One of the things that I admittedly found a bit odd about the venue was that I had to buy a drink in order to get a “ticket” to give to the person on the door, who I then paid the entrance fee to. Aside from it being unnecessarily complicated – if the venue wanted more money, then why not increase the door fee? – it was the first time I’d ever had to buy a drink in order to gain entry to a show, and I have been to hundreds of gigs in countless different venues. I do realise this is a very petty complaint to have and this doesn’t have any bearing on my reviews of the bands, but this was just something I found a little perplexing.
The first band of the night, Hybrid.9, got things off to a good start. With their catchy blend of rock and melody, I was particularly interested by the fact that they all seemed to share vocal duties, with different members taking the microphone for different songs. It kept the set quite fresh and interesting, as this isn’t something you see often. Whilst admittedly their sound wasn’t the most original, they still put on an interesting and engaging show.
Following them was Steel Trees who, put simply, were absolutely incredible. As their set began, I got a bit of an Exit_International vibe from them (never a bad thing) and they just grabbed my attention right from the get-go. Frontman Tom was a bit of a character, frequently joking with the crowd and his bandmates, even getting the crowd to shout “f**k you Steel Trees!” at them. I also found it particularly entertaining when it was declared they wanted a wall of death and they split the small crowd down the middle, only for nobody to do anything when the song actually got going. They were an a class act – I fully recommend going to see them if you get the chance.
It was then time for the first set from Zebedy, for which they chose to play their new album Marionette in full. Having listened to the album in great detail whilst I reviewed it a few weeks ago (and as a side note, I definitely recommend buying a hard copy of it as the inlay and booklet are stunning!), I was very interested to see how the tracks translated in a live environment. Naturally the setlist was self-explanatory and it really showcased just how well-constructed the album was as the tracks just blended together so well.
When I reviewed this album, I mentioned that I thought Glass Cage dragged a little due to the length. In a live setting, this wasn’t really the case and I enjoyed this a lot more than I did the studio version. Amusingly, the intro track for Silver Strings was played a track early, causing vocalist Jonny to sing “wrong song” until the problem was rectified. I was especially excited to hear Stitches, my personal favourite of the album live, and I am happy to say that this did not disappoint – sounding just as brilliant and full of emotion as the album track. My only real complaint was the lack of crowd interaction, but that was probably just down to the fact they were doing a full play-through of the album, as when I last saw them there was plenty of it!
Following Zebedy was Artisfiction, who played a unique combination of rock and hip-hop. As the set began, it was something very different, and I liked it very much. However, as they continued, their songs seemed to all seem fairly similar, which is a shame because I would have liked a lot more versatility with the sort of music they were playing. They were still good and I enjoyed them, but it was just a little disappointing to hear several technically-amazing-but-similar songs in a row.
Unfortunately, it was nearing midnight when Artisfiction were finishing their set, and as I had a long shift at work the day after, I had to call it a night then in order to get home by 1am. This meant I missed Wolves and Zebedy’s second set, which consisted of more “familiar” material from their previous releases. I was especially gutted to miss Wolves as I’d heard a few good things about them, so I will definitely be going to see them at the next opportunity I get. I am also extremely glad that Zebedy played two sets because if they’d only played the one, I wouldn’t have got to see them at all!
Overall, it was a truly fantastic night full of brilliant bands. I just wish it had ran earlier so I’d got to see all of the sets!