#EventSpeaks: John Newman @ Concorde 2, Brighton – 15/10/19

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On Tuesday 15th October 2019, John Newman arrived in Brighton, to play a sold out show at Concorde 2, to promote his new EP, A.N.i.M.A.L. He was supported by sibling trio, Tors. Here’s what we have to say about the show…


Tors

I remember being fascinated when I first saw Tors support Tom Walker a couple of years ago, so was pleasantly surprised to see the trio of brothers return to Brighton. They still amaze me with just how full their sound is, despite there just being three of them, partially due to the (standing) drummer and his clever use of drum pads.

The three-piece sibling outfit produce some captivating sounds and somehow evoke a sense of nostalgia – they could easily fit on an emotive film soundtrack. If you haven’t seen them; I would highly recommend at least giving them a listen on Spotify, or heading to a show of theirs, near you.

Highlight: The three-part vocal harmonies produced by the guys is remarkable and adds a really interesting depth to their performance. It’s a wonderfully special thing to hear done live.


John Newman

The lights went down as an evocative instrumental and rhythmic lighting got the crowd pumped up for John Newman to take to the stage. As the track came to an end, he arrived to great applause and did something quite unexpected and unusual, performing the first part of ‘Not Giving In’ as just him and an acoustic guitar – upbeat but not a full-on sound to arrive on stage to…but it worked so well! It really showcased his incredible talents, before the full band joined him on stage to finish the rest of the track.

He proceeded to play a range of his biggest, most well-known tracks, including his collaborations with the likes of Rudimental and Sigala, all the while, getting the crowd singing and dancing along. He sure likes to move himself too, as he constantly puts his utmost energy into every song, including busting out his rather quirky yet distinctive dancing.

His vocals were fantastic as well – although a little raspy in places (however this is somewhat part of his trademark sound). He was accompanied by two brilliant female, backing vocalists and a tight band too.

However, possibly one of the best bits about the show, was his candid sharing of anecdotes and opening up about his feelings. He talked about his recent struggles with his physical health, as well as issues with his mental health too; making promises that he will get stronger and never allow people to take control of his creative processes again (which comes after a couple of songs he released that he felt were not true to himself). He also shared how he is coming out of himself a lot more now and wanting to perform more intimate shows and chat more to fans, than he did in the past – showing a great deal of growth.

One thing’s for certain, John Newman could quite easily pack a small, local venue or a huge stadium but regardless, he would have everyone in the place dancing and singing like mad, the whole way through. His energy is relentless and set list is packed with upbeat songs which you can’t help but lose yourself in. You must go and see him live when you get the chance!

Highlights:

  • The sheer energy John Newman gives the audience is highly infectious and his vocals are incredible to hear live!
  • The set list was sensational and packed with hits to get the crowd moving, constantly!
  • His honest and open approach to interacting with the crowd is refreshing and to talk about his own struggles makes him very relatable – and he clearly has a lot of love for it, as people constantly call out, “I love you John!”
  • It may sound odd, but the stage lighting really made the performance stand out too – Concorde 2 is a great, local venue with about 600 capacity but the lighting could easily have worked in a stadium, but it was amazing to see that work at a smaller venue.
  • The backing band and vocalists just make the experience even better – it would be quite easy for him to use backing tracks but it adds something for him to vibe off.

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📷 All of the photos are credited to Michael Hundertmark 📸
Why not give him a follow on Instagram and Twitter or check out his website.


 Setlist

Intro
Not Giving In
Give Me Your Love*
Feelings
Cheating
Losing Sleep
The Hardest Word Is Goodbye
Forever’s Not Long Enough
Mama
Animal
Tiring Game
Come And Get It*
Blame
Feel The Love*

Encore
Without You
Stand By Me
Love Me Again

These songs can be viewed in the YouTube playlist, below.


Finally, I want to say an absolutely HUGE thanks to John Newman and Tors for putting on incredible performances and to Warren Higgins from Chuff Media for setting this review up for me.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#EventSpeaks: IDLES @ Brighton Dome, Brighton – 29/03/19

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On Friday 29th March 2019, IDLES arrived in Brighton to play an excellent show, following their Brit Award nomination and in support of their second album, Joy As An Act Of Resistance. The band were supported by Crows. Here’s what we thought of the show…


Crows

There’s something instantly hypnotic about this band with their heavy, repetitive and dare I say, almost monotonous drone of sound that sits somewhere between Editors and something much darker. They’re definitely sat on the less pure side of indie and not necessarily for everyone but they’re stylistically edgy and even though the singer’s vocal is quite bland, it is intentionally done to fit with the style and somehow it just works…really well!

Highlight: I particularly loved the singer’s use of two different microphones – one for more crisp vocals and the other for shouts and harmonic wails that have tons of reverb on – it’s a pretty unique element to the performance. What’s more – he knows how to get lost in the music and really let loose!

Setlist

Silver Tongues
Demeanour
Wednesday’s Child
Empyrean
The Itch
Hang Me High
Whisper
Chain Of Being


IDLES

A hum of anticipation rang through the crowd as the lights went down and IDLES took to the stage. Surrounding the band, were a ring of strobe-like lights which continuously circled the band, getting progressively faster, as they launched into opening song, ‘Colossus’.

Whilst this is not a band I would normally enjoy, I can appreciate the energy that emanates from their performances, bringing punk into the modern, contemporary age.

The band don’t let up for a minute with their passionate, in-your-face and downright ballsy demeanour, fronted by Joe Talbot, who, throughout the show, makes references to now being sober and how he’s recently become a father. He also shares little anecdotes and passes comments on what he’s passionate about, like the importance of looking after each other, when you “argy-bargy” in the crowd.

This is shouty, grungy and lyrically dynamic punk that has picked up fans of all ages – a truly diverse crowd watched in awe as the band members got progressively more pumped up and not once, let the energy in the room, drop.

Even if they’re not your sort of thing, I still recommend checking them out; they put on a great show and they just continue getting bigger, so try and catch them at a more intimate venue, before they’re selling out arenas!

Highlights:

  • When both Lee Kiernan and Mark Bowen got off the stage and worked their way through the crowd to perform amongst the audience, sitting on the floor, before being crowd surfed back to the front…epic!
  • Joe Talbot’s energy throughout was infectious, particularly as he pumped himself up, punching his arms up and down in front of him, like he was operating a pneumatic drill!
  • As the band started their set, the circling lights were mesmerising and quite hypnotic and the audible chaos, the end of their set descended into after Joe left the stage, was equally amazing.
  • The genuine care Joe showed for his fans and the audience by looking out for them and also sharing anecdotes, really engaged the crowd.

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📷 All of the photos in this post, are credited to Damon Peirce  📸
Why not give him a follow on Instagram and Twitter or check out his website.


 Setlist

Colossus
Well Done
I’m Scum
Queens
Great
Danny Nedelko
Divide & Conquer
1049 Gotho
Love Song
Never Fight A Man With A Perm
Mother
Faith In The City
All I Want For Christmas (Is You) (Mariah Carey cover)
Benzocaine
Samaritans
Exeter
Television
Rottweiler


Finally, I want to say a big thanks to Rob from Sonic PR for making this review happen and also to both IDLES and Crows for putting on a great show!


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#EventSpeaks: As It Is @ Concorde 2, Brighton – 15/03/19

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On Friday 15th March 2019, As It Is arrived in Brighton for the final date of their The Intimate Depression Tour, in support of their latest album release, The Great Depression. The band were supported by Modern ErrorBellevue Days and Klae. It was an extra-special evening, not only because it was the last night of the tour, but it was a return to the city they started in! Here’s what we thought of the evening…


Klae

Klae are five-piece, female-fronted band from Brighton, who kicked off the evening with their blend of gritty pop rock. They have a tight, commercial sound to them, and clearly a loyal following is already building for them. They’ll be a local band to keep an eye out for with their atmospheric, airy guitar melodies and honest lyricism…though at times, some of the dancing seems a little contrived.

Klae


Bellevue Days

Next up, was the rather slick Bellevue Days – their performance was flawless and they have obviously honed their songwriting skills to perfection, with little fills and quirks in all the right places; whilst it makes their songs stand out, at times they change pace a little too often, meaning you can’t quite get into the groove, or the song appears to end, just as it seems to be building up to something more.

Personally, I preferred the backing singer’s voice, when he took the lead on ‘Faith’ and think he should definitely take the lead a little more, however, between the three vocalists, their harmonies are sensational!

They’re very much Weezer meets Brand New with a little Blur thrown in…one song in particular was almost like a carbon copy of Brand New though. All round, they’re a great live band and certainly have a good stage presence…even if the drummer did look petrified throughout the performance.


Modern Error

The last support to take to the stage was the intense, high-energy, Modern Error – an in-your-face, scream-metal band with solid production (in the form of atmospheric backing tracks) interwoven seamlessly with their skilful performance.

The band are nicely topped off with the lead singer’s screaming vocal which seems to come so effortlessly – though his attempts at more melodic singing weren’t quite as strong.

It’s clear that this band have found inspiration in the likes of Underoath‘s album, They’re Only Chasing Safety, as far as synth sounds merging with post-hardcore or metal sensibilities go.

The band’s octane-infused set really ignited the audience into a frenzy, creating swirling circle-pits and people manically moshing around. Modern Error are a well-rounded band with a clearly well-rehearsed stage presence and really know how to work a crowd; the only criticism…a little too much reaching out with one hand.


As It Is

Finally, As It Is took to the stage! Although each of the supports were well-rehearsed and their performances polished, the quality of this band is truly next-level impeccable, instantly demonstrating just how professional they are at this.

It might well have been the last night of their UK tour, and by their own admission, they were exhausted, but you definitely couldn’t tell…the energy they brought was magical, captivating even. The band are very much at home on stage – standing on speakers, thrashing round wildly, swinging the microphone round, for some perfectly-timed manoeuvres and Ronnie Ish even pulled off a little crowd-surfing…simply put, they owned that stage!

Having started out in this very city, the band shared their gratitude (a few times) for finally being able to headline their own show at the iconic Concorde 2, having watched some of the bands that inspired them, performing on that very stage. It was special thanks that went out to their fans, throughout the show, for getting them to where they are today and you could tell, their appreciation is genuine.

They may have visually changed their style since their last record, and their sound may have got a touch heavier than before, but at their core, they’re still quite the pop punk band they always were – they just have a little more ’emo’ edge to them now. They’re writing and singing about more taboo subjects, like anxiety, depression, self-harm, etc. but are managing to do so with sincerity and integrity. You can tell that their fans admire it too, singing back every word with equal the passion that Patty Walters sings out to them.

Watching this set, truly felt like watching the early days of the iconic punk rock/pop punk/emo bands I used to love, growing up – the likes of Good CharlotteNew Found GloryMy Chemical RomanceThe Used, etc. It was really something special and I’m certain that if this show was anything to go by, this band are only going to continue to grow to new heights in their career, from here. I would highly recommend seeing them live – they’ll draw you in and have you moshing around in an instant!

Highlights:

  • The way the band use the whole stage, to jump and spin around, interact with each other and even swing the microphone round, made the show something spectacular to behold.
  • Whilst the set was predominantly filled with material from their latest album, The Great Depression, there was also a good deal of older songs to please fans old and new.
  • Patty Walters‘ honest out-pouring of emotion and sharing of personal anecdotes with the audience, let them know that this is more like a family than just a band and their fanbase, even referring to them as family. His speech around mental health, and the way talking about this is sometimes perceived within the genre, was actually very touching and heart-felt – things like this can so often be cringey, when delivered by someone in his position, but actually, I found myself hanging on his every word, and if this is enough to save even one life, then it can only be a good thing!
  • The audience’s love for this band is raw and emotionally-driven too, making the atmosphere in the venue, electric. A few people were even brought to tears by their presence, their lyrics and the passion the band pour into their art.
  • It was actually a highlight in itself, just to see this band (who could so easily sell out a larger venue) performing to a smaller audience, in a more intimate setting, but without compromising any of the quality of their set and stage presence. It was a truly marvellous event!

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 📸 All of the photos of As It Is are credited to Chloe Hashemi – CCZH Photography 📷
Go and give her a follow on Instagram and Twitter, and visit her website.


 Setlist

The Wounded World
The Two Tongues (Screaming Salvation)
The Great Depression
The Reaper
The Handwritten Letter
No Way Out
The Fire, The Dark
The Haunting
Cheap Shots & Setbacks
Such Great Heights (The Postal Service cover)
The Truth I’ll Never Tell
You, The Room & The Devil On Your Shoulder
The Question, The Answer
Winter’s Weather
Patchwork Love

Encore
Okay
Dial Tones
The Stigma (Boys Don’t Cry)*

This song can be viewed in the YouTube video, below.


Finally, I want to say a big thanks to Patrick Marsden at Lout Promotions for enabling this review to happen but also to As It IsModern ErrorBellevue Days and Klae for making the evening such a special one!


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Hold Close – Time 🕐

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerHold Close are a Pop Punk band hailing from Springfield, Missouri in the USA. To date, they have had a couple of EP releases through Hopeless Records, across 2016 and 2017 but now, 2019 sees the release of their debut album, Time. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Hold Close - Time

We’re eased into the album with title track, ‘Time’ – an intro-style song, which starts off calm and rather understated, with a nice little gang vocal, riding on top of the acoustic guitar. It has quite a wholesome sound to the opening, with the lyrics, “You know time will always heal,” but by half way, bursts into a chaotic moment and a slightly heavier tone, giving us a sense of what’s to come…before calming back to the way it begins. It doesn’t last long before swiftly leading into ‘Hang Tight’, dramatically picking up the pace.

‘Hang Tight’ has an intense beat, you can’t help but get swept up in, especially as there’s a huge sense of ecstasy in the calmer moments. Near the end of the track, there’s a note that’s almost screamed before a moment of calm that comes back round as if the track is starting again – it’s marvellous.

The best tracks on the record have to be: ‘Breath’ – a beautiful track about losing someone. It’s so stunningly passionate and heartfelt that you hang on every word. The line, “Sometimes I pretend like you’re still here,” really gets me; ‘Tropical Depression’ is deeply engrossing track due to the vocal effects and the metaphor of a relationship being a-likened to a tropical depression is wonderfully poetic; ‘Here Again’ depicts a longing for someone you miss. Subtle synths swirl around powerful vocals in the chorus, which makes for a touching outpouring of emotion; lastly, ‘Separation’ makes for an epic close to the album – hauntingly beautiful guitar melodies in the chorus are met with great instrument pushes and gang vocals to really hit it home, dropping into a long, synth outro and subtle vocals.

Other tracks include: ‘Cast Me Away’ which makes for a slightly more traditional pop punk track, ‘Absent To Reality’ has a much darker tone than most on the record whilst ‘Cloud9’ has something similar about the synth sound and melody to Keane’s ‘She Has No Time’ – it’s the lyrics that mostly resonate with me; “Will I ever learn to dream again, Escape from all the things I fear and then, Find my path to seeing clear again, Make my way through what’s to come from this.”

The only real drawback about Time is that 3 of the 11 tracks are pretty short, acting as intros/interludes – sure they are haunting and give the listener a few seconds to pause, but it would have just been amazing if there were more tracks.

There’s a real maturity to this record that a lot of bands can only dream of – it’s not quite pop punk, it’s not quite alternative rock – it’s just damn good!

The occasional echo effects on the vocals, interspersed throughout the album, alongside the diverse song-writing and instrumentation, induce real moments and feelings of euphoria – it’s the kind of album you can just turn up loud and get completely lost in – engulfed by the melodies and production.

There’s a real maturity to this record that a lot of bands can only dream of – it’s not quite pop punk, it’s not quite alternative rock – it’s just damn good! The instrumentation is intricate and well-crafted, with deeply considered, honest and relatable lyrics that must have taken a lot of self-reflection.

There is a lot of emphasis placed on memories of love and people lost, right across the album and a very clear theme of time passing, reminiscing and some degree of healing coming from that. “Time will always heal” is very much a repeated phrase. A mantra.

Time is very much like the record of a pop punk band who have already had a lengthy career and matured, going on to create an album of well-considered, thought-provoking and sonically captivating music to push the boundaries of the genre…it’s just that Hold Close have achieved it early on in their career than others. The band have produced something wonderful with this album and I truly can’t wait to hear what they create next.

Rating

4-5


‘Time’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/time/1437338395


Time on Spotify

Tropical Depression (Official Music Video)

Breath (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Hold Close’s album, Time? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


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#Review: Afterlife – Breaking Point 🌡


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerAfterlife are a metal quartet from West Palm Beach, Florida, consisting of Tyler Levenson (vocals), Andrew McGuire (guitar), Tristan Edwards (bass) and Luke Walkinshaw (drums). Since signing to Hopeless Records, the band are now putting out their debut album, Breaking Point. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Afterlife - Breaking Point.jpg

The album bursts into life with serious tenacity, in the form opening track, ‘Sacrifice’ – a song laden with creepy vocal effects (somewhere in the same vein as Marilyn Manson) and come served up with a huge dose of angry, metal instrumentation.

From there, the album takes off into a flurry of metal-induced fury and it’s clear throughout, that the production quality of the record is impeccable. Not only is it a great quality record but there are a lot of layers to the tracks, making it interestingly chaotic, in parts. Unfortunately though, in places it feels like there is more style over substance and that the production and intricate instrumentation outweigh the lyrical content. For example, ‘Giving Back The Pain’ is a great song for crowds to mosh to and it has a certain commercial quality to it, but I hate to say it – lyrically, it is bordering on cringe-worthy. It’s clear what they’re trying to achieve, but I’m just not feeling it.

That’s not to say it’s all bad, by any means. ‘Throat’ has some quirky, downward spiral sounds and a catchy melody to it that is actually reminiscent of the early Eminem track, ‘Kim’, though the lyrics attempt to be profound but end up somewhat disjointed. ‘Breaking Point’ focuses on getting angry to the point that you snap and the motion of the chorus vocal is pretty captivating, while ‘Holding On’ has this brilliant bass-line leading into the track (and underpinning the chorus) with a well-written rap-style verse and an understated melody leading into the chorus, that make for a brilliant listen.

‘Grey Sky’ has a wonderful melody to the chorus line, “Where did your mind go?” that you can’t help but love – it’s gritty and raspy and really captivates the lyrical content about being trapped in your own dark thoughts.

The band’s performance throughout, is brilliant and Tyler Levenson‘s screaming is incredible – he has a great singing vocal too.

Possibly the best tracks on the record have to be ‘Karma’, which is a really great angry anthem to blare out when you just want someone to get what they deserve. “Try to run, try to run, try to hide, Karma’s coming for you bitch” – I mean God, it just oozes rage! And ‘Broken Home’ – the album doesn’t really let up on the anger front until this track, where suddenly it seems to get a little lighter in tone and whilst the subject is sad and there’s still a little grunginess to it, it’s not so fuelled by hatred and dark screaming – it’s more honest and self-reflective. It’s quite possibly the best track on the album.

As far as Hopeless Records releases go, this is not your typical release from the label – it’s a lot heavier but undoubtedly, it will have an appeal to corners of the metal market. In fact, it’s got elements of rap merged with metal, like Linkin Park meets Rage Against The Machine, but just not quite as well-crafted.

That all being said, the band’s performance throughout, is brilliant and Tyler Levenson‘s screaming is incredible – he has a great singing vocal too, but the frequently-used, rap-style verses just don’t quite make the mark (lyrically and stylistically) – perhaps as the band continue to mature, they will grow lyrically too.

I’m sure there will be a lot of support for this album, particularly from fans of Hopeless Records and perhaps those who’ve begun to venture more into the metal realm, from the softer, pop punk genre. However, for the band’s next release, I hope they will work on their lyrical content to match the great instrumental performances.

Rating

2.5


‘Breaking Point’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/breaking-point/1435412838


Breaking Point on Spotify

Throat (Official Music Video)

Holding On (Official Music Video)

Sacrifice (Visual)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this band’s new album? Is our review fair? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


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#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with Will Joseph Cook

Before his first, solo Brighton show, Matt got the chance to chat with Will Joseph Cook at The Hope & Ruin. Be sure to check out all the things they got to talk about…


   

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We were fortunate enough to catch up with up-and-coming indie-pop sensation, Will Joseph Cook before his first headline show at The Hope & Ruin in Brighton.

Since signing to Atlantic Records, Will has been beavering away in the studio, writing and recording songs, which he’s now out touring around the country and preparing for his debut album release…

We got the chance to speak to Will, before the show, about a whole host of things, including when we can expect an album, which films he’s enjoyed most recently, how the tour’s been going and of course, we played a game of ‘Would You Rather…?’ You can check it all out below…however as it goes on, you can hear one of the other acts sound-checking, so I’m sorry if it’s not too clear, we did our best.

Finally, huge thanks go to Will Joseph Cook for taking the time to speak to me and a special mention to Isobel from Whiteboard PR for setting up both the interview and the review of the show; I really appreciate it!

Don’t forget to check out our review of their Brighton show!

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#EventSpeaks: InMe @ Patterns, Brighton – 28/10/16


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On 28th October 2016, InMe arrived in Brighton for the final date of their 20th Anniversary Tour and it was amazing! Supported by Empire and Aaron Buchanan and the Cult Classics, it was a concert not to be missed!

We were fortunate enough to catch Dave McPherson for an interview before the show, which you can check out here…he gave some great responses to the questions we asked and an awesome game of ‘Would You Rather…?’ was played!


Empire

Empire are a high-energy, in-your-face, hard-hitting metal band who kicked off the show with a massive bang. I loved the singer, Joe Green‘s intensity when performing and his funky moves were captivating. This is definitely a band to watch out for!


Aaron Buchanan and the Cult Classics

Aaron Buchanan and the Cult Classics were next to take to the stage and they made a huge impact on the audience, getting them worked up for InMe. The stage presence exuded from the lead singer by the bucket load and his voice was impeccable throughout the entire performance. They had some great songs and good banter with the crowd. Great set guys!

Highlight:

  • The singer, Aaron Buchanan, had a great vocal range!
  • The band played a great drinking game with the audience called Buffalo.
  • There was a great stage presence by all the band members.

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InMe

After two great support acts, InMe took to the stage to raucous applause from the audience who clearly couldn’t wait to celebrate 20 years since the bands creation and they certainly didn’t disappoint.

Performing a whole host of songs from their debut album, Overgrown Eden, up to their most recent release, Trilogy: Dawn the band showed off an impressive array of tracks from a now, rather vast catalogue. Fans were particularly excited by performances of iconic tracks like ‘Lava Twilight’, ‘Firefly” and ‘Underdose’ from the band’s debut album and were chanting along to ‘7 Weeks’‘Safe In A Room’ and ‘Faster The Chase’ taken from the hugely successful White Butterfly.

Dave had the audience enraptured by not only his stage presence but his between-songs banter, telling the crowd the meanings behind some of the songs, thanking his fellow band members (in particular, drummer Simon Taylor, for “spending the last 20 years looking at my [Dave’s] backside”) and even telling the audience where they’d be after the show, so fans could come and chat/have a drink.

This band certainly deserve every success they have due to the loyalty they show their fans, fantastic craftsmanship behind their songs and their impressive, passionate and intense performances; here’s to another 20 years guys!

Highlights:

  • Dave’s incredible ability to switch between singing and screaming is just a marvel to behold!
  • The vocal harmonies between Dave and Greg McPherson were amazing; spot on!
  • The set spanned the length of their career (from Overgrown Eden to Trilogy: Dawn) and had the audience captivated throughout.
  • Good chat between songs and explanations about some of the reasons various tracks were written.
  • The band were very open to having fans come and hang out with them after the show, telling them where they were going for drinks – a really great, open and honest interaction with their fans.

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 Setlist

Myths & Photographs
Ferocity In Desire
7 Weeks
Lava Twilight
Nova Armada
Hymn: Ivory Elder
Safe In A Room
Her Mask (P.A)
Firefly
Reverie Shores
Legacy
Creation: Amethyst
Reverie: Aquarium
Underdose
Faster The Chase


Finally, I want to say a MASSIVE thanks to Jamie at Wall Of Sound for setting up this review and interview, thanks to InMe for putting on a great show and to Dave for doing the interview with me!

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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