w/ In Which It Burns & Scarfoot
G21 At The Saddle Rock Bar, Chester
Review by Beth Jones
Another Friday, another trip to the G21! This week’s entertainment was being brought to us by a familiar name in the shape of Scarfoot (but with their new bass player) and two names who were completely new to me – In Which It Burns and Arkdown. Sadly, Rick was laid up with his back again, so I took my substitute gig companion and oldest child, Sian.
For those who haven’t been to the G21, it is an intimate venue created from an old stable building at the back of Chester’s best rock venue, The Saddle Bar. It is a great place to spend an evening and this is something that I am going to rant about in a bit, so be warned! First, to the bands!
Having seen these guys on a number of occasions before, we knew what they were about, and regular listeners will know that I have always said that they were ok, but something was missing. Enter stage right their new bass player, Rhys, and bingo! This was what I had been waiting for from these guys! It felt so much tighter than it was before, and Vocalist/Guitarist Oliver Carins and drummer Phil Eakins, the backbone of the band, looked so much happier and content with the sound. Everything had more depth, more confidence and more groove. They have also filled the gaps between songs and developed more of a stage presence. I am so happy to be able to write this about them – there is nothing more pleasing than seeing a young band find themselves and look genuinely content and relaxed. This enjoyment also rubbed off on the crowd, and they were grooving along with them for the whole set. Whilst they were probably the lightest band on tonight’s bill, they have a chunky sound, enhanced by the gruff dual vocals of both Oliver and Phil. The new bass sound, with little fills, and more complex riffs really complimented this and I am really excited to see where this rebirth takes them next!
In Which It Burns
Because I like to go into things with no preconceptions, I had no knowledge of these guys at all. From their name, I had had a guess at what type of band they would be, and I wasn’t sure whether I was going to like them or not – this is the beauty of actively seeking out new music. From the first riff, my ears picked up, and by the end of the first song, my mind was made up – they were bloody good!! Joining us all the way from Pembrokeshire, these guys deliver heavy grooves and roaring vocals, and would be enjoyed by fans of early Metallica, through to Pantera but also fans of more modern, Djent style Metal. They were really tight and well-rehearsed, and a special mention must be given to drummer Eugene Lowe, who was an absolute machine! I was gutted Rick wasn’t there to see it to be honest, as he would have been falling over himself with superlatives to describe this guy’s rhythms! They all had a great presence, and their personalities and technical prowess stood side by side to create a brilliant performance – they even had a pit going at the front for one of the songs – not an easy thing to start in the G21!
Our headliners tonight were joining us from Sheffield, and from their logo, I had deduced that they were probably going to be pretty heavy! They got a big tick in my book before they even started playing, as they had brought their own stage lights! Anyone who has followed any of my reviews / photography outings will know my biggest gripe is lighting! The G21 lacks lights and makes me say words my mother would not be proud of, however I was able to snap away to my heart’s content with these guys! They play a brand of modern metal that, in all honesty, has the ability to get right on my tits when it’s not done right, however these guys really know how to do it right and their performance was superb. Everything was like a well-oiled machine, from the stops and changes within the songs, to the programming of the lights, even down to the choreographed headbanging – nothing was out of place, nothing was over or under done and it was bloody spectacular! The shared vocals duties of front man Kyle Dawson and Guitarist Mike Dyson had a kind of call and response feel in parts, which really worked, and their voices blended together well to create a brilliant version of the scream type sound that has become synonymous with the modern metal style. When it is done well, like these guys do it, I love it! I really cannot find anything to criticise about them. Everything was superb. I picked up a copy of their EP “The Calling” and listened to it in the car on the way home, and their stage sound was just as good as the recording. I am so glad I was one of the select few in the audience and I can’t wait to see them again!
Right, so that is my band write up done, now I am going to rant about something that I have kept my mouth shut about up until now, but that came to a head at this gig and really pissed me off (anyone who knows me will know it takes a hell of a lot to piss me off).
Here we had three great bands, who have been playing up and down the country, working their backsides off to bring shows to people, and by the time Arkdown were on stage, they were playing to a handful of people – literally. One of the audience members was me, two were girlfriends of band members, and one was the gig organiser – if you take us out of the equation, the rest of the audience could be counted on one hand, but they still put everything into that performance, and played as if they were playing to a packed out stadium, and for that I have the utmost respect for them, because mentally that is tough.
This is sadly echoed in many town, in many countries globally at the moment, and then people complain when venues shut down – IF YOU DON’T USE THEM HOW ARE THEY GOING TO STAY OPEN DICKHEADS??!!! Don’t bloody complain that you didn’t know it was on, or that you hadn’t heard of the band – ACTIVELY GO OUT LOOKING FOR NEW STUFF!!! In an age of social media, where our entire lives are there at the touch of a button, we have become fucking lazy, and expect everything to be spoon fed to us – STOP IT! Check out your local venues’ Facebook or Twitter to see what is on! Search for your local scene and like any pages that come up that are connected to it, and check them out regularly to see what they are up to! In the old days we used to get the ‘What’s On’ guide somewhere in the back of the local free paper every week, and we would search through the paper to find it, and circle in red, or cut out and stick on the calendar the things we wanted to go to! There is zero reason why we can’t do the same now, using the technology that we all have in our back pockets, but we’re too fucking lazy!!! These bands, and hundreds like them on the emerging and underground scene, deserve more than we are giving them. They are working so hard to entertain us, with entry to their gigs costing the same as a pint, but we can’t be arsed. Please, for the love of music, sort it out!!!!
As I dismount my soap box, I would like to say a huge thank you to the bands for giving me a brilliant evening’s entertainment, and also a huge thanks to North East Wales Metal Productions again, for putting on this gig, and for working tirelessly to reboot the scene around here. And before anyone say “Well you only go because you get press passes” or “You get given CDs for free”, NO – we buy tickets for these gigs to help support the scene, and we buy the CDs to help support the bands, so suck it up, don’t make excuses, and get out to watch bands – you might find something you like! GRRRRRRR!!
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
All photos courtesy of Beth Jones and PhotograBee Images