Review – Black Flag

Date: Sunday 13th October 2019

Venue: Academy 2, Manchester

Supports: Total Chaos

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When the option comes up to see a band play that inspired most of the bands that you listen to currently it is a real no brainer. Especially when it’s the first time that the band have played the UK in over 35 years. And with that said the drive across to Manchester seemed like nothing for the spectacle that tonight was going to be seeing Black Flag playing live.

First up however were tonight’s only support Total Chaos. Starting out with the ringing guitar before launching into ‘War in L.A.’ really set things off to a great start, the band sounded great live and were clearly enjoying themselves with everyone jumping around and really filling the stage. The crowd may have been a little sparse at first but certainly filled up as the set went on .Total Chaos were the only support tonight so had a big job to build energy before tonight’s headliner but with a 45 min set of original hardcore punk the levels were easily met by the crowd. ‘Punk No Die’ got a great reaction to the crowd and really stuck to the title with the crowd pogoing in the pit throughout. ‘Running with the Youth’ brought riffs aplenty and definitely got some heads banging. And just when you thought you’d seen everything this band could offer they then brought out Tezz from Broken Bones/Discharge for a play through of one of his top tracks ‘Decapitated’. While playing tonight the band mentioned that tonight was part of their celebration of 30 years as a band which is amazing to hear as very few bands make it that far without a lot of effort and dedication. As the set went on it was clear to see during ‘Complete Control’ that, despite it being released over 20 years ago, there’s still the same issues around. Newer track Toxic Fallout sounded great and by the end of the set there was a sizeable pit forming. As Total Chaos finished with arguably their biggest track ‘Riot City’, it was clear that the crowd had increased massively and they had definitely build the energy up in preparation for Black Flag. Although the band may have been around for a long time but have certainly honed their performance over the years as there wasn’t a foot put wrong all while showcasing the raw energy of punk in its finest form.

Total Chaos

As I mentioned at the start, Black Flag were playing their first tour of the UK in over 35 years tonight so was a real no brainer for me to go having not even been born last time they were across. Opening their set with ‘Depression’ it was obvious that the crowd had been waiting for this moment for the entire night. As the riffs rang out on stage the crowd wasted no time in erupting into chaos. By the time the band had reached ‘Black Coffee’ it was clear that the crowd were at maximum activity. As with total chaos before it was clear that Black Flag were enjoying themselves up on stage and with the addition of Mike Vallely on vocal he really brought a ton of energy to the stage dancing around whilst Greg Ginn dazzled the crowds with his insane technical ability. ‘Gimme gimme gimme’ was notable tonight for having the first crowd surfer of the night go over the barrier and it certainly wouldn’t be this evenings last. As the band flew through the huge 22 song set list tonight it was nice to have a breat of fresh air as the band played an extended intro to ‘Six pack’. The bass and drums sounded incredible in the mix and were played to perfection, building the song up well with maximum frenzy once the track kicked in fully. 

It took until 40 minutes into the set before Black Flag gave a quick round of introductions to their current line up before launching straight back into it. Whilst usually I’m not a fan of bands that just play all their songs with very little talking tonight seemed different and with the timelessness of their tracks the link between crowd and band was already there without needing to appeal to newer fans. It was nice to hear from Mike V when he mentioned about how he’d seen Black Flag  when he was younger and that it was wild they’d asked him to step up to do vocals back in 2013. After playing through a couple of lesser known songs, it was time for the band to finish the night with the big hitters, Launching into ‘Nervous Breakdown’ the entire venue was shaking with the crowd really going for it and screaming along with the words. As if that wasn’t enough the band then went into ‘TV party’ which got exactly the same reaction from the crowd and really set things to end on a high.  

Black Flag

With no let up on their finale, the band brought Total Chaos back out to help with vocals on their penultimate track ‘Rise Above’. Being a true classic in the hardcore punk scene it was no surprise that the crowd lapped it up with the pit engulfing the entire front half of the venue. It was definitely the highlight of the set and a moment that would be hard to top for any band. After the carnage of ‘Rise Above’ there was only one track left for them to play before finishing off their UK tour and that was their well-known cover of Richard Berry track ‘Louie Louie’. Usually when listening to this track it’s a minute of pure energy and would have finished the night off perfectly however Greg had other plans this evening as it became an extended guitar solo for him to really showcase his talent. Unfortunately while his technical ability was clear the song seemed to drag on for minutes and after the high energy of ‘Rise Above’ it seemed like a very weird way to end the night. After the extended guitar solo he then passed his guitar across to Shawn from Total Chaos to finish the night’s solo before things came to a very abrupt end. With no encore to follow on and just a crowd photo with the band it seemed to draw the conversation after the show. With no one talking about how incredible the set was but just questioning why the solo ended things this evening.

If Black Flag had finished tonight at the end of ‘Rise Above’ then it would have been a 10/10 set with no doubt however this ending really shut down all the energy in the room. Whilst I am very happy I saw Black Flag this evening I can’t help but feel that no one had really thought about how to end it and it would be interesting to see if the same happened at other venues on this tour. Still regardless of this it was certainly one that I can now tick off my bucket list of bands and the added bonus of seeing Mike V who was one of my favourite skateboarders growing up was insane. This will certainly be a night for me to remember in years to come.

Black Flag

Review – Have Heart (One-Off Reunion Show)

Date: Sunday 21st July 2019

Venue: Stylus, Leeds

Supports: Stages In Faith, Big Cheese, Payday, Abuse Of Power

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Playing 10 year one off reunion shows in 4 cities was always going to be a huge hit but to have Leeds as one of the cities was monumental and really showed just how impressive the underground hardcore scene is in Leeds to draw a show like this. With tickets selling out extremely quickly, it was clear that everyone in attendance was in for a special night.

First up tonight were Stages In Faith. Going for a more old school hardcore sound mixing clean vocals and spoken word over the heavy distorted tracks, it was very reminiscent of bands like Leatherface. It was good to see that type of style was still being developed by the next generation of bands. Highlights from their set were recent track ‘Floodlights’ and their new unreleased track landed well with the early crowd to get the movement in the crowd started. Definitely a solid set to start off the night and hopefully the larger crowd that were present will pick up some of their tracks

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Stages In Faith

 

Next up were the mighty Big Cheese. After seeing these last year when they supported Madball I knew what to expect from them. As expected they put on a killer set which really work the crowd up. The hardcore dancers were out in full and kept up the same energy throughout the set. Going for a much heavier style of hardcore than SIF but it worked wonders to get everyone involved. To say they’re still a little off the radar they’re certainly making waves in the underground hardcore scene and definitely for the right reasons. Huge energy from the band matched the crowd perfectly and certainly a band to check out if you dig the heavier side of Hardcore! As the poster over the amps said – Don’t Forget 2 Tell The World.

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Big Cheese

 

Continuing Big Cheese’s theme of heavy hardcore were Payday it certainly kept the party mood well and truly in check. The set seemed to fly by with their short sharp bursts of songs but with the new album due out in September hopefully it’s not too long until Payday are back in Leeds. Highlight from them was the track ‘Blueprints’ from their new album which sounded very heavy and intense so will be interesting to see if the rest of the album matches. Certainly one I’ll be keeping my eye on in the near future! The whole band were tight and didn’t put a foot wrong throughout. Definitely a good choice by Have Heart to book them and hopefully this will springboard them with their new album into the forefront of the hardcore scene.

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Payday

 

Last of the support bands tonight were the fantastic Abuse Of Power. Given the three stunning sets before them it was looking to be an uphill struggle for them to top what had already been a fantastic night. The band however had other plans and took the rooms energy up an extra level. With the front half of the floor becoming a warzone with people everywhere moshing and hardcore dancing. While the crowd were going crazy it was not much different up on stage with each member of the band moving non-stop as they powered through their set. Each member put in a fantastic performance and the end result was crushing hardcore that went down a dream.

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Abuse Of Power

 

Last up tonight were the band that everyone was here to see, Have Heart. It took a single note from the band before people were launching themselves from the stage into the crowd. As the band worked through the opening salvo of ‘The Machinist’ and ‘The Unbreakable’ it was clear that even though it had been 10 years they certainly hadn’t lost their edge and were still performing at a fantastic level. Crashing through their 17 song setlist it was clear that everyone in attendance had some connection to the band as every word was screamed back at the band throughout. Top tracks ‘Watch Me Sink’ and ‘Armed With a Mind’ got huge reactions from the crowd and were perfectly placed to keep the energy levels up even after three hours of solid hardcore. As the set reached its mid-point the band mentioned that the reason for this one off reunion is the world is currently going backwards in terms of equality and rights and that the band were showing that things need to keep moving forward with progression. Following this speech, vocalist Pat Flynn kicking the next song in with “Backwards Never, Forwards Forever”, a memento to live by that was shouted back by the crowd. In true Have Heart fashion as they reached their final track, they announced that this would be their last song ever with no encore or anything like that and as they smashed their way through ‘Watch Me Rise’ the entire crowd flooded the stage with chants of “I’d rather die on my feet, than live on my knees.” As the final note rang out, you could see the emotion on everyone’s faces, this really was a monumental show for everyone involved and certainly something that would be talked about for many years to come.

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Have Heart

Review – Download Festival 2019 (Sunday)

Download Festival 2019 – Sunday

I Prevail – Main Stage

Starting the day off nice and heavy I took a trip to the Main stage to see the incredibly heavy I Prevail. For a band that made their rise mostly through covers of pop songs it was great to hear that their original tracks sounds incredible. Despite it only being their second time playing in the UK they drew a huge crowd even given the fact it was only 12pm and the rain was pouring down. With sounds that were similar to A Day to Remember it was clear that the crowd were loving it with pits all throughout and plenty of people dancing along. Tracks off their new album ‘Trauma’ sound incredible with the standouts being opener ‘Bow Down’ which was an aggressive wake-up call and a great way to start the day and ‘DOA’ which got huge circle pits and singalongs at the same time whilst sounding incredible with the mix between the two vocalists. I Prevail are definitely a band that I’ll be trying to catch again in the future next time they’re in the UK

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I Prevail

Underoath – Main Stage

As Underoath took to the stage with the rain still pouring down, it was clear that the crowd was much smaller than it should have been for a band of this calibre. Not to help the rough start, the sound started a little off with the bass too heavy in the mix unfortunately affecting their sound. Once that was sorted out a couple of songs in all sounded good and the band really fell into their groove. Great vocals were on show from both singer and drummer who chimed in for a surprising amount of the tracks. With the majority of tracks coming from their new album ‘Erase Me’ it was clear that they fitted in well live. ‘Rapture’ was certainly a highlight sounded incredible and worked really well with their older stuff. The electronic element added greatly to the show to differentiate from generic metalcore and finishing with a pairing of the classic ‘Writings on the Wall’ before newer track ‘Sink with You’ went down a storm with the crowd. Finishing on a high it was great to see the triumph from Underoath despite their rocky start.

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Underoath

Starset – Zippo Encore Stage

Next up on the Zippo Encore Stage were my surprise of the day – Starset. I had heard and enjoyed a couple of songs by them on the Official Download Spotify playlist which meant that they were down to fill my time between Underoath and Black Peaks. However as the stage started to fog with smoke and the violinist and cellist appeared on stage it really piqued my interest that I was about to watch something different. As the rest of the band took to the stage in futuristic desert outfits it really was a sight to behold with the large sandy logo behind. As the tracks went on you could tell that the band were giving it 100% with early track ‘Monster’ sounding incredible. With the vocalist switching between two separate mic’s it provided a really interesting mix and the addition of some electronic elements mixed with the strings and regular band made for a great soundscape. Despite the fog machines working overtime and clouding the stage it was still a really enjoyable show to build the day up and certainly another band that I will be keeping my eye on in the future. Finishing their set with their top track ‘My Demons’, Starset certainly left a lasting impression on the unsuspecting crowd and for all the right reasons.

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Starset

Black Peaks – Avalanche Stage

After the surprise shock from the very impressive Starset before it was time for Black Peaks, a set that I knew from previous experience was going to be top notch. As I entered the Avalanche Stage tent it was clear to see the huge amount of people packing the tent and the anticipation was hanging in the air. As the band opened up with newer track ‘Can’t Sleep’ the tent fell into silence at the spectacle they were witnessing. With vocalist Will Gardner pulling out all the stops to deliver his fantastic mix of clean and unclean vocals and the rest of the band absolutely smashing it, it was clear that they had earned a reaction of this level. One of the surprises of the set was the Pyro the burst from the stage despite it only being 3pm and on the 3rd Stage. It was clear that everyone knew that this was going to be one of the standout sets from the entire weekend. Finishing with older cuts of the huge sounding ‘Say You Will’ and the incredible ‘Glass Built Castles’ ensured that the entire tent was moving. The only negative to pull from this set was that they only had six songs to impress but from this set, they’ll certainly be taking to the larger stages in the future. I have no doubt that Black Peaks will have picked up a new bunch of fans from this set and just in time for their headline tour in October.

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Black Peaks

Amon Amarth – Main Stage

Unfortunately due to the timing of the set Amon Amarth fell victim to me only being able to catch part of their set before heading off but boy did they pack a lot into the three songs that I caught.  A huge crowd had turned out to see the mighty Vikings and as they kicked off their first track it was incredible to see everyone banging their heads along to the huge riffs! Bringing heavy hitting drums and incredible sounding guitars with the deep vocals tying it over perfectly it really was a masterclass in metal music for everyone in attendance. With a huge amount pyro flying left, right, and centre and two Vikings engaging in combat on stage during ‘First Kill’ it really was a see it to believe it spectacle, being more of an entertainment set rather than just purely musical. As third track ‘Way of the Viking’ came to a crushing end it was time for us to leave which felt like a fitting end to their set for us. I can’t wait to get to enjoy the full Amon Amarth package later this year when they tour the UK as the posters around the arena were suggesting.

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Amon Amarth

Beartooth – Zippo Encore Stage

After cutting Amon Amarth short, it fell to Beartooth to ease my judgement and show why I was watching them and not still at the Main stage with the Vikings! As it turns out it was very much the correct choice. Having seen Beartooth a fair few times I knew what to expect but as with every performance they seem to improve on themselves. Given the huge size of the crowd it was clear that they are certainly rising through the ranks. Starting the set with a bang the band came out and immediately smashed into ‘Bad Listener’ performing to perfection, it really was a guide for what was about to follow.  With a mix of tracks during their set from all three albums it’s clear that fans both new and old of the band are very passionate with the crowd screaming along to every song. The reaction to newer track ‘You Never Know’ was incredible with everyone’s (and I do mean everyone!) fist pumping and head banging along. After a short speech talking about the importance of mental health on the community and how the band had helped him along personally, Caleb launched into final track ‘In Between’ which really finished the set with a huge bang as the crowd went crazy screaming all the words back. This really felt like a special set from Beartooth and I can’t wait to see them again on their 2020 tour.

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Beartooth

Lamb Of God – Main Stage

Next up for the day as it was drawing to a fever pitch were the Death Metal titans Lamb of God. As the crowd flocked to the Main stage to catch the huge band it was clear to see they were an band in demand and even clashing with the huge Anthrax hadn’t had too much of an impact on the numbers in attendance. Starting with arguably one of their biggest tracks in ‘Omerta’ things started off in great fashion and with ‘Walk With Me in Hell’ coming only a few songs later it was clear that they were firing on all cylinders with the band sounding incredible.  Unfortunately for me, this energy didn’t seem to continue for them throughout the set. Whilst it was still clear that the majority of the crowd were still rocking along there was just something off for me personally which I can only put down to the ability of all the bands that had put on stunning sets today beforehand. I’m definitely glad to have caught Lamb of God live though as they’ve been on my wish list for a long time and the early tracks really hit home well for me showing just how devastating the band can be live.

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Lamb of God

Fever 333 – Avalanche Stage

After the slight disappointment of the previous set it was time for things to hit the high notes again with arguably one of the most talked about sets of the weekend FEVER 333. Having been lucky enough to see their secret set exactly a year ago at Download Festival 2018 it was great to see the band back again playing to a much bigger crowd. As the first notes of ‘Burn It’ rang out the entire tent turned into a warzone with everyone both on the stage and in the crowd moving non-stop until the end. With the huge pairing of ‘Made In America’ and ‘One Of Us’ coming not far behind it was a brilliant showcase of just what the band had achieved so far in their short spell. With a short break for the band to show off their technical prowess with a drum solo and beatbox which included all three members hitting the drums as it came to a climax. Unfortunately due to the nature of a drum solo it did sap some of the energy from the crowd and the band had to put in more effort to the second half of the set to bring it back up. Luckily the setlist had been set up so that the huge ‘Out of Control’ could restart the movement with a bang. As the bands set drew to a close with ‘Hunting Season’ it was clear to see that the tent was back up to fever pitch – pun very much intended. As the band left the stage it was clear that through these demonstrations they were attracting a huge following and were only going to grow even more from here. With the headline demonstrations later in 2019 it was clear that there is no stopping FEVER 333 and that is very much a good thing!

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Fever 333

Enter Shikari – Avalanche Stage

For most bands following the explosive and very impressive FEVER 333 would be a tough challenge but luckily for me today final band and Avalanche Stage headliner Enter Shikari were the true champions of live performances and were on top form. Having previously headlined the Zippo Encore Stage in years gone by it seemed to be a downgrade to be headlining the third stage however the confines of a packed out tent complete with the Intimate venue tour they had done earlier in the year brought the perfect atmosphere to the set. Starting out with ‘The Appeal & The Mindsweep I’ was a master stroke with the entire crowd screaming along and following it up with my personal favourite Enter Shikari Song ‘Quelle Surprise’ it really was one giant mosh pit from the very beginning. With a very varied setlist covering all aspects of Enter Shikari’s sound it really was musically impressive and went to show that a band can experiment outside of set genres and pull it off perfectly jumping from the huge anthems of ‘Take My Country Back’ to the heaviness of ‘Slipshod’ to the technicality of ‘There’s a Price On Your Head’. After displaying the wide variety the band have, they decided to take it up another notch with the new version of the ‘Quick-fire Round’ which always goes down a treat at their shows. Amongst the usual heavy hitters the inclusion of a new ‘No Sleep Tonight’ remix went down perfectly, it really was a masterclass in how to mix songs perfectly and as the bad finished up with the fantastic ‘Live Outside’ there wasn’t a single person who left the tent without a smile on their face having just witnessed a perfect set. I may be biased given that they are my favourite band but seeing Enter Shikari play live is one of the most incredible things in music currently and certainly a must if you haven’t already. They were certainly the perfect way to end the whole festival on a huge high with easily the best set of the week for me personally. I can’t wait to catch them again in the summer playing at Leeds Festival.

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Enter Shikari

 

 

Review – Download Festival 2019 (Friday)

Download Festival 2019 – Friday

As June rolled around, a hundred thousand people ventured down to the hallowed turf of Donington Park to attend the UKs best rock and alternative music festival. With headliners of Def Leppard, Slipknot, and Tool there really was something for everyone. After a couple of days camping in the rain, it finally started easing up a little on Friday the bands started to hit the stage.

Kvelertak – Zippo Encore Stage

Opening up on Friday for me were Norwegian rockers Kvelertak on the Zippo Encore Stage! Matching the energy perfectly of Download. Musically the band were very impressive however they were let down at start by vocals not quite keeping to the same quality. It seemed that vocalist Ivar Nikolaisen would rather run round the stage celebrating his birthday a little too hard than sing the songs. After their rough start Kvelertak managed to pull it together by the time they hit their two most known tracks ‘Blodtørst’ and ‘Mjød’ and finished up with the great ‘Kverletak’! A decent band to start of the festival with and one that set the bar pretty high for all bands across the weekend.

Kverletak

Conjurer – Dogtooth Stage

Following up next on the Dogtooth stage were Conjurer, a band that I picked up at 2000trees last year but unfortunately due to set timings missed them. They were one of my must see bands of the weekend and they were certainly worth the wait. To sum their set up in one word it would have to be heavy! Playing a crushing but emotion filled set everything was pitch perfect for the band. Switching between the two vocalists work perfectly and let the bassist run round in the crowd. The drumming was done to perfection and finishing off with a huge circle pit really showed just how impressive Conjurer’s set was. I’ll definitely be catching them at their headline tour in October when it passes through Leeds.

Conjurerer

Clutch – Main Stage

Taking to a packed Main Stage were the rock and roll titans Clutch! Having honed their craft over the years it was no surprise that they sounded incredible. As it had finally stopped raining for the first time of the day they definitely picked up the party mood and the crowd were more than obliged to join in. With riffs for days and some killer solos it was clear to see why they had been moved up from playing the Zippo Encore Stage back in 2012 to high up on the Main Stage this year! Certainly a band to listen to if the Classic Rock N Roll is your choice of music! Finishing off with their masterclass of ‘Electric Worry’ went down a storm and really closed their set out on a high!

Clutch

Zebrahead – Avalanche Stage

Continuing the party theme were none other than ‘Mother Fucking Zebrahead Bitch!’ or MFZB for short! Coming out swinging with huge track ‘Rescue Me’, it was clear that the crowd were in full force at the Avalanche stage this afternoon. With the typical crowd kneeling down and jumping up happening to great effect and circle pits galore it’s clear that Zebrahead are a band in demand and them announcing they’ll be back in September lit the crowd up even more than before! Newer tracks such as ‘All My Friends Are Nobodies’ went down just as well as big hitters like ‘Falling Apart’ and to close things off with a band was their standout track ‘Anthem’. Zebrahead have the mix of singing and rapping really down to a T with the two playing off each other perfectly. This in addition to the huge guitar solos that soar over the top it is the perfect mix for a punk band to really start a party!

Zebrahead

The Interrupters – Avalanche Stage

Having only seen The Interrupters a few weeks back I was interested to see how the Download crowd took to them in comparison to Slam Dunk. Turns out The Interrupters has turned their game up to max, coming out of the gates in the Avalanche stage tent it was clear that the band were having fun and the crowd certainly returned the energy. Unsurprisingly playing a very similar set to the previous week it should have felt a bit off but everything sounded even better and more refined! Huge tracks like ‘She’s Kerosene’ and ‘Take Back The Power’ hit very hard and as the wall of death opened up down the middle it was very clear that everyone was on the same page. Changing things slightly with an Operation Ivy cover went down gloriously with the crowd and the chants to ‘Family’ as the band finished their set were deafening. Definitely one of the top sets on Friday and proof that Ska still has a place at Download Festival.

The Interrupters

Slash feat Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators – Main Stage

Taking a short break from the Avalanche Stage and returning to the Main Stage I went to catch Slash feat Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. Given the opportunity to not only catch one of the most famous guitarists live but also one of rock’s most incredible voice, I couldn’t turn it down. Coming out the gates strong with ‘Call of the Wild’ it really showed that everyone was continuing the day’s theme and being on top form. After a few tracks the weather gods had decided a brief rainstorm was due but Myles Kennedy was on hand to dedicate a song to Lemmy and by the time the band started ‘Driving Rain’ it had stopped completely. With a huge sounding version of ‘World on Fire’ to finish the show it really hit home just how good this mix of artists were and why there were so many people watching.

Slash feat Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators

Me First And The Gimme Gimmes – Avalanche Stage

Heading back to the Avalanche Stage, my last band of the day were the very unique Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. A self-proclaimed cover band they took all the classic tracks you know and love and gave them a very unique punk edge. The entire set was a celebration and the crowd were dancing from start to finish. Starting with a version of Cher’s Believe will give you an idea how this band works. Whilst the music may have been a parody the musicianship certainly wasn’t. Everyone played their instrument to the top level with each track sounding even better than on record. A Supergroup filled with Punk legends such as CJ Ramone (The Ramones) on Bass and up and newer artists like Stacey Dee (Bad Cop Bad Cop) on Guitar and vocals, there really was something for everyone in the set. High points in the set for me had to be the people crowd surfing during ‘Uptown Girl’ (A sentence I never thought I’d write) and the huge singalong to ‘Rocketman’. As the band finished their set there was just enough time for an encore of Paula Abdul’s ‘Straight Up’ to really finish the party in style for day one of Download Festival 2019.

Me First And The Gimme Gimmes

Review – Dream State

Date: 14th April 2019

Venue: The Key Club, Leeds

Supports: As Sirens Fall, Parting Gift

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Starting the night off were local band As Sirens Fall. Throughout the set they managed to cover just about every part of the alt-rock genre with their list of songs ranging from indie rock all the way to post hardcore. Unfortunately for the band the first few songs were a little muddy with everything sounding at the same level in mix. Luckily this didn’t last the entire set and as they worked through their set the talent and potential showed though. This was especially clear during their heavier tracks with the high vocals providing a nice contrast to the heavier music coming from the rest of the band. There was certainly no lack of energy from As Sirens Fall either as they spent the whole set running around, working the crowd well. A decent set from them as the opening band in preparation for the remaining bands to hit the stage this evening.

Having seen Parting Gift previously I knew the spectacle was about to follow. Going for an atmospheric post hardcore style similar to Dream State they came out to building synths and guitars. The mix of heavy and slow songs worked spot on with Parting Gift finding the perfect balance across their set. The crushing heavy parts were enough to get the crowd banging their heads before the incredible vocals came through to really show the range that the band have. Everything worked in the band’s favour with the crowd getting nice and involved throughout matching the bands energy. Finishing off the set with their top track ‘Asleep’ really showed just how incredible they are. A smashing support slot to build the crowd for Dream State and hopefully a sign of good things to come in the future for Parting Gift.

Parting Gift

The final band on stage for tonight were Dream State. After seeing these guys a few times over the last few years I knew that they were going to put on one hell of a show and given that the show was pretty much sold out it sounded like everyone was finally starting to realise just how good they are.

Coming out swinging right from the start with ‘New Waves’ it was clear to see that tonight was going to be a memorable one for both the band and the audience alike. Within the first couple of songs the crowd were jumping around and screaming the words at the top of their lungs. With the band clearly shocked at the amount of people that had turned up to see them they smashed through new song ‘Hand In Hand’ with perfection. Setting herself apart from most vocalists CJ showed just how much the songs meant to her, emphasising this with the emotion and rawness in her vocals really adding an extra layer to the performance. Alongside the set of songs from both EPs there were also a few surprises thrown in with a brilliant cover of ‘Crawling’ by Linkin Park which went down a treat with the crowd as well as a taste of one of the songs to come off their new album which certainly gave everyone a lot to look forward to when it releases. Packing that many great songs into a set meant that it flew by. This wasn’t helped by the fact it was a slightly shorter headline set than usual, however as they say – good things come in small packages!

With their debut album on the way shortly it definitely feels like this run of shows will really push Dream State onwards and upwards. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them playing much larger venues very soon and they certainly deserve it!

Dream State

Review – Blood Youth

Date: 2nd March 2019

Supports: Lotus Eater, Palm Reader

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The first band taking to the stage tonight were the Glaswegian gloom metallers Lotus Eater. With hardcore dancers starting to move even before the band played their first note it was clear to see that these guys had already amassed one hell of a following. What followed was 30 minutes of pure noise! Breakdown after breakdown crashed through each one getting heavier than the last and to screams of ‘I want to see a murder’ it was clear too see that the energy from the stage was being matched by the crowd. One of the first playthroughs of new track ‘Mother’ really showed that these guys are on the up and are only going to get bigger from here. Keep an eye out for these guys hitting the big time in 2019 after signing with Hopeless the world really is theirs to take over!

Filling the main support slot tonight we’re Nottingham lads Palm Reader. One of the success stories of 2018 it was a joy to see these guys get announced as a support and they certainly did not disappoint. Smashing through a whole host of tracks the band really showed how they could go from ethereal guitar tones to guttural breakdowns in a matter of seconds. They really are the complete package and with sets like this I’m really looking forward to catching these guys again later on in the year. Hits like Swarm and Internal Winter all filled the room with energy and really hit home how much this band are one of a kind. The one thing to take away from this set was that they have succeeded in somehow making all their tracks sound different but still quintessentially Palm Reader.

The final band to take to the stage this evening were headliners Blood Youth. Given the amount of love they receive at The Key Club for their hometown shows it no surprise that they keep on coming back each time. The hype for them this time was just as great with their new album starve being released just a few days before the tour. Opening the night with {51/50} to build the mood it was clear from the beginning that tonight was going to be focused on the release of Starve. With over half the set list being from their new album, Blood Youth’s dedicated fan base showed that they had already had the album on repeat as every word of the tracks from their new album was screamed back at them! With some of the top tracks from Beyond Repair thrown in alongside a throwback to one of their first songs in Closure it was a night that really showed that Blood Youth were on top of their game tonight. Leeds very much greeted them with open arms tonight with bodies flying left right and centre from the start and even plenty of crowd surfers. The night was well and truly theirs to bask in and if all shows on this tour follow suit then it’ll certainly be one to remember for these guys!