w/Avarus, Solarshift and Rosen Bridge
Whittles @ Tokyo, Oldham
Review by Rob Sutton
I have been waiting to get a gap in my calendar to check this venue out for some months now as I have seen many pictures and videos of a massive outdoor stage. Although this gig was on the indoor stage, I still had a nosey at the other one. I must say both stages are sizeable here, great for gigs and perfect for a festival. The venue itself feels fresh and new with lots of seating, both inside and out, as well as a good selection behind the bar, perfect as I didn’t drive to this one. The toilets also are of a high standard even if someone seemed to have had a fight with some paper towels and littered them everywhere…
Tonight, we kick off with a new band for me, Rosen Bridge from North Wales. These boys combine Djent with Metalcore, which is apparent from the outset with a pair of ironing boards for guitars (8 strings); both Marcus and Eddie (guitarists) do well to provide not only tasty riffs but some lovely harmonies giving the whole sound a melancholy feel to it. This is backed up with Alex (vocals) using both clean and screamed vocal styles. It does end up meaning some of the songs do get stuck in your head. While some of Alex’s cleans were a little flat on occasions, he more than made up for this with the screams and his showmanship. Oh, and this guy has some of the best dance moves I have seen from a front man! Sam (bass) who is very loud in the mix adds a fantastic touch of groove to the sound and Rowan (drums) does very well to keep everyone in time, even with the addition of backing tracks and some fantastic pauses within the songs. I personally would really struggle to stay in time to these songs. All of this comes together to create a beautiful blend of aggression and beauty, a sound which I very much enjoyed and look forward to seeing again next month.
Second on tonight and for the second time it’s Solarshift. Last time I reviewed these Manchester based Nu/Metalcore brutes, they blew me away! This time was much the same, Ben was his usual charismatic self on stage and pumped the crowd up and got them off their feet. His voice again was cracking, both growls and cleans. Now, with this stage being much wider than the stage in Wigan, it was much easier to focus on the rest of the band this time. Drum wise, he really goes for it! As I said last time it’s nothing too fancy but it gives the music so much energy and bounce. He is well into this and looks like there is a spring in his chair with the amount he is bouncing. Sadly, with the guitarist and bassist just stood there, barely moving for most of the set, you really lose the feel. For example, Ben will shout bounce and he will, whereas the other two will stand there and look at each other. It is sad as Solarshift have a unique sound and to me probably the best overall in the underground Manchester scene and really will go far. But when these bigger stages come calling they may look a little out of place when half the band is stood still.
Continuing the bouncy vibe of this evening comes the third band Avarus, another band I have already reviewed. Since then, I have been listening to their latest EP “Parallels” a fair bit which meant I was annoying the people around me by singing along to quite a few of their tracks. This was greatly helped by the fact they sounded big tonight. Each instrument was very clear to hear and with the fact they all were bouncing around and generally looking like they were having the time of their lives really helped. This was a much shorter set than last time and I did feel like I wanted a few more songs out of them. Their modern take on metalcore really feels tight and polished, showing that they wouldn’t look out of place on a big stage, it was just a shame they didn’t get the crowd reaction they deserved tonight.
Finally, we have Dead Romantic. These guys are a bit different from the previous three bands as there is barely a growl in sight. But this is not a problem as I am sat listening to these guys feeling 14 again. It’s nostalgic and really takes me back to my early teens. I really wanted to sing along however I didn’t learn any of the lyrics beforehand. These guys absolutely dominated this stage; this was even with a lot more space than the previous bands. They looked like they were in their element, like they were having fun and because of this the crowd did too. There was a proper party atmosphere for these guys! A couple of things that really caught my eye were Mike’s (guitar) fantastic solos that were scattered throughout the set; each one had its own feel to it. Another was the distinct lack of backing tracks, this all being done live by Sam (keyboards). It was really refreshing to see these done live as opposed to pre-recorded. These guys will go far; they strike a chord with many age groups and fan bases, all this despite only forming in April 2021 and this being their fourth ever gig. Honestly, this was a phenomenal achievement to be headlining a gig with this much confidence, ability and passion whilst only being a band for 6 months, simply incredible.
I loved this line up tonight, I loved the venue, I want to come back again and see how this all works outside. It’s a great place with great people and if the line ups are this good going forward this venue will surely be a staple for many bands on tour!
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