The Southampton stop marked the last date of the Rise Records’ Rise Up Tour, featuring bands of the label. Headlined by Memphis May Fire and consisting of four stellar bands in the genre, this tour has been ripping through the UK for the last couple of weeks and tonight it’s time for Southampton to show them a good time. If the line of youths outside is anything to go by, this tour wasn’t one to miss and although the event is on an industrial estate the names on the bill will bring these fans anywhere.
Kicking off the night, Like Moths To Flames launch into the best-received opening set we’ve seen for a while. Ripping through their set, bounding around the stage and inciting the crowd, it isn’t at all apparent that these are merely the starter of the night. [7/10]
Next up, and easily the heaviest band on the line-up tonight, The Devil Wears Prada take to the stage. Bombarding the crowd with a stellar performance including tracks such as; To The Key Of Everygreen, Born To Lose and Supernova, tonight’s performance was a broad mix from their back catalogue as well as from their newest output; Transit Blues. Jumping around the stage, frontman Mike Hranica seemed to feed the entire set. Proclaiming to the crowd that he was not a Trump supporter, he got an echo of “fuck Trump” back at him. Drawing the set to a close, guitarist Kyle Sipress launched himself into the crowd, straight into a pit and proceeded to finish the last song from there on a sweaty but impressive note. [8/10]
The next band up have been a major selling point of this tour, Silverstein don’t venture over to the UK all too often and to catch them on a tour like this was too good of an opportunity for many to pass up. Having been a band for so long, it’s a sheer testament to their music that they still generate interest such as they do and the hype before they hit the stage was monumental. Stating that they like to play a mixture of their 102 songs and they like to play fan favourites as well as their own, they do just that. This set is pure bliss with tunes like; Ghost, Vices, Smile In Your Sleep and My Heroine. This set is non-stop gold for the fans, with a pit opening several times and the show getting rowdier. Set closer My Heroine had the biggest sing-a-long of the night with everyone shouting the words back at the band, it was a real throwback affair showing this band may have been around a long time, but they’ve got that staying power. [9/10]
When at last the lights dimmed for the final time the excitement in the room became almost a buzz. Taking to the stage, Memphis May Fire let off an arsenal of huge songs, it’s a real mixed bag of songs and there’s something for everyone. Alive In The Lights brings out their first scrum of the night, arms and legs fly in the pit and there’s a huge sense of enjoyment emanating from it. Asking the crowd to sing-to-sing it like it’s their own, Miles Away brings out all the feels and the sound of the crowd is huge. The Sinner brings new life to the pit and things get rowdy. Surging with life, the crowd really give this one their all, throwing back with such a classic from MMF’s back catalogue. The encore; Legacy has us all wondering if the night really has to end, it’s one last time for the band to show us why they’ve gotten this far and why they’re going to go even further. It’s the loudest sing-a-long thus far and such a high note to end on. [9/10]
This show is a real triumph for all bands on the line-up and for Rise Records as a showcase of the talent being cultivated by them.
In a cellar underneath one of Kingston’s alternative pubs isn’t where you would think to look for one of the most understated tours currently tearing through the UK. Since previously having been in Paramore, Josh Farro is someone you’ve likely seen playing festival main stages and arenas, this small and intimate show is somewhat a treat. Rounding off the line-up with Greywind and Natives, this is a show about small bands on the brink of big things.
Irish pop rockers Greywind opened the show with a vibrant performance showing off front woman Steph O’Sullivan’s impressive vocal ability. With their debut album out late January, this show is all hype to get their own album cycle started and have new content being aired to an audience. Playing tracks like Afterthoughts and Safe Haven, had heads nodding and it won’t be a surprise to see faces from this audience at their headline shows.
Natives took to the stage and had the crowd enraptured with their combination of groovy beats and synths. Their delicate sound, described as ‘Tribal Pop’ is a real departure from Greywind. Taking the sound in new directions, they dart through Stop The Rain and This Island. Their tracks are more of an experience than just music, with each song taking the listener on a journey of sound using a variety of instruments and vocals. With tracks bringing out a sing-a-long in the audience, it was clear that Natives were a drawing point of the show and have a fanbase all of their own.
Rounding of the night, Farro took to the stage led by former lead guitarist from Paramore, Josh Farro. Whilst it may be daunting to start from the bottom after having been in a well established band in the scene, there are no sign of nerves. Launching into a set full of tunes off of debut album Walkways, it’s nice to see all eyes on Farro tonight. Bouncing around the stage with head banging galore, this is a quiet show yet at the same time it’s full of energy. Color Rush had the audience singing along to the chorus’, whilst Islands became a much more personal affair, Farro‘s vocals and the soaring guitar work becoming a seamless mixture of emotions. As the show moved forward Farro‘s keyboard and bass players came to centre stage to create somewhat of a choir vibe with Josh. Bringing out an almost folk sound, the atmosphere became very merry and relaxed. Moving on through the set it’s apparent that Farro can hold a stage with his own merit, the songs might be a different sound but they certainly make for easy listening.
Seattle metallers A Sense Of Gravity recently took the time to take us behind the meanings and makings of their full length release Atrament…
Drowning in the Ink
Brendon: This was the last track written, though we’d planned out exactly what we wanted to do for it early on. The swell at the beginning is the reversed audio of the final chord from the end of Spectre (the closing track from Travail), so Atrament picks up right where Travail left off. Then it goes right into a grand symphonic opening to the album, tying in reharmonized, reinterpreted themes from Reclusive Peace, Manic Void, and Shadowed Lines.
Morgan: This song I actually wrote before I joined A Sense of Gravity. A little bit of rearranging and it worked perfectly with the sound of the band. It’s a balance between the technical and aggressive aspects of our sound and the melodic and progressive aspects, all condensed into one shorter song.
B: This is our headbanger – sometimes it’s the most satisfying to be able to groove out uninterrupted to a fun, full-on metal song. The second riff was actually the first riff I wrote for A Sense of Gravity back when David and I started the band in 2011, but it didn’t make it on the first album. The first riff was written by CJ during the Travail writing process, but it wasn’t until 2015 that CJ and I got together and hammered out the rest of it in one or two writing sessions.
B: My goal for this song was to write something with a really solid, danceable groove despite the fact that it’s in 13/16. I based the entire song on one unique rhythmic pattern that repeats itself throughout, and then reinterpreted it in lots of different ways, taking it from one extreme to another.
Artificially Ever After
M: I wanted to explore the more progressive elements of our sound with this one. You can hear older prog rock influences mixed in with our more modern heavier style. From 70’s inspired prog to technical metal to a spacey polyrhythmic tapping section, this one covers a lot. The big chorus helps to connect all of these parts together.
B: This was one of the last songs written for the album. I wanted something slower and heavier to break up all of the constant fast and technical riffs we ended up writing for this album. Interesting fact: the “guitar solo” in the middle is actually a keyboard solo played by Brandon. I originally wrote this to demo a guitar virtual instrument for the company Impact Soundworks, and we liked it so much that we kept it for the final version of the song!
Guise of Complacency
B: This is the “shredder” of the album. Inspired by technical death metal, but with elements of all our other influences sprinkled about liberally, including power metal, groove metal, etc. The first fourth or third of the song was written immediately after the release of our first album, Travail, and the rest was written by Morgan after he joined as our new guitarist.
M: This one is all about atmosphere and dynamics. It starts like a ballad and slowly builds tension into the groovy metal section in the middle. Everything builds to the epic ending of the song. CJ’s vocal work on this is incredibly powerful and it is a feature for the amazing range and versatility of his singing.
M: Brendon and I wrote this whole song together. It was a really fun way to write and all of our ideas worked really well together. This is a groove based song, with the entirety of the song based around one rhythmic pattern. That pattern is used in many different ways throughout but helps to add a cohesion to the song. This one also features a killer guitar solo by Brandon, the longest solo on the album.
B: This fast and thrashy song was actually written during the Travail writing period, but we decided it didn’t fit on the album anywhere, so we held onto it. My main inspirations for the track were Extol, Enslaved and Opeth, but it ended up not really sounding like any of them!
M: The ballad of the album. Brendon wrote the opening groove, classical guitar part and melody. I loved it so much I decided to finish it. The middle portion of this song features a pretty interesting part where 3 different time signatures are happening at once. The anthemic ending of this song is one of my favorite moments on the album and also features my favorite solo on the album (a dual solo between Brendon and myself).
M: The closer of the album is a beast of a song. A crazy guitar/keyboard unison, manic (pun intended) riffs, huge power metal chorus, insane solos and the climatic moment of the album which ties everything together. This is one of the more aggressive tracks on the album but that intensity makes the ending even more powerful. Brendon’s amazing orchestration is the perfect to end this album.
With their recent release Devil May Care only just behind them, we had the chance to chat with Annisokay about touring, musical inspirations and the time they got stuck in Vienna briefly…
M: Rarely do a band release an album only a year after the previous one, is there a particular reason why?
A: We were pinched for time getting everything sorted for the release date of the 11th of November. We hadn’t planned to release a new album one year after the last, it just happened!
M: You’d seem to fit on an Impericon Festival line up, musically – so what would your dream tour or festival appearance be?
A: We all grew up with Nu Metal so a childhood dream would be to tour with Limp Bizkit, Korn or Deftones.
M: Often UK bands say they love touring mainland Europe, is this the same vice versa?
A: Yes! It was a dream come true when we were able to tour the UK in 2015. To have the opportunity to play the big British cities where so much rock music was invented is a big privilege. And of course it’s extremely exciting to tour in different countries and to see the world. It’s always a big adventure.
M: The style of music you play was very popular pre 2010 and seemed to die out within the last couple of years, so with this new album especially – are you trying to revive the post-hardcore/metalcore scene or just simply playing what you love?
A: We had really short time to write this record so we just did our own thing: maybe it was a good thing that we didn’t have time to check out what other bands were doing, or what the current trends were!
M: What’s the most interesting tour story you have?
A: Hard question because touring is a lot of daily routine, but on the other hand every night is special and unique so it’s hard to pick. One time we were on tour with The Word Alive and our nightliner tour bus broke down in the middle of nowhere of Austria. We were on our way to Vienna which is always a good crowd. It’s maybe not the most exciting story but we will never forget how lost we felt and we didn’t think that we’d make it to the show. But luckily the agency managed to organise a coach for holiday trips and we made it to the show in time, even with a dotty Austrian bus driver who even we Germans couldn’t understand.
M: Where do you see yourself being this time next year?
A: Hopefully we’ll still be a band playing as many live shows in as many countries as possible!
M: Which song off of Devil May Care are you most proud of musically?
A: We all have our own favorite songs on the new record Devil May Care, but one special song is the first single What’s Wrong because it was the beginning of a new era. We wrote this song long ago before the rest of the record and it’s our first song with social-critical lyrics. For a long time we tried to avoid being a political band and we’re still not one, but you can’t just write songs about yourself, or about love and loss. Politics isn’t just some business of the government, it’s our daily life.
M: Is there a song that made you want to pursue music, written by someone else?
A: We recently did a 4-track Michael Jackson Cover EP and one of the most valuable experiences was how relevant and up-to- date the strong social-critical lyrics by Michael Jackson still are. This crazy world repeats the same mistakes over and over again and we should listen closely to what Michael had to say 20 years ago to make this world a better place.
M: What is your opinion on pay to play gigs and tour packages, meet and greets?
A: Meet and greets are fun. The daily tour routine can be very monotonous and after a show usually you have to pack your stuff and drive right away to the next city, so meet and greets are sometimes the only opportunity to talk to your fans and listen to them. As for pay to play gigs, sometimes you have to participate on the travel or technical cost for a tour and you don’t get any money. That’s why selling merch is so important for a band.
M: How was your band formed?
A: We started this band in 2007 but it took a while to create a foundation of talented and passionate musicians. So this final lineup has been together for about two years. Ever since we can remember we were in love with music. With this band we try to make music professionally and we want to play shows all over the world. It took a long time to get this band together, but now we feel that we’re an ideal mix of young, dynamic and talented people who go hand in hand and are ready to take on all hurdles.
M: If you could collaborate with any artist or band who would it be?
A: Working with other great musicians is always fun. On the new record we had Marcus from Northlane and Christoph from Emil Bulls featuring as guest vocalists. Marcus lives in Australia so we sent him the song and he killed it right away. Christoph joined us in the studio for three and the connection and musical inspiration was amazing. It’s always a pleasure to work with other musicians and it’s exciting and inspiring to see what they can add to an Annisokay song.
M: How was tour with Fearless Vampire Killers last year and how did it feel to tour alongside a band with such a loyal following?
A: Our UK tour with FVK was a really great time. We met so much nice people and yes the FVK fans are pretty loyal. They welcomed us with open arms and open minds. The London show was one of the best shows we’ve ever played, so we’re very sad to hear that the band split up. These are really lovely guys and really talented musicians.
M: How do you feel you’ve progressed musically and personally since your first album back in 2012?
A: It’s hard to tell from our own point of view but a lot has happened since then. We think we’re all grounded to our roots and hopefully we managed to develop ourselves as musicians. We still enjoy some songs off our first record The Lucid Dream[er]. It was only released 4 years ago and it feels like ages ago!
“Head Under Water covers the idea of how dealing with depression and anxiety can sometimes just feel like you are drowning in a sea of hopelessness, the ball and chain in the imagery showing how you can feel chained down by those struggles and anchored at rock bottom.” – James Harris
Better Than Never recently let us have an insight into the makings of Learning To Swim, their first single and music video from Head Under Water…
‘We picked the track Learning to Swim; to be our first music video from the new EP mostly because it was the track which resonated with us the most. I don’t want to say it’s the best song on the record, but it definitely speaks most candidly about a lot of the stuff going on in our lives since our last release. The song encapsulates the whole record really well, because it doesn’t just talk about the rough times but more so getting through them. It addresses why it’s still worth fighting, even when it just seems pointless. We asked our friend Keir to help us shoot the video and he gladly obliged. Much like we’re a band trying to get our feet off the ground, he’s an aspiring filmmaker in a similar situation, meaning it was sort of a match made in heaven. Perhaps though, we’d have preferred a match of ourselves and Christopher Nolan, but we like Keir so we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt!
With the narrative of the video, we wanted to encapsulate the rough times. But we also wanted it to be a little over the top and dramatic, to help reinforce the song’s intention of saying ‘it’s not all doom and gloom and everything always gets better’. The shoot went surprisingly well – forgetting a cock up on our bassists Jake’s part where he actually booked the pool we were shooting at, for the wrong day. We were pleasantly surprised by this though because as far as Better than Never cock ups go, this was relatively small. Ultimately we knew that once the stress of rearranging that was out of the way, we should have a clear run for the rest of filming.
The video wouldn’t have been possible though without the help of our good friend Kei from Coast to Coast. Riding a bike straight into a pool definitely wasn’t the most daring of stunts, but none of us were up for doing it. He did also get to destroy our Macbook and bass though, so maybe that was a kind of retribution for him.
One of the best parts from shooting the video was being able to visit the fair. Most of us haven’t been since we were kids and to go back and do it with your best friends, regardless of shooting the video, was a memory we’ll have forever. Admittedly we remember it being cheaper when we had our parents to pay for us though. For the next release we’ll definitely be asking our label Fox Records for a ‘fair’ budget so we can go again. Overall were really proud of the video, we had such a fun weekend shooting it which we really hope shines through when you watch it, that’s what this band is all about.’
Ahead of her upcoming album Goodnight City being released January 20th, Martha Wainwright has announced a UK tour alongside the shows currently announced with Ed Harcourt. Goodnight City is comprised of 12 tracks, half of which written by Wainwright and the remainder by close friends and relatives.
Dates are as follows:
Tue 17th DUBLIN, Vicar Street
Thu 19th BELFAST, Redeemer Church
Sat 21st GATESHEAD, The Sage
Mon 23rd BRIGHTON, Komedia
Tue 24th BURY ST EDMUNDS, Apex
Wed 25th BRISTOL, St Georges
Thurs 26th CARDIFF, Tramshed
Fri 27th LEEDS, City Varieties
Sat 28th MANCHESTER, O2 Ritz
Mon 30th BIRMINGHAM, Town Hall
Tues 31st ASHFORD, Revelation
Wed 1st SALISBURY, City Hall
Thu 2nd LONDON, Roundhouse (with Ed Harcourt in the round)
Fri 3rd GLASGOW, O2 ABC (Celtic Connections with Ed Harcourt)
Tickets available now.