Kicking off the night was Nottingham based band On The Open Road. At the start of this set, the turn out seemed to stay quite low but after third track Smooth Sailing there seemed to be more people not only in the crowd but actively getting involved with the band too. As the set wore on, the band let out the Easycore mix they have been bringing for the past year since the release of their EP Storyteller. On The Open Road ended on a high with an energetic crowd and their two best songs Rainy Days and This Is Goodbye (I Tried). [7/10]
Local lads Not Today continued the night, which unfortunately felt very underwhelming following On The Open Road, feeling like one of the weaker sets they’ve played recently. The set started off strong with This Song Sounded Better In My Head and many songs stayed at this consistent level, yet they didn’t seem to take the band to any new heights. Alongside that, a cover of blink-182 mega-hit Dammit fell slightly out of time and it seemed it took an extra song or two to get the crowd re-involved with what was a somewhat energetic set despite it’s flaws. [5/10]
Highlives from Bristol then took to the stage and presented the crowd with what was close to being the best set of the evening. Every song was landing just right with the audience and provided what was a very energetic and enjoyable experience for everyone in the room. Deciding on what was the best song for the band is a hard job as both Walking Blind and Twenty Two created an amazing atmosphere to behold, as the crowd yelled back the words to frontman Liam Edwards. Ending on Better Days, there was a clear love for the music this band are creating from both Highlives and the crowd alike. [9/10]
After a few technical difficulties with guitars, Landmarks finally took the stage and quickly addressed the fact that this was their final ever set. In this moment – alongside many others in the set – the array of emotions was truly felt by every audience member. From the jokes made by bassist Adam and the fact that they brought on stage their old guitarist James McCormick to help them end the set in a memorable way, it created an atmosphere in the room that won’t soon be forgotten.
Starting on Worse for Wear, the band automatically gripped everyone and had words being yelled back from start to end. A highlight of this set was the track Backpacks which led on to 40mg which nicely rounded off the final ever set for Landmarks. On the whole, this set was what it meant to be: an amazing farewell filled with energy and passion from the band and crowd alike. [10/10]
Following on from the bitter sweet end of Landmarks is Six Time Champion, who managed to pick up the ball and get it rolling again with an explosive entrance to their song Lost. As the set went on, there were many highlights that showed just how strong this band are as a whole, not only through their live performances but also through their recorded tracks; Expecting Honesty and Cheek to Cheek were tracks that truly mustered most of the crowd’s energy unless you include their cover of Four Year Strong’sIt Must Really Suck To Be Four Year Strong Right Now. Closing their set was Let Me In, a song that yet again showed the bands pure ability to get a crowd involved with their set and was a perfect end to an evening jam packed with music. [9/10]
The second record from genre-fusers ISSUES is here, with Headspace as its title. The record is first since the departure of Scout Acord from the permanent lineup of the band though is still produced and played on by him.
During the writing/recording process, vocalists Tyler Carter and Michael Bohn spoke a lot about it being a risky album with a lot of genre-breaking and irregular tactics employed but the product has come out far differently; it sounds like a progression of the style and musicianship of the members and a further exploration of their individual styles and talents rather than a change entirely. The most remarkable exploration is that of bassist Sky Acord, who until now has been used predominantly to play djent/metalcore-style riffs on his 5-string but you just have to listen to first single The Realest to hear that his funky, rhythmic style is coming out in full swing on this record.
Following the release of the Diamond DreamsEP, the band have incorporated some of the acoustic-sounding electronics in the start of some tracks (most notably to kick off Yung & Dum) and this brings a new feel to the tracks that the mainly industrial and garage electronics of the first full-length never brought; an emotion to a sound that is generated by a machine. In addition, the clean(ish) vocals from Michael mark a move in his role in the band from “screamer/unclean” to just an all round “vocalist”, and his slightly more gruff voice contrasts nicely with Tyler’s pop/hiphop-mastery in his vocals and when combined with the electronics makes for some beautiful moments within the fibre of the tracks.
The album is littered with the metalcore influences especially in the guitar and drum parts with downtuned guitars often as low as drop A# and sometimes even A, with a lot of open chording and dystopian bends, coupled with double-kick beats and cymbal crashes over the top which leave the record being pretty heavy, especially in tenth track Blue Wall.
Looking just from a vocal perspective, the harmonies of Tyler’s cleans, Michael’s semi-cleans and uncleans and backing/gang vocals bring a huge sound that can be matched by very few bands in the modern market and when this is coupled with Sky’s funk basslines and the super heavy rhythm of drummer Josh and djent-style leads from AJ it makes an (in parts) unbelievably heavy yet inherently listenable 13 songs and frankly this is one of the best releases of the last 12 months.
Standout songs from the 13 are first single The Realest for its fantastic opening to the record and setting the tone for the new ISSUES era, second single COMA for its funky opening riff and soaring chorus while having crushing moments, and Hero for being the most soulful and demonstrative song of the lot for showing what this band is and what it can be, proving they can do what they like with aplomb.
Headspace will be released Friday May 20th in stores
The third (and presumably final) track to be released before ISSUES‘ Headspace is released next Friday is here, by the name of Blue Wall, and you can listen to it below!
The track follows the mood set by the first two songs, though is easily the heaviest of the three while it takes on the rap-metal style raps and heavy instrumentals with Michael’s screams over the top.
This record will be huge. Check it out next Friday (May 20th).