roadside diner with his new bride, but the locals are not exactly hospitable. Things soon start to get tense and violent and you might want to reconsider using the loo at the next diner you visit…
BLEEDING THROUGH – Love in Slow Motion
Things ramp up in this ‘sequel’ to the previous video. To avoid spoiling the other plot, I’ll just say Schieppati gets his revenge here. Stylistically the video definitely feels a bit Texas Chainsaw Massacre with the characters seen in Kill to Believe (including the band themselves) receiving their violent punishments. The brutal imagery here suits the absolutely lethal metal which BLEEDING THROUGH were best known and missed for.
Check in later in the week for more monstrous gems!