w/Dreameater, Lost In Lavender Town and Aleya
The Bread Shed, Manchester
Review by Rob Sutton
I’m in Manchester again and I’m sure my body is beginning to suffer with all the gigs this month, but, after no gigs for a whole year I’m making up for it. Tonight’s line-up is on the progressive/Djenty side and at a venue I have come to love, The Bread Shed. Normally at this point I’ll bang on about lavatories and beer, the toilets are fine but there is not enough beer behind the bar, in fact nearly everything on tap is off?! Oh well sober it is!!
First on is Chester/Manchester based Aleya, a post-hardcore, modern metal band. It seems there are a lot of bands in this genre at the moment, so in the underground, a band needs to stand out. For me it is the guitarist, with a smattering of gorgeous solos thrown into nearly every song and are a pleasure to listen to, that gets my attention. Sadly, the sound for these guys is not the best and while the drums were also clear, the bass and vocals did get lost in the mix. This is a shame as the front man has a cracking range from what I’ve heard on Spotify but I just couldn’t hear much of him. I think, due to this, the crowd did struggle to engage with them which in turn led to a bit of a static show on stage baring the occasional bounce from the vocalist. I don’t want to say this was a bad set or that there was much wrong with it but I just couldn’t hear everything clear enough to form a good opinion.
So, for anyone that knows me, they will know instrumental bands really don’t do much for me, I always think to myself ‘when are the vocals going to kick in.’ This was not the case with Stoke based Lost In Lavender Town. Their sheer talent while playing is simply sublime! So many obscure beats for you to attempt to bang your head to along with beautiful harmonies to lose yourself in. I found myself thoroughly enjoying them and now completely understand why these guys won the Stoke M2TM a few years ago. This was all helped by the sound quality being so much better for them. It was easy to pick out each instrument and really enjoy the talent on display.
Things take a heavy turn for main support band Dreameater, the whole room seemed to spark into life with their opening track and heads were away banging. These guys are brutally heavy and loud. I love it! It’s breakdown after breakdown with hints of hardcore thrown in for good measure. These boys, despite only being a 4 piece, truly owned the stage, in some cases even hardcore dancing on stage and the crowd loved every single minute of it! A personal highlight from the set was when the genre completely switches to almost rap (yes he was scream rapping). This really marked them out for me. The ability to throw other influences in while still retaining their sound really kept you hooked. These boys are heavy, exciting and downright brutal! More please!
Last up and, who appear to be, a fan favourite of the evening is Sertraline, a band that would normally be a five piece but seem to be a bassist down. Sadly, this showed throughout the set as there was very little low end and also not helped by the sledgehammer before them. Never the less, their take on the prog genre is very enjoyable. There are some fantastic riffs and solos which are executed beautifully and with a massive smile on their collective faces, yes I don’t think either guitarists stopped smiling for the whole set and made everyone in the room seem like they didn’t have a care in the world. This is also helped by vocalist Lizzie’s enthusiasm and charisma on stage (pretty sure she was smiling for the full set too). She seemed completely in her element with the crowd singing back to her during almost every song. I can completely see why they have such a following and are playing Download next year and can’t wait to see what is to come from them, especially after hearing two of their new songs. However, there is a bit of a down side to the future as Lizzie has announced that this is her last tour before she leaves the band. Hers are huge boots to fill and I really hope her replacement can live up to the standards she has set. I look forward to it.
So, an impromptu gig on a Thursday, I enjoyed some serious talent and an instrumental band which is a first. It was a shame there wasn’t a bigger turnout, more beer on tap and the sound wasn’t great for some of the bands but it was an evening showcasing some serious UK talent and many more bands to see again!
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