Three of a large collection of bands in the Nottinghamshire area vying for the chance to play the legendary Bloodstock festival. Playing at one of the best venues in the city, the three bands competed in the Metal 2 the Masses opening round, with only one having the chance to advance.
First on were the best band who ever existed. Although they were a member down due to illness, Eddie & the Wolves rocked the place. Swaggering blues riffs dripping with attitude and a huge sound for just the three of them, the band knew how to pack a punch. Rattling through some of the highlights of their debut album, alongside single ‘Bad Touch’ and even a rendition of ‘Whole Lotta Love’, it was a fun set. Of course it could not have been done without the exceptional playing of bassist Joe Griffiths, truly a visionary of our time.
Next up were the proggy metallers Confyde. Being a mixture between Alter Bridge and Gojira, this writer loved it. The riffs were INSANE and a huge highlight, but the vocals were amazing too, soring high as well as hitting some powerful notes. It was also the heavyiest, most metal band on the line-up, which was awesome to hear. All four of them were fantastic at what they do, I was jealous of all of them for their talent.
The final band of the evening were Lincolnshire’s own Velvet Queens. We were familiar with them already, having first seen them and interviewed them at Call of the Wild last year. (Check out the review here). Since last May they have gotten even better. Their unique brand of sleaze is a lot of fun, and the guys were clearly enjoying themselves up on stage. Their cover of ‘School of Rock’ is always a lot of fun, but their own music sounded just as good.
It was a hugely stiff competition, with all three bands bringing the fire. With the three judges at a tie, it came down to an audience vote, and the amazing Confyde came away victorious. A well deserved win in front of a packed hometown crowd felt almost poetic.
We had the chance to speak to frontman Martin after the show and they had this to say:
‘Confyde had an absolute blast playing our M2TM heat! Every band played a blinder to a packed out room and everyone seemed to be having a wicked time. Our material and setlist is usually very eclectic, with a lot of ebb & flow with different styles. It was a nice change to just bust out the heaviest songs we have, including the new song “Scalper”!
So thankful to everyone who came out to see and vote for us, not to mention Mangata Music and the Tap n Tumbler for having us. We’re stoked as hell for the semi-final 🤘🏻’
The Metal 2 the Masses competition runs annually and is continuing every weekend through until the end of April. Find more details of it here.
My first arena gig since the pre-apocolypse times, so this had a fair amount to live up to. Luckily I’m a fan of both bands, at least enough that the drive and the extortionate prices of anything in the arena didn’t put me off. However, both recent albums by the bands didn’t blow me away, so I was curious! I’ve seen Biffy Clyro a couple of times before, so was hoping they’d be just as good as both of those times.
Architects took to the stage to a rather spread-out crowd. But, by the time they’d finished their first number, the place had packed out considerably. I, like I’m sure a lot of others, were shocked that the metalcore titans were chosen to support the considerably lighter Scots. Yes, Simon did that song with the band on their album last year, but still. Heck, there was a pretty clear distinction between the two sets of fans in terms of merch and look, too. However, by the end of the set I feel like there were a lot of converts.
Opening on their big single from their most recent album, ‘Deep Fake’, their blend of metal and more radio sounds came across perfectly live. Architects are the one metalcore band that I never truly ‘got’, but clearly I just needed to see them live to appreciate it more. However, that may have been because almost the entire set was made up of tracks released in the last two years, with the lone exception being Holy Hell’s ‘Doomsday’. I’m sure it probably pissed off a few of the hardcore fans in the crowd, but I personally loved it. It made my appreciation of the new album that much higher and has since made me revisit it, as I didn’t like it too much before. Plus, the newer stuff is a little more radio friendly, and fits in more to the crowd they were playing to.
The band ripped through nearly an hours set of bangers, with crowd favourites definitely being the likes of ‘Black Lung’ and closer ‘Animals’. Sam Carter is such an entertaining and captivating frontman that it didn’t matter much that the rest of the band didn’t really move about. This was a polished, professional setlist and if anything the perfect opener for Biffy.
After a brief interval, the main men themselves took to the stage. The anticipation and energy in the air was palpable… and then they came on and played ‘DumDum’. It’s not a bad track at all, but after all that build-up it does feel a little anticlimactic to not burst straight into something a little more upbeat. However, they soon rectify that as they quickly head into the awesome ‘A Hunger In Your Haunt’, an instant crowd favourite.
From there, the band launch into, honestly, one of the most perfectly crafter setlists I’ve ever seen. Whether it was the hits or the deeper cuts, almost their entire back catalogue got some love at one point in their two-hour set. Whether it was the ever awesome ‘Black Chandelier’ or ‘Mountains’ to new hits like ‘End Of’ or ‘Unknown Male 01’, it all went down a storm with the packed out crowd. And the band played them all to perfection too, putting on an energetic show and some amazing visuals with lighting to go alongside the great music.
Whether it was ballads or more upbeat songs, the set was filled to the brim with highlights, too. From the heavy, prog awesomeness of ‘Cop Syrup’ to Simon, his acoustic, the two string players and his choir of 15,000+ singing along to ‘God and Satan’ with him, or the surprising crowd (and my personal favourite) ‘Biblical’. And of course we cannot forget about the epic set closer, their biggest ballad, ‘Many of Horror’. Simon barely had to sing a word of it, the crowd handled the vocals dutifully.
It was honestly, excluding Locash at The Long Road earlier this year, the first time since Covid I’ve stood in a crowd and felt that energy. The first time I’ve thought to myself ‘this is why I love this industry’. Mon the Biff.
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Southern/country rock band These Wicked Rivers took a brief break from their tour supporting bluegrass legends Hayseed Dixie to do a hometown gig. And what a gig it was. Playing to the absolutely packed Derby crowd at The Hairy Dog, it was definitely a night to remember for everyone involved. Add to that the fact that it was a fundraiser for These Wicked Rivers’ new album, and it was an awesome night for sure.
Other local boys 28 Double were the first to take the stage. While it wasn’t long after the doors had opened, they still drew a fair crowd. Being easily the heaviest band on the line-up, bordering on metal, it did feel like it took the crowd a little minute to warm to them. However, the band ripped through a fantastic short set of some of their best songs. I’ve seen them multiple times over the years, having gigged with them a fair bit back in the day, and they have come on massive amounts since. They put on a great show and sounded awesome!
Next up was the Manchester blues machine known as Gorilla Riot. Friends of the channel, it’s been almost a year since we last saw the band, at Amped last year. They were on top form again here. Arjun has such a fantastic swagger and stage presence, feeling like you’re watching a true rockstar. And yet he never overshadows the rest of the band, moving out of the spotlight even on longer instrumental parts. The band have great chemistry on stage too, clearly enjoying themselves and regularly joking around. The crowd ate up everything they laid down, too. They loved their grungy sound and great songwriting. If anything, my only criticism is that they didn’t have long enough on stage. However, they for sure won over some new fans with their set and were the perfect warmup to the headliners.
Then, came the headliners, the anticipation in the room palpable. These Wicked Rivers soon came on and left not a single person disappointed. Rattling through a set full of their older tracks and a few of the new singles too. This was by far the best set I’ve seen the band do. That’s a surprise too, as I’ve seen them a few times over the last couple of years. They keep getting better and better, both live and on track. If this gig is anything to go by, they are going to be HUGE in a year or two. One hell of a way to cap off a fantastic night and honestly one of the best sets I have seen from a band this year.
And there we have it, a brilliant night of great music from some of the best underground rock bands the scene has to offer. These Wicked Rivers are back out on the road with Hayseed Dixie while Gorillia Riot and 28 Double still have a few gigs left this year. Both bands are also headlining both nights of SharkFest in Cannock next year!
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Pardon my French, but what a great putain gig! Three hugely impressive sets from some of the best hard rock bands in the underground rock scene right now. Massive, Ghosts of Men and Dig Lazarus. A big thanks to our good friends at Dig Lazarus sneaking us into the sold out Ye Olde Salutation Inn in Nottingham for the gig! We were able to experience it first hand, and just had to let you know how great it was!
Opening the night were the ever awesome Dig Lazarus. For a band that I had not really heard of before Call of the Wild Festival back in May, I have become a huge fan since then. The band were on top form here as well. Their sludgy, heavy blues sound translates perfectly live, especially in a smaller, indoor setting. However, my favourite thing about them is still the backing/duelling vocals. It adds so much to the catchiness of tracks like ‘Never Change’ and ‘Tell Me Why’ and begs audience interaction. These guys are going to be huge sooner rather than later if they keep putting out great music like this and putting on shows to match!
Next up were a new band to me but ones that definitely won me over fast, Ghosts of Men! When just two people took to the stage, I was wearily curious. However, they filled out the sound and the stage masterfully. The frontman oozed charisma and had a voice sounding like a combination of Zakk Wylde and Neil Fallon. Meanwhile between his fantastic guitar playing and the drummer’s awesomeness, they both played a great set of QOTSA-sounding grunge/desert rock.
The band don’t take themselves too seriously, joking around and having fun on stage. It is refreshing to see these days and means when they do get serious with track ‘Wolfpack’, it hits even harder. The band have a new fan in me from their amazing set. I’ll definitely be listening to them a lot moving forward!
Finally, we reached the headliner and the band that the vast majority of the crowd were there for, Massive. Frontman Brad Marr spoke about how long it had been since their last show in the city and how much the tour had been postponed. You could see and feel his passion throughout the gig, clearly missing being up on stage playing his music. Unfortunately due to injuries and visa issues the band had a few last minute lineup changes for the tour. But, all four of them played their hearts out for the rabid, packed house.
Tracks like ‘Hollywood’ and ‘Dancefloor’ sound just as good now as they did 10 years ago, and went down a storm, just like the most recent tracks. And Brad is one of the best frontmen in the business right now, having the crowd in the palm of his hand through the whole set. I’ve been a fan of the band since Full Throttle and have seen them a few times but never this good. They were on top form and I cannot wait to see where they go from here!
And there we have it. One of the best gigs we’ve been to this year thanks to three incredible bands, an amazing venue and a packed house full of hungry rock fans. Be sure to support each of the bands as much as you can and definitely go and see them if they are playing locally to you. I can’t wait to see them again already!
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Bring Me The Horizon made Sheffield Arena bounce last Thursday. Bringing everything they had, the Yorkshire legends quite literally made waves in the arena and I’m pretty sure everyone went home dripping with sweat and sore muscles that not even an hour at the gym could compete with.
Opening the gig were the fantastic Nova Twins. They brought an immense amount of energy to the stage that immediately made them a likeable and entertaining duo. Both Amy Love and Georgia South are incredibly talented individuals. Love had complete control over her powerful voice, switching between heavy growls and screams to her head voice with ease. South can move up and down the bass like you wouldn’t believe – she has clearly mastered her instrument and took it to the next level with the amount of pedals she controls to perfect the band’s sound. You wouldn’t believe all of their sound comes from just drums, guitar and bass.
You Me At Six were the second support band before BMTH. Combining a set of their older hits and new tracks, they got the balance between long-time fans and new listeners. They even teased a Sinners Never Sleep 10 year anniversary tour – something the long-time fans would be ecstatic to hear.
The guys were as slick as usual and put on a real show. I think everyone was hoping Ollie Sykes would make a special appearance for ‘Bite My Tongue’ but unfortunately we were forced to wait a little longer to see the BMTH frontman. They finished their set on a high with a hit from their 2021 album release titled SUCKAPUNCH – ‘Beautiful Way’ was the perfect track to close with and left the crowd warmed up and ready.
When Bring Me The Horizon walked on stage I think the whole of Sheffield knew about it. With everyone screaming from the high heavens, my ears were ringing before the band even struck a chord. As expected, the band delivered an excellent gig both instrumentally and in their performance style. Bring Me The Horizon don’t just play a gig, they put on a show.
Similar to YMAS, BMTH combined their classic heavier songs such as ‘The House Of Wolves’ and ‘Shadow Moses’ with their latest releases like ‘DiE4u’, ‘Parasite Eve’ and ‘Teardrops.’ There wasn’t a single song that didn’t get a massive reaction from the crowd.
Frontman Ollie also opened up to the audience, admitting it was one of the first gigs he has played completely sober. It was really emotional listening to the band’s love for performing and sharing the experience with their fans.
The pit was a nightmare. Ollie made numerous requests for the crowd to create a circle pit, crowd surfing and for the crowd to jump up and down… and who were we to object. It was a mess.
I think everyone was hoping Yungblud would make a special appearance for ‘Obey’, especially since it was a home gig for both the headlining band and the Doncaster singer. Unfortunately, Yungblud didn’t take to the stage but he did feature in the animation behind the band so his part remained in the track for everyone to sing along to.
Special shout out to the animation artists for Nova Twins and BMTH – every track had its own individual artwork that served as amazing backgrounds for both bands. They really helped to tie the show together and helped to take the concert to the next level.
The concert as a whole was an experience unlike any other. Bring Me The Horizon took their music to a new level by playing with such raw and rich emotion and turned their tracks into an emotional performance.
What a fantastic lineup for Overtone’s first live gig review – three of Britain’s best and brightest rising math rock-esque bands all under one roof. Local boys Blight Town are a great blend of math rock and post hardcore, FES are on the more pop/punk side (and have frequently been referred to as the Paramore of math rock thanks to lead singer Polly’s stunning tone) while the headliners are an instrumental powerhouse of the genre. Hosted by IKE Promotions at Nottingham’s fantastic little venue, The Chameleon, it promised a great (if sweaty) night of live music.
Blight Town come on to a packed crowd and immediately blasted into half an hour of fast paced, heavy post hardcore music. Every member of the band is incredibly talented but I couldn’t help but gravitate towards the singer; his clean vocals and screams were both incredible and he managed to switch between the two with little effort. The local boys brought a good few fans of their own so it was great to see the crowd reacting and singing along, giving the band a little more energy and passion. A great opening band and the perfect one for the night.
After a short break, FES came on to absolutely blow the roof off the place. Blight Town were a tough act to follow, but FES managed it. Their unique blend of math rock and catchy guitar-pop hooks and choruses was captivating from start to finish. The vocals were amazing, eerily reminiscent of the likes of Hayley Williams, and being able to sing like that while also playing crazy math rock riffs is an extraordinary talent. Not to discedit the rest of the band, though, who were both equally talented and fit the music and style perfectly. They blasted through a forty-five minute set that felt like it had run for no time at all, leaving the crowd easily wanting more but being ‘forced’ to head over to the merch booth instead.
FES originally, and ironically, stood for Flat Earth Society until the public began to take the name too seriously – their name has been shortened to FES ever since to skip the confusion
For such a popular and enthusiastic band on stage, they are all admittedly introverts.
With a booking manager based in Truro, FES frequently find themselves travelling across the country for tours and festivals.
What venues do you like to play at? Have you been to The Chameleon before?
Tom: We played at Brewdog once at Tramlines which was really weird because there were loads of middle aged people trying to get a pint or eating and we were in the corner doing our weird shit.
Matt: We played in this DIY place called the Audacious Art Experiment and it was like 30 people crammed into basically a cupboard.
Polly: I think we just really like the DIY style.
Tom: This is our first time at The Chameleon. I’ve been aware of The Chameleon for a long time – I was supposed to come to a gig here like 10 years ago but I had to go to parents evening instead.
Matt: Did you get a good report?
Tom: No! But it’s a really cool venue with obviously a lovely audience so it’s really good to play.
So up until now you’ve released EPs but you have a debut album out soon. Is there a different writing or recording process you go through?
Polly: The biggest difference when recording this album was the pandemic because we couldn’t see each other.
Tom: We couldn’t see each other for months and that’s hard when you’re wanting to write. We hired out an Air BnB, it was like a cabin in Wales on the coast and we wrote like six or seven songs in that time.
Matt: That was just before the pandemic hit – it was January 2020. So we were like ‘it’s all going well’ and then… March. But we did a lot of online stuff and it started to ease up again so we tried to make it work.
Polly: Because an album is more songs we felt more stress anyway and with the timing of it, because we had the studio booked before we had the songs, we had this deadline coming up. There was a lot of anxiety but it all worked out.
Tom: We recorded it two months ago. There’s going to be 11 songs and we’ve only got 10 songs out in the world anyway so we’re going to double the amount of songs available to people. It’s all mixed and we’ve got the artwork, we just need to get it mastered.
Matt: And to get a record label to be nice to us.
Tom: Hopefully we’ve got a tour next May which was meant to happen last year that’s been rebooked so if we can get it out before May that’s ideal.
How does it feel being called the Paramore of math rock?
Polly: We get it often. I was brought up on her and I love all of their whole discography and how it’s developed. I think they’re a genius band and I love Hayley’s solo stuff too.
Matt: I think a lot of bands with female vocalists get compared to Haley Williams.
Tom: We’re friends with a band with a female vocalist and they get it a lot.
Matt: It’s like one reference point for women or something. But we like them so we’ll take it.
Are there any other bands you take inspiration from?
Tom: I think we all have different influences and I guess it’s like a mix. Polly is the main writer, don’t get me wrong.
Polly: Yeah bands like Tube Law, Delta Sleep, Fish Tank. I have personal ones for writing style like Regina Spectre.
Matt: We have influences from when we started which have changed.
Polly: Biffy Clyro are probably a big one because they were really mathy when they first started off. I really liked early Orchids, they were a big influence too.
Matt: Well me and Tom grew up as metal heads. I was obsessed with Iron Maiden. I could tell you anything.
Tom: His old email was like “mattlikesironmaiden@something”
How would you sum up the theme of your upcoming album?
Polly: So there’s lots of themes of mortality and childhood. I wrote a lot of the songs once my grandad died so it’s almost nostalgic.
Tom: All of your lyrics are really personal to you really about what’s going on in that time.
Polly: They probably don’t make sense to anyone else but me. I wrote a song about Matt because I wrote a song about Tom in 2017 and Matt always been like “when are you going to do one about me?”
Matt: So she wrote a song about me having a breakdown.
Tom: So was mine! If we keep having breakdowns, we’re going to get some more tunes. They were songs of support though and I think that happens a lot with songwriting. When you have things going on quite drastic or emotional it can serve as a catalyst for writing. Some people I think go for different narratives but our music is quite personal.
Matt: We do like the idea of doing a concept album though.
Polly: I kind of want to write a musical because I think our music is quite theatrical anyway so if we write a concept album and then turn it, adapt it into an actual theatre production that’s like the goal with FES.
Last Hyena took the stage last and once again blew the crowd away. Step aside Rush. Step aside Muse. There is a new up-and-coming three man collection of the most talented musicians out there. I can’t remember ever seeing a band play as tightly live as they did, and all three showed off their incredible affinity for their instruments. For a wholly instrumental band too, they held the attention of every single crowd member there for their entire set with their infectious grooves, melodies and obvious love for their craft. They were having fun, which meant the audience were having more fun as a result – their personalities shone through which is always amazing to see. Again, the 45 minute set went by in a flash – calling to an end a fantastic night of live music.
We managed to sit down with the headliners before the gig to talk about their recent tour.
How do you feel playing to a live crowd again after a year of restrictions?
Max: It’s amazing, it’s like having a piece of ourselves back really.
Rory: We played our first show back in Bristol where we’re based and it was honestly the weirdest feeling. We’ve been practicing for the whole 18 months every week in our studio space so we’ve just been writing and practicing. The first gig back and setting up before we played we all felt giddy. It was so nice to get back into it.
Max: It’s been full on really with the tour and we’ve realised how unfit we are.
Have you played in Nottingham before?
Rory: We have but it’s our first time here which is wicked because it’s a nice space.
Josh: Nottingham’s one of our favourite places, we always try and get on the bill. Whatever the turn out is, the people are there to see it and absolutely love it. There are always hardcore music fans in Nottingham, so it always goes down well.
Max: I always love the really small, intimate venues. You can play to any sort of crowd as long as there are people that want to be there for the music.
How does being a purely instrumental band make you stand out from the bands on tonight’s line up or any other venue that you play at?
Rory: It gives you a lot more freedom which we love. We never set out to be a math rock, kind of post-rocky band. We just started writing music we enjoy and it fell into the math rock genre with ‘and then we do this’ and ‘then we do this segment’ and ‘no one will see it coming.’ It literally is just music to try and keep people on their feet.
Josh: We had an idea when we first started out. Rory and I were in a band before without a vocalist so we decided to play instrumentally as we had gigs booked anyway and thought maybe a vocalist will find us. And then the more gigs we played we thought maybe we don’t need one. We were having far too much fun.
Max: Plus it always gets us on the good side of sound people.
Rory: They’re like “how many vocals?” And we say “none” and they’re like “oh cool!”
Max: Yeah, “any midi?” “No!”
Rory: It’s a different one because take FES with Polly, they have an amazing singer with really catchy choruses whereas we literally don’t have any repetitive parts. Every song has a different phrasing or section, so we have a lot of hooks I’d say but it is an amalgamation of chaos.
Max: Yesterday, people actually sang back to ‘Doctorpus’ on the vocal line.
Rory: A lot of people really into their music will see the musicianship of it and how much idiocity is behind it and be like ‘that was crazy’, it’s so tight etcetera. A lot of people, more like my parents’ age, will say “you don’t have a singer?” And we say no it’s just instrumental!
Josh: And then you say people come to our shows and they’re like “do they?!”
Max: Because it’s such a small genre in terms of how many fans there are really, it’s a very dedicated pool of people. They’re not necessarily massively dedicated to individual bands, they are just there for the scene which is nice. You get people who listen to bands like FES, which is why it’s so nice to play with FES, because while they’re very different to us they also bring in the same sort of people so you get people into what they do but not us and vice versa.
Josh: There’s something for everyone to enjoy.
If you’re a fan of rock sub-genres, or have a respect for the instrumental skill it takes to be part of a math rock band, check out any of the bands from this line up via Overtone’s Insta.