Touché Amoré + Guests – Live @ The Fleece, Bristol [17/2/17]

It is time for the night to get full of a whole barrage of stage dives and crowd participation when Touché Amoré came down to Bristol on their current UK/EU tour and destroyed the venue with their strong emotional tracks and poetic lyricism.

Opening up the night were UK based post/melodic hardcore group Departures (7) who opened the night up on a quite strong note. With their latest album ‘Death Touches Us, From The Moment We Begin To Love’ still bringing some of their strongest material to date on a live stage, it put the wheels in motion for the night with tracks like ‘Broken’ crashing through the speakers and a few fans getting involved with singing the lyrics back. Going back to their ‘Teenage Haze’ record with their classic tracks ‘Where The Time Will Go’ and their set closer ’21’, the guitars pounded through the venue as the vocals sounded crisp, albeit a bit quiet at times. Overall, the band showed off something great about the UK music scene and it will be exciting to see where they go from here.

Now comes the band that a lot of the hardcore fans were getting pumped for, and rightly so as Angel Du$t (9) brought some of the funkiest punk riffs you will ever hear in your lifetime. Spanning their discography with some of their bounciest tracks such as ‘Stepping Stone’ to kick things off and moving straight into ‘Toxic Boombox’ made the night that much more dance friendly. Justice Trapp is proving to be one of the most enjoyable frontmen to watch live as he fully brings more emotion and passion with the music as he powers through their set with ‘Headstone’ having so much of a great punk vibe in its walls. Closing with their cult hit ‘Set Me Up’, it cemented them as a great band to watch live with a very impressive back catalogue and a nice filling to the post hardcore sandwich of a night.

It was very easy to think that Touché Amoré (10) would be the band of the night, but you probably weren’t expecting such a phenomenal performance from the five piece. With such an emotional topic with their latest album ‘Stage Four’, it took up most of the majority of their set as well as their highly acclaimed ‘Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me’ to create something that was full of something powerful and hitting you straight in the emotions. With tracks such as ‘Benediction’ and their set opener ‘Flowers And You’ brought over a wave of sorrow over the evening, but as soon as ‘~’ came through the venue, the shockwave came through and hit everyone hard, picking up the pace massively and throughout the night, the intensity of the set and crowd reaction was palpable and it made the night that much more memorable They have made themselves a destructive force in the genre and it will be a night everyone will look back on with great positivity.

Galactic Empire & Guests – Live @ The Fleece, Bristol (6/2/17)

After taking a long haul flight from the galaxy to come to the UK, Galactic Empire have come around to a few venues with the plans of gaining more rebels for their army, with their strong following support of Sithu Aye and local support BOE in tow to make the night that much more memorable.

Bringing the night to a pretty enjoyable opening, Bristol boys in BOE (6) are here to show off what they are able to do well and that is to bring the groove into full effect. With the drummer hidden out of plain sight, the rest of the band brought something that got a few people banging their heads in enjoyment from the openers set. Whilst a few of the songs did tend to drag a little bit, they held their own and didn’t leave much room to drift off somewhere else as there was something there for everyone to listen to.

Up next came Scottish based prog guitar sensation Sithu Aye (10) who’s amazing technical display of beautiful melodies and low toned bounce combined with gripping solos made for one of the most enjoyable 45 minutes that people will experience this year. With the whole set being all intrinsically linked by the songs being played, being lost in a whole progressive nature with newer tracks like ‘Transient Transistors’ adding an aggressive touch to the tone whereas the 2014 song ‘Messengers’ provided a much more melodically energetic and clean approach to his writing style that a lot of people might not have known about. Overall, the experience was breathtaking and the closing on ‘And Here’s To Many More’ gives a lovely glimmer of hope that this wont be the last you’ll see of them.

Then it was time for the rebels to be exterminated and the riffs to be enjoyed by many. Galactic Empire (10) brought the room to an amazing peak with their atmospheric entrance before blasting right into ‘Main Theme’ for everyone to cheer loudly and raise their horns into the air to kick off their set. Filling in the gaps of their songs with some great dubbed over humour and even a force choke during the set, the band pounded through their set with ‘Imperial March’ and ‘Cantina Band’, with the latter being the most enjoyed track by the venue with dancing and bouncy balls being batted around all over the place to bring the party mood up. After a powerful set and what felt like an amazing time, the band boosted it even further with the encore of ‘Duel Of The Fates’ giving the venue that final hurrah and pleasant ending everyone wanted and the raucous applause gave the evening that final pièce de résistance that makes this gig one to remember for the rest of the year.

Devil You Know + Guests – Live @ The Fleece, Bristol (24/1/17)

With the metal in full check from front to back, The Fleece filled up nice and slow for what will be an enjoyable night of riffs, punchy anthems and even a few xylophone solos.

BRUTAI

Opening the night was this South East London quintet who were able to show off their talent through and through. The sound started off quite piercing but after a minute or so, the band started to flow much more impressively and were able to bring everything to an amazing cultivation. Tracks like ‘Lucidity‘ and ‘Deep‘ off of the new record mesmerised the skimmed out venue and gave the band something positive to enjoy and take away from their set

Rating: 7/10

WEARING SCARS

With this band, it was a very mixed approach from start to finish. Comparing it to huge bands such as Five Finger Death Punch and Nickelback in terms of their musical approach might feel like a negative statement, but half of the time the instrumentation, like in the track ‘Butterfly‘ was really striking and caught a few people off guard. Unfortunately, the vocal aspect was mostly a miss as the somewhat cliche lyrics and dulled out singing/screaming, which brought some audience members to wincing, pushed this band further down than they should have been. A solid force that couldn’t find it’s balance.

Rating: 5/10

ONI

Probably the most mixed in terms of genre on the bill, Canadian destroyers through themselves right into the line of fire with aggressive guitars, technical prowess and a strong vocal screaming game from two of the members. The track ‘The Only Cure‘ showed off how they were able to flow from different musical styles really well and brought in a whole lot of new fans with them. The xylosynth was the talk of the whole night, watching Johnny DeAngelis work his sticks all over the board in songs like ‘Barn Burner‘ that would make any keyboardist feel many amounts of shame. Overall, this set brought so much to the table and made the night feel that much more special.

Rating: 9/10

DEVIL YOU KNOW

On comes the final act of the night and boy did they not disappoint! Making you feel right at home and the small moshpits forming, Devil You Know made their presence known. The force of the instrumentation rang through with their first song ‘Consume The Damned‘ and only proceeded to throw punch after punch. Tracks such as ‘Stay of Execution‘ had an amazing taste with it and every member threw their all into it. The only small niggle that could have come from the night was from Howard Jones‘ vocals. From beginning to end, the vocals sounded like they were stuck in treble and pierced through the quietness of the set interludes. The screams were made to sound monstrous through this and the bassist’s vocals were pitch perfect to the record, but the way that Howard’s vocals sounded live may turn people off from an EQ standpoint.

Rating: 8/10