Review – Feeder

Date: Friday 8th November 2019

Venue: Leeds Becketts Student Union, Leeds

Supports: Novacub

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Following on from day two’s incredible intimate gig with Being as an Ocean, Day 3 of the four gigs four days brought in the big guns with a chance to catch Feeder playing to a sold out crowd in Leeds Becketts Student Union. Unfortunately due to more transport issues which seem to be becoming a regular theme these days we arrived just after tonight’s support Novacub had finished playing so only managed to catch headliners Feeder. However given the stream of people collecting stickers and meeting the band at the merch table they must have put on a decent show and I’ll certainly be keeping my eye out for an opportunity to catch them again next time they are around.

With over 20 years of material available at their fingertips there was an air of anticipation around which tracks the band were going to include in the setlist alongside the cuts from their newly released album ‘Tallulah’. As the band opened with Youth it made for a fun start. Being the first track on the album it was clear that people were singing along and it was great to experience the song live. Following this up with older hits such as ‘Lost and Found’ and the iconic ‘Feeling a Moment’ made for a very strong start to the night. With huge LED screens behind the band showing fantastic visuals alongside the tracks it was clear that over the many years Feeder have developed their live performance into a very slick process. With new album just released you would expect there to be some material in the set from it but in Feeder’s case tonight, nearly half of their 22 song setlist came from the new album. With the new tracks spread throughout the set it meant that the band struggled to keep the energy from older tracks going as the slower nature of the new tracks kept slowing the show. The newer tracks aren’t all slow and steady though as the bands play through of ‘Kyoto’ seemed to pick up the crowd with its heavier stylings and similar to sounds to their earlier tracks. Other highlights of the slightly drawn out middle section included the incredible sounding ‘Insomnia’ which coupled with the huge screen flashing the words through the chorus had the crowd all dancing and singing along; and a rare play of ‘Comfort in Sound’ which was a real treat for the crowd. As with the start, the band didn’t hold anything back towards the end of their set with a huge closing one two of ‘Seven Days In The Sun’ followed by the very well known ‘Buck Rodgers’ as the perfect set closers they really woke the crowd back up from their lull during the middle section of the gig and finished off the main set in fantastic style with even a sizable pit opening amongst the jumping bodies during ‘Buck Rodgers’.

As the band left the stage for a brief pause before their encore, the crowd certainly knew what was coming as after the standard chants for one more song they burst in to singing the opening guitar of ‘Just a Day’. As the band took back to the stage they had to put a pause on the singing as they had new track ‘Blue Sky Blue’ to play through first. Whilst the track itself is anthemic and builds nicely, putting it between ‘Buck Rodgers’ and ‘Just a Day’ really took the wind out of its sails as everyone just watched along waiting for the last track to come on. When it did however ‘Just a Day’ got a fantastic response from the crowd and proved just why the track is still considered a classic after all these years. With the last track done the band thanked the crowd for attending and mentioned that tonight was all about looking forward at what the future of the band holds rather living in the past. While the sentiment is one that we should all be happy with unfortunately tonight fell slightly flat with the crowd and there was just too much newer material to balance out the classics. With the precise performance that Feeder were putting in on stage, when the crowd were fully involved the set made for a fantastic watch however struggling to keep that energy made the middle of the set drag slightly. With a little more balance between their new tracks and the older classics tonight could have been a huge triumph for the band however it felt more like a “going through the motions with their new album” kind of show. Definitely not a bad show in any way and I’d be very open to seeing the band again in the future.

Feeder

Review – Being As An Ocean

Date: Thursday 7th November 2019

Venue: The Key Club, Leeds

Supports: Afterlife, Novelists FR

With day one involving seeing a rising band in Fever 333 gathering huge momentum on their first UK headliner, the second of my four gigs in four days spectacle tonight was my chance to catch the already well-established Being as an Ocean playing the intimate Key Club. Having seen these guys a couple of times before I knew to expect an intense show but before we could get to that there were a couple of support bands along for the show that I hadn’t come across before to check out.

After what can only be describes as a nightmare of a journey in thanks to the storms battering Yorkshire, I finally made it into Leeds just in time to catch Afterlife taking to the stage. Bringing a metalcore/nu-metal style sitting somewhere between Limp Bizkit and I Prevail, it was interesting to hear as you don’t tend to find too many newer bands playing with that kind of sound. Alongside the incredible music coming from the stage it was clear that the band had developed a slick performance over the last year with their crowd management waking the Thursday night crowd up nicely and leaving them hanging on vocalist Tyler Levenson’s every word. Things took an even wilder tone as the band incited the first pit of the night during ‘Throat’ which seemed to come as a nice surprise to the band on stage. Switching things up with slower track ‘Broken Home’ which was dedicated to ending domestic abuse got the emotion and realism across very well and really impacted the crowd who swayed along with torches lit. Finishing off tonight with ‘Giving Back the Pain’ which had the crowd bouncing along. The track showed off Afterlife at their best with huge drums and amazing riffs combined with the great mix of vocal types. To say it was still only early the band had created a great amount of energy and warmed up the crowd nicely for the remaining two bands. Afterlife are a band that seem to have found their style and perform it very well, hopefully this tour will have helped to bring them new fans as they certainly deserve it.

Afterlife

Next up taking to the stage were tonight’s main supports Novelists FR from Paris. The band had much more of a pure metalcore sound and sounded really tight throughout the set. After coming out swinging with guitar solos and riffs galore that kicked things into high gear from the start, it was clear that this was going to be a fantastic set. Impressive vocalists seemed to be a running theme tonight with Matteo Gelsomino switching between cleans and screams throughout the tracks in a very slick manner and keeping the impressive theme across all band members. ‘The Light, The Fire’ got a great reaction and as before torches from phones filled the room with everyone getting involved. The band worked effortlessly to take the energy up a great with the front half of the crowd moving throughout the entire show while everyone else watched on in appreciation. Following their more well-known tracks the band surprised those in attendance and played a track off their unreleased album called ‘Something Else’. Despite not being yet released the track went down a treat with the crowd. I can’t wait to hear it again as part of the record when it releases next January. Continuing their impressive set the band, ‘Monochrome’ dug down on the emotional slower side of the band with Matteo taking to the crowd to really add to the intimate feel and emotion of song. After working the crowd perfectly Novelists FR finished up with top track ‘The Bitter End’. Everyone in the room was bouncing and it showed that the crowd were definitely warmed up for tonight’s headliners Being as an Ocean. A solid set from a band that has somehow eluded me over the years and definitely one that I’ll be keeping eye out for again in the future.

Novelists

With the crowd’s excitement at a fever pitch, Being as an Ocean’s surprisingly long sound check felt like it went on forever. But after a 10 minutes wait things finally kicked off with an opening interlude before the band went all guns blazing, starting off with the huge ‘Play Pretend’. As is usual at a BAAO show, vocalist Joel Quartuccio entered the crowd towards the end of the track and spent pretty much the rest of the set out there only taking short breaks back on the stage a few times during the set. The band had a nice mix across the set from their entire catalogue and it was great to hear the newer tracks get just a much of a reception as the classics. ‘Know My Name’ went down a storm and had the crowd with their arms in the air shouting along all while the pit kept things moving around Joel. New track ‘Skin’ got a fantastic reaction with the crowd slowing down to appreciate the song and the track showed the ability the band still had to write the heart wrenching tracks as well as their fuller and heavier tracks like ‘B.O.Y.’ which came as the penultimate track this evening. ‘L’exquisite Doleur’ made for a huge sing along from the crowd and as the band finished up in a brilliant way with almighty ‘This Loneliness Won’t Be the Death of Me’ they announced that rather than messing around and leaving the stage, they would just launch straight into the encore tracks.

Due to the time constraints of a weeknight gig and the extended sound check at the start, unfortunately Being as an Ocean only got one of the two planned tracks played having to forego new track A.N.I.M.O. in place of arguably their biggest song and the one that drew me into the band originally ‘The Hardest Part Is Forgetting Those You Swore You Would Never Forget’. Ending with the rousing track left the real feeling of emotion that you expect from a BAAO set and finished the night off very well – this may have been a blessing in disguise as it would be hard to follow it up with anything else. After tonight’s show it’s clear why the band have the reputation for live shows that they do with everything being heavy and intense throughout whether that’s lyrically or musically and the crowd bouncing through the whole show. Being as an Ocean are always a must see in my books and this set really cemented just why with the band not putting a foot wrong throughout. A special mention must be given before I finish this to guitarist and clean vocalist Michael McGough who put in an incredible performance throughout the night and really brought everything together perfectly.

Being As An Ocean

Review – FEVER 333

Date : Wednesday 6th November 2019

Venue: Stylus, Leeds

Supports: N/A

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The best thing about autumn is the pure amount of gigs and tours that pass through the UK. And not to do things by half, what better way to start off the month than four gigs in four days! Starting off things were arguably one of the most explosive and intense live artists in FEVER 333. Challenging conventions across the music industry by performing their ‘demonstrations’ with no support act was an interesting choice and a smaller band may have struggled to pull it off but FEVER definitely rose to the occasion for their first UK headline shows. From the outset with the white curtain dropping  and launching straight into Made in America gave an idea of how the rest of the night was going to pan out and with the sold out crowd filling Stylus it was clear that this was going to be Fever at their rawest and most intense.  Using that energy to full potential with chants of “333” and the usual “Yorkshire” chants then band kept the intensity at full continuing with ‘One of Us’ which saw a great response from the crowd with bodies flying across the barrier into the waiting arms of the security who did a fantastic job of making sure everyone was safe. After the chaos things slowed down slightly as the band played ‘Inglewood’ which took a slight diversion as for the first of a few times Jason left the stage to take up the mic duties from the Sound desk at the back of the room, as the final chorus crashed in filled with emotion Jason jumped into the crowd and surfed his way back to the front.

FEVER 333

With the crowd having the chance to catch their breath, the band wasted no time in picking things back up and the combination of ‘Animal’ straight into ‘Trigger’ created what I can only describe as a maelstrom in the floor areas. During these tracks Jason mentioned how as a generation safe spaces are needed to have the difficult conversations that people are avoiding and then we as a group are strong. Following the motivational chats at refused last week, it continued the theme nicely and showed that change is possible as long as we give it the chance. ‘Am I Here?’ saw a piano taken to the sound desk at the back of venue and Jason give am acoustic performance joined by the crowd to build on the emotional aspect of all their tracks. Taking back to the stage he mentioned that the decision to not take a band out as a support was to gauge the amount of fans that were willing to see them without disadvantaging any possible supports. Mentioning that it wasn’t a given that tonight would sell out was a thought on the band and that when they do come back with a support they want to be able to pay then well rather than have them suffer as it isn’t a cheap thing to do.

‘Burn It’ made sure energy that the energy was turned back up to 11 and and this was continued to be matched by the band on stage. It really is s skill to play the perfect tracks while throwing yourself across the stage (and yes that did include drummer Aric). Ending in style with ‘Hunting Season’ finished things off nicely with one last cathartic release. Each member put in a huge performance tonight as always and that’s definitely one of the reasons why they draw such a huge crowd. As they lft the stage it was obvious that tonight has been a more well rounded experience compared to the very explosive short performances at download. Given that longer run time they could really explore their growing back catalogue and show off a little bit of everything. Mixing two completely different genres like RnB and Hardcore takes a lot of skill and even more so to pull it off as well as FEVER 333 do. Definitely one of the most intense and skilled bands that are rising through the scene at the moment and I can’t wait for them to be back taking on even bigger venues.

FEVER 333

Review – Refused / Thrice

Date: Thursday 31st October 2019

Venue: Manchester Academy, Manchester

Supports: Gouge Away

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Occasionally a tour will be announced that is so good that you buy tickets despite the fact that the band you are going to see aren’t ones that are regularly played on your music list. This is one such example of a tour with two of the most influential yet somehow underrated bands in the alternative scene playing the same stage on the same night as co headliners. With both Thrice and Refused it was interesting to see the mix in the crowd as both bands have a very different sound to each other and yet somehow everything worked to perfection. Unfortunately thanks to the drive from hell across the M62, I didn’t get chance to catch tonight’s support act hardcore punks Gouge Away which was a real shame as they were a band that I was certainly looking forward to catching. If you aren’t familiar with the band then I’d definitely recommend giving them a listen, a personal favourite from them is R.O.T.

For the first of two hour long headline sets this evening were the Swedish punk pioneers Refused. Opening up with new album opener REV001 things started with a bang and by bringing the new album to front of set showed that they weren’t just living with their past success. Following up with ‘Violent Reaction’ kept the energy nicely flowing and was great to hear live after I’d put a bunch of plays into it on Spotify in preparation. Despite the new album sounding incredible, playing big hitter ‘Elektra’ early in the set really got the crowd moving and dancing along. Heading back to the newer tracks ‘I Wanna Watch The World Burn’ Which took vocalist Dennis Lyxzén Into the crowd all the way to the back which proved to be a very effective way of opening up the pit. Giving talks on serious topics such as capitalism and patrichy amongst others went out to approving crowds and it was good to see punk standing for something so strongly still. Saving the best track until last, it was no doubt that ‘New Noise’ would go down well to finish the set. As crowd in unison launched in with opening line ‘Can I Scream?’ Manchester Academy turned upside down with the sheer amount of people bouncing and shouting along the words. Pausing for extra effect before the last chorus Refused thanked the crowd as they were the reason the band could keep doing what they do. Launching back in it was clear how heavy the track hit and really ended the set on a high. It’s great to see that Refused unique sound is carried from their records and sounds just and incredible live and it just goes to show how talented of a band they really are.

Refused

Taking to the stage for the second coheadline set tonight were Thrice. Regularly described as your favourite bands favourite band, its no wonder that they deliver a fantastic show and having accidentally discovered them at Leeds festival back in 2016 so I was long overdue seeing them! Coming out to ‘Only Us’ showed the complete juxtaposition between the two headliners with Refused’s raw energy compared to the refined performance and intricate tracks of Thrice . By the second track ‘Image of Invisible’ the crowd were in full voice signing along with the chorus. It was clear that Thrice’s building tracks left the crowd in awe and new track ‘Just Breathe’ proved that booming across the Academy. Following this there was a huge crowd reaction to the opening riff of ‘Hurricane’ which got a huge tear and an even bigger singalong flying straight into  ‘Artist in the Ambulance’ after was one of the highlights of the night as the two tracks worked so well with each other. A couple of songs later the band cracked out arguably their biggest track ‘Black Honey’ which really showed just how tight the band were and how each element mixed so beautifully with the others. After a rousing performance of ‘The Earth Will Shake’ to start to wind down their set the band opted to finish with slower track ‘Beyond The Pines’ which somehow worked perfectly. It finished with somber tone but somehow worked and built on the fantastic set from tonight. As the band left the stage the crowd were left in awe at the end of Thrice’s phenomenal show. Despite having to follow a much heavier band it was clear that they could hold their own and by making the set focused on their deeper tracks they really used the earlier mentioned juxtaposition to their advantage. It would definitely be hard to find another band that refined and tight in a live setting, everything worked perfectly and really went to show just why Thrice are so many people’s favourite bands.

Thrice

Review – Conjurer

Date: Sunday 27th October 2019

Venue: The Key Club, Leeds

Supports: DAO, Armed For Apocalypse, Earth Moves

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Starting things off at one hundred percent this evening were local supports DAO.  Despite it being early in the night the band brought huge sound and you could feel the energy coming off the stage. As the set went on the vocalist slowly got further and further into the crowd leaving the stage to the rest of the band to really show off their skills and allowing them to move around creating even more energy. Despite working his way to the sound desk at one point the vocals kept coming thick and fast to keep up with the band and really worked well to create an intimate feel from the outset. New track ‘Everything’ brought heavy riffs while ‘Delusional Man’ really layered the crushing vocals over intricate guitar lines and the pounding drums sounding incredible. And after a set that seemed much shorter than it should have been, closer ‘New Normal’ ended it with a bang. It’s definitely one that will be going straight on my playlist as it was neck-snappingly brutal and that’s putting it mildly. Whilst the crowd weren’t as involved as they could have been it definitely didn’t take anything away from the performance that DAO delivered. As opening sets go at The Key Club this may have been one of the best I’ve seen in a long time up there with the likes of Cutting Teeth and God Complex!

DAO

Next up tonight were American metalers Armed for Apocalypse, Starting off with slower tracks the band ease the crowd into the chaos that was to come later in the set.  Despite being slower tracks to start than DOA beforehand they were certainly crushing and the entire crowd were banging their head by then end of their opening salvo. Despite the mix sometimes cutting the vocals down a little it didn’t affect the sound too much as the rest of the band were spot on. ‘Open Wound’ incited chaos in the crowd with tonight’s first pit opening up and the fast heavy track building brilliantly. Huge sound from all three members, drummer on point throughout the set not putting a foot wrong which was incredible to see. The bands newer tracks were a sight to behold and shows that these guys are still bringing out incredible tracks 10 years on from the release of their album ‘Defeat’. As the band left the stage it was clear that the crowd were left on a huge high with everyone pumping their fists and banging their heads. From the outset it may have been a tall order to follow DAO but Armed For Apocalypse took it in their stride and put on a pretty stellar set to keep tonight’s energy up.

Armed For Apocalypse

The last of tonight’s brilliant supports were Earth Moves and it was no surprise that they put on an incredible set. Mixing in the heavy sounds from tonight’s previous bands with the more emotional slow breaks and spoken word sections similar to bands like Casey. ‘Breathing Solemnity into the Deep Night’ sounded amazing as it rang out across the room with the crowd looking on in awe. The band’s new album ‘Human Intricacy’ due out in November and from the sounds of their single ‘Catatonic’ it’s going to be a stunner. A brief appearance from Conjurer’s Dan to provide additional vocals sounded brilliant and got a great reaction out of the crowd with everyone going wild. Closer ‘Pia Maita’ really showed the band at its best, coming in two parts with the heavy track blasting everyone’s face off before ending with an emotional slow section which left everyone in awe. As the song closed to an end, the microphone was cat aside and the band moved to just shouting the lyrics across the crowd to really hit the emotion of the track home. With the single guitar track and cymbals winding down definitely left an impression on the stunned crowd. Even though this was the first time I’d seen or even heard of Earth Moves, their ability and performance certainly left a mark on me and they’re definitely one of my regular listens already.

Earth Moves

To describe tonight’s headliners as a force of nature would be underselling them and having seen them playing at Download (review here) this was definitely an unmissable show. As Conjurer burst onto the stage with ‘Thankless’ it was clear that this was going to be a non-stop night of extreme metal to really show why they had the crowing title as one of the most exciting bands in metal. Riffs were flying out across the room over a crowd that refused to stand still and the dual vocals from both Dan and Brady worked brilliantly. With a light show that left the band in the shadows for the majority of their set it really built on their performance as a whole and built an intimate show. Despite the evening being one of very few that didn’t sell out on the whole tour it must have been very close to capacity with the surge of the crowd during the massive ‘Choke’ engulfing the entire venue and a pit that didn’t stop for the entire duration of the track. As their set drew to an end it was clear that the band had saved their top two tracks for the end. With both ‘Retch’ and ‘Hadal’ finishing off tonight’s set it was clear that the band were going out all guns blazing. The energy coming from the crowd was unreal and even wilder as it was matched by the band and as the band finished their setlist it gave everyone a short break to catch their breaths before the band took to a short encore.

Usually playing a cover to end the night would be a little weird but when that cover is ‘Blood and Thunder’ by Mastadon and it’s executed to perfection there aren’t any issues. It was a great way to end the night and really showed the influences that this band had. As they left the stage for one final time the crowd were left with ringing ears and sore necks from the onslaught that they had just witnessed. Conjurer yet again proved that they are at the top of their game and at this point they are the band that everyone needs to hear about. Hopefully this run of sold out shows will propel them up into the greatness that they so deserve. If you take nothing else away from this review go listen to Conjurer immediately and bask in their greatness as it’s not very often a band this impressive come around.

Conjurer

Review – Foals “Part 2 Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost” Album Release Show

Date: Thursday 24th October

Venue: Leeds Becketts University Student Union, Leeds

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Usually for a band to be playing an intimate show in a 1100 capacity venue would be pushing the boundaries, but when that band is the festival headlining indie rock titans Foals it can be excused. After the very successful show that Crash records put on for the release of ‘Part 1 Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost’ earlier this year, everyone had their fingers crossed that the same would be done for the release of ‘Part 2…’. As if Crash had heard our wishes, at the last minute they announced not one but two shows in one day for everyone to get the opportunity to see the band in such a close setting. Selling out within a couple of days it was clear how much excitement there was for these shows and heading into the venue for the late night show it was an amazing atmosphere. Despite an hour wait between the doors and the band taking to the stage there was a real sense of community on show with everyone trying to predict what songs were going to be played, their best memories of seeing Foals or even their excitement for the upcoming full tour later this year.

With the anticipation at breaking point the band took to the stage bang on nine to deliver an incredible show to the waiting crowd. Starting off with the huge sounding ‘The Runner’ with the huge riffs resonating well with the already bouncing crowd. As a mosh pit opened up it was clear that this may have been an intimate show but the crowd were here to make the most of the small space. Following the huge start the band kept the momentum of new tracks with the incredibly funky ‘Wash Off’ which had a completely different sound live with the pounding bass being brought to the forefront and leading the bouncing crowd to another level of intensity. Taking a step back with a few tracks off ‘Part 1…’ the band really showed how well the two albums worked in tandem. A standout moment was hearing ‘In Degrees’ live which sounded incredible and really kept the energy up despite being one of the bands slower tracks. After the slight deviation the band broke out the new material again with frontman Yannis asking the crowd if they were ready to get rowdy before launching into the one two of ‘Like Lightning’ and ‘Black Bull’. The crowd took up the challenge with both arms and the entire floor was bouncing by the end of the two tracks with the pit engulfing pretty much the front half of the venue.

Foals

After playing the tracks from their two new albums it was time to step back in time to older albums to finish the set with a bang and what better way than to start with the massive ‘My Number’ which got massive singalongs from the crowd throughout. Finishing off their setlist for tonight with a combination of ‘Inhaler’ and ‘What Went Down’ which capitalised on the huge energy the crowd had with Yannis taking his guitar through the crowd all the way to the back balcony and the band continuing to play on the stage as the crowd bounced around. As ‘What Went Down’ came to an end the band realised that they had just enough time to fit one additional song not from the set list in and tonight audience were treated to the sensational ‘Two Steps, Twice’. With the building guitars of the into akin to something that wouldn’t sound out of place in an And So I Watch You From Afar show it really showed the technical ability that the band had as well as their ability to write room filling anthems. Building up to the chorus the crowd reached breaking point and the insane levels of movement in the room when the chorus finally dropped was almost cathartic. With such a huge finale it really left the crowd with the best feeling as the band left the stage tonight knowing full well that everyone in attendance had a great time.

Having been a fairly recent addition to the Foals fan base thanks to the promotion of ‘Part 1…’on Crash Records social media it was great that an opportunity to see the band came up through Crash as it almost felt like I could give back to the shop for introducing me to the a new band. Yet again the organisation of such an incredible evening is a real testament to how in tune the shop and Leeds music scene are as a whole. With a huge host of other exclusive shows up and coming through the shop I would highly recommend you pay a visit and see what the shop have got coming up. I can’t wait to be back for another show later next month to catch Yungblud when he plays at The Wardrobe.

Foals

Review – Real Friends

Date: Tuesday 22nd October 2019

Venue: Stylus, Leeds University Union

Supports: Belmont, Grayscale

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First on tonight were Belmont bringing their raw and heavy version of pop punk to tonight’s crowd Starting out with big hitter ‘Hollowed Out’ should have been a solid start, unfortunately the band were hampered by the mic being too low in mix which seemed to continue until near the end. Following this it was good to hear new track ‘By My Side’ and despite issues sounded fantastic bringing a similar vibe to later Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! tracks. Switching from old to new the band then jumped in with ‘731’ which mixed really well and saw the band throwing themselves around on stage. Despite there being lots of energy on stage, the growing crowd weren’t quite in the mood yet to cause the carnage that the band wanted – one of the only problems with an early midweek gig. As Belmont ended with ‘Overstepping’ they finally got the movement that they wanted out of the crowd with a small pit opening for the second half of the song. All in all a decent turnout in the end for a band that aren’t too well known across this side of the pond and from the sounds of it, vocalist Taz Johnson seemed happy with just having new people in the room to play to. It was a real shame that they had mic issues as this could have been a stormed of a set if all went to plan, but even still Belmont fought through and delivered a solid set to stir the crowd and prepare them for the two following acts to come.

Belmont

Next up tonight bringing chaos from the outset were Grayscale. Despite being very much on the opposite end of the pop punk spectrum from Belmont, a pit had opened up right from the start of the first track. The band had a very poppy feel to the tracks especially newer ones from their recently released album ‘Nella Vita’. The album seems to have been received really well as they have a huge following in the crowd singing along to every word with ‘Baby Blue’ being a personal highlight for me. Even given the party going off in the crowd, the band managed to match the energy on the stage and putting tons of enjoyment into the performance.  Taking a quick pause in their set as Ben Ray from Slam Dunk stepped on to the stage, the band announced that they’d be back in Leeds next year for Slam Dunk Festival 2020 to huge applause. Following this announcement the crowd kicked it up another gear with circle pits opening up for ‘Fever Dream’ and continued throughout. As the set neared the end you could see the clear happiness on the bands faces as crowd shouted the words back at him. Despite the earlier issues, the mix was perfect for Grayscale and the whole band sounded tight on stage. Delivering a solid support set there wasn’t a single person that wasn’t warmed up for tonight’s headliner as the band left the stage. I’ll definitely be adding ‘Nella Vita’ to my ever growing list of albums to listen to.

Grayscale

As Real Friends took to the stage it was clear that tonight was going to be a fun one. Having seen the band play in Stylus a few years back with Puppy I was ready for a fantastic show and Real Friends certainly didn’t disappoint. Out of the gates there were crowd surfers flying across the barriers and everyone still stood on the ground were moving. Starting out with a bang the band had played through both ‘Summer’ and ‘Mess’ within their first four tracks which set the scene for the incredible set still in waiting. The band sounded amazing and everything seemed to just click into place for them to play a fantastic set. Breaking out older track ‘Maybe This Place Is The Same…’ was a huge highlight for me as that was the album that first got me listening to the band and was played through perfectly to really capture the feeling of the track. With the energy as full whack it was then time for Real Friends to show off their other side as they slowed things down for an acoustic version on ‘Sixteen’. As the phone lights were held high in the sky you could really feel the emotion behind the lyrics and with the whole crowd shouting them back it really made for a very communal feeling that everyone was in this together. After a couple of heartfelt acoustic tracks Real Friends switched it back up in complete contrast to end the set on a high launching into penultimate track ‘Me First’. As the song went on the crowd kept getting rowdier even forming a wall of death before the final chorus to really make the most of the rooms’ energy. With the majority of tracks being from new album composure it only felt right for the band to end with opening track ‘From The Outside’ which sounded incredible live and definitely ended the set in fashion.

As the band finished up the final chorus it was obvious that everyone was left in awe of what they had witnessed tonight. A flawless pop punk set from a band that are no strangers to putting on a great show. For one final touch before finishing vocalist Dan Lambton left the crowd with the parting words of ‘If you get the chance to be kind then take it with both hands’ which is a fantastic message to be sending and really relevant to a band that have helped a lot of people with the music they’ve put out. There is a reason that they are one of the most loved bands in the scene and moments like that really prove why. Following the brilliant release that was ‘Composure’, Real Friends are only going to climb higher and higher and it is very much deserved.

Real Friends