LIVE REVIEW: Holding Absence, Bristol Exchange, 23/10/16

From a pop punk gig to the territory of melodic hardcore outfit Holding Absence, the gig at Bristol’s Exchange on Sunday evening went through numerous line-up changes as the date got closer. Initially a headline gig for Manchester pop punks Best Years, the boys unfortunately couldn’t make it due to transport issues out of their hands. Holding Absence, who had only recently been added to the gig themselves, stepped up to the mark.

First up were Better Than Never a pop punk band from Oxford. Fairly new on the scene, it was hard to escape an unpolished feeling through their set, but the energy that these lads put in was admirable nonetheless. Bringing an A Day To Remember style infusion of pop punk and hardcore, the meaty growls emitting from lead vocalist James Harris were consistent aside from one vocal slip owing to a fumbled microphone. This heavy vocal style was especially prominent Forty Eight, which they introduced as their heaviest track to date. For a band playing to a largely unfamiliar crowd, Better Than Never provided an energetic opening set. [6/10]

Pushing Daisies are of Bristol stock, and have played the Exchange venue before, so in some senses it’s common ground for this quartet. The band recently re-released their EP Stay Sad through Homebird Records, and they paid full homage to this EP as well as older material in their set. Pushing an intense emo-grunge style, vocalist Roberto Martinez-Cowles’ forceful vocals are laid over the top of impressive instrumentation. It’s clear that Pushing Daisies are becoming increasingly adept at playing their songs live, as there was barely a slip to be heard. The band put a solid effort into getting the crowd moving, and were rewarded with a stage dive and beer being knocked flying by an enthusiastic mosher. The passion this band put into their shows is impressive. [7/10]

Another Bristol band played third up on the bill, Highlives! There were quite a few Highlives t-shirts dotted around the room, and it was great too see people getting out to see local bands. The band have a range of musical style within the loose brackets of pop punk, throwing out some heavier tracks, their ‘cheesiest’ (their own words) song Through Vacant Eyes and a slightly slower one in the form of Twenty Two. This led to a set with a good amount of scope, and the band put a stunning amount of effort into their act, with vocalist Liam Edwards virtually gasping for breath between songs. The highlight of their set was the lead single from their last EP Misguided Youth, the song Better Days provoking the best response from the crowd, a number of whom knew every word. Even if they’d had nothing else going for them, the energy on show here is exemplary, and Highlives have the songs to back it up for a great gig. [7.5/10]

Impromptu headliners Holding Absence hail from Cardiff, but they made Bristol their own. The intensity with which the band perform is virtually unparalleled by bands of any level, smashing around the stage in a reverie of motion. The band have recently changed vocalists, and Lucas Woodland’s clean vocals are as full of melody as his raw screams are of grit. The dichotomy between the two styles works excellently for the quintet, controlling the pace fluidly through their songs.

They opened with their recent single Permanent and were rewarded with some of the fans throwing back every word. A lot of their set-list, however, was unreleased material and served to tease what’s to come from Holding Absence. Despite the unfamiliarity of the songs, the audience had the visceral passion of the band to enjoy, and the way the members move and perform makes it almost as much a visual performance as musical. It’s not hard to imagine Holding Absence playing larger venues with visual elements backing them on-screen.  With magnificently written songs, technical instrumentation and the skill to pull it off in supreme style, this is a band that deserve to go far. [9/10]

Pushing Daisies announce weekender with Better Than Never

Pushing Daisies, one of our favourite new emo ensembles on the block, have announced a small set of show with their friends in Better Than Never. The Bristol based four-piece have been flying recently with a signing to Homebird Records for a re-release of their EP Stay Sad.

The three date tour is hitting Bristol’s Venom Fest on the 28th October, Record Junkee in Sheffield on the 29th and Maguire’s Pizza Bar in Liverpool on the 30th.

Pushing Daisies have a growing reputation for raw and powerful live shows, so don’t miss out! You can stream their EP via Bandcamp.

Pushing Daisies discuss recent label signing and ‘Stay Sad’ EP re-release [EXCLUSIVE]

Bristol has been making a name for itself in producing incredible alternative bands for years now, and one of the newest names on the block is Pushing Daisies. Nonetheless, the band haven’t taken long to start turning heads, having recently signed to Homebird Records, a UK based independent record label.

Quite how did this come about, then? Well, like any good talent scout, Homebird Records had their eye on Pushing Daisies for a while, and following the release of the music video for Hazel, lead single for their Stay Sad EP, they reached out. “We both agreed it was the perfect time for us to go ahead with the signing after a Skype call”; clearly an easy-working relationship from the start!

Pushing Daisies went on to talk about how working with Homebird Records will take them to the next level. “Homebird Records have already done so much for us and it’s only the start! Giving us the chance to release our first vinyl is amazing and for us it is a dream come true.” This is especially the case for Pushing Daisies who have personally witnessed and become involved in the resurgence of vinyl in recent years. It’s more than just that though. Sometimes, it’s just great to know that someone’s got your back: “having that backing of a label instantly makes you and your band take a breath and think however big or small this opportunity is, there are people out there who do take an interest in you”. Safe to say, the band will be pushing themselves harder than ever.

Stay Sad has recently re-released on Homebird Records, and the band are very happy with it as a showcase of where they are currently. “Stay Sad is 100% us right now.” – and it was no easy deal getting to that stage. The band explained that multiple line-up changes meant the band didn’t really find their feet until their current (and stable) membership having found a new bassist and guitarist. Despite having some material already written, it was the songs that the solidified membership came to write that became Stay Sad: “they were clearly in it for the long run and instantly coming up with songs that we all loved and knew it was the direction we all wanted to go.” And the future? “We’ve been throwing around some ideas for new material, but right now it’s all about Stay Sad.

Pushing Daisies are immensely happy to be able to release Stay Sad on vinyl, saying “to be a part of the vinyl community is amazing!” and reminiscing about the euphoria of outbidding someone for a copy of You Me At Six’s Take Off Your Colours for a “ridiculous amount”. It really means something for the boys to have produced something physical and limited, a monument to this stage in their career.

The song that Pushing Daisies and Homebird Records chose to produce a music video for to re-release is Morning Drive, and the band were keen to talk about why that song made the cut. “Morning Drive feels like a song that a lot of people can relate to lyrically. It’s about me losing a relationship with someone who was meant to bring you up and take you through life. Personally, I know a lot of people who have gone through something similar, so to express this through a song that they can relate to means a lot to me.” Alongside the lyrical content, the band also felt that Morning Driveshowcases our diversity well and gives a good overall look at what is expected with Stay Sad.”

So, what are the band looking forward to in the near future? Of course, they’re hugely excited for their June tour with Dearist. Hitting a lot of cities that they haven’t played before, the band are looking forward to seeing what they offer to the UK’s emo and grunge scene. They are also booked in for their first festival appearance this August at Anchored To The Sound in Plymouth. Aside from that “we also have a couple more tours in the works, and if they pull through we will be over the moon!”

Looking further ahead is understandably hazy for the band, though they have some ideas. “For a while now we’ve known that another EP is definitely what we have coming next. Tour Stay Sad at least until the end of 2016 and then think about going back in the studio for the next record. At this time we don’t think a full-length is the next step for us, but when it comes to it we will definitely know!”

Exciting times are ahead for both Pushing Daisies and their fans, it seems. In signing to Homebird Records, the band have strengthened their foundations to push upwards and outwards into greater territory. You will be hearing more about Pushing Daisies!

The Baby Pink vinyl press of Stay Sad, limited to 300 copies, can be ordered alongside other merchandise athttp://www.homebirdrecords.co.uk
You can listen to or download Stay Sad on Pushing Daisies’ bandcamp: http://www.pushingdaisiesuk.bandcamp.com
Make sure to keep up with the band’s latest news on their facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pushingdaisiesuk

You can also get a taste of Stay Sad by streaming it here.