Tag Archives: nottingham

The Angel All-Dayer at Nottingham

Last Saturday saw a heavy line up at Nottingham’s infamous little venue, The Angel Microbrewery. On the bill were Cave Killer, Black Mass, Altered, CottonMouth, Those Once Loyal, Bad Llama (a personal favourite band name of the night) and Micreant. By the band names alone, you can see what type of music the crowd were up for.

The venue itself is not what I expected – for a microbrewery there was a lot of people in the main bar, sectioned off side rooms, outside area and upstairs in the live music room. The outdoor area, although small, is brought to life with colourful graffiti – giving it a more modern vibe compared to the rest of the building. Similarly, the venue upstairs – “The Chapel” – gives credit to it’s name with some original features in the building’s structure but it has been revamped for today’s scene. It was a surprising little gem in Nottingham’s city centre, complimented by the friendly bar staff, and would be worth a visit if you fancied a taste of the local music scene.

Altered were only scheduled to perform a day before the event, filling in for a band on the list last minute. To say they had 24 hours to prepare and it was only their second gig back since the pandemic, they did an incredible job of performing as a tight band. Off stage, Altered are a friendly group of guys who seem like they genuinely get on. It would have been nice to see some more of their personality and band interaction whilst on stage, but that was probably limited due to their performance slot – with just half an hour to impress a crowd, it can be difficult to make everything fit. Their set featured mostly heavy vocals with the occasional clean line but unfortunately this was a little difficult to hear with the sound level mix of instruments – a reoccurring theme for the entire night. Overall, they had a great performance with a lot of appreciation from the crowd and, if you’re into a heavy scene then they’re definitely a band to see live.

We spoke to Altered about their set and what they’ve been up to recently.

How was the band during the pandemic?

“In general it was very nightmareish – I imagine for all of us because you can’t exactly get stuck in doing what you enjoy like getting out gigging, making a name for yourself. But it didn’t hinder any of the writing processes. There was still a lot happening in the background. Just because you weren’t able to get onto a stage doesn’t mean you couldn’t do anything at all.”

“The main thing that came out of it was that we had two members leave and two members join straight after and they’re very involved, a very good fit. And it gave them the opportunity to learn all of the material as well really. So the first time we met them was actually doing our first music video. We had seen them on video call but the first time we met as getting this video booked in, meeting each other and then driving off into some field to do a video.”

“So it was kind of a gift and a curse, lockdown.”

“It did make things better in the long run but at first it was a bit like ‘where’s this going?’ Some doors close, others open.

How did you end up on the line-up?

“Last night we got a message from our manager and they asked us to play it and we thought why not because we were coming to see Miscreant anyway.”

Are you guys on tour now?

“We’ve had talks of a short thing happening next year but nothing crazy. It’s just a weekend but we’re touring with a band that we’ve shown a little bit of interest in them and they’ve shown a little bit of interest in us. So we’ll see how that goes. A band called Seventh Sea! I’d say we’re quite similar. It’s a good line up. We are similar but they’ve got their own thing and we’ve got our own thing. We’ve also got a show in Huddersfield on the 26th September and that should be good.

So with your new line up and gigs coming up, does that mean we can expect new music soon?

“Oh absolutely yeah. We don’t have an exact date yet but it should be this year and it should definitely be some time soon. You can expect a lot of energy and a lot of emotion. I try to connect with my audience vocally. Try and reciprocate their feelings with my own. Fairly original but familiar as well. We all have our own inputs into what we write and there’s nobody in this band saying ‘you shouldn’t do this and you shouldn’t do this.’ It’s like ‘here’s what we’ve got, bring something to the table.’ I feed my own emotional experience into the lyrics but I also try and write them in such a vague manner that anybody could interpret it, put it to their own circumstances and it would still make sense. That’s the type of vibe I go for. Everybody brings something to the table. That’s why I think we’re quite unique. A lot of the time maybe it’s own or two people but we really try to include everyone in the writing process.”

Next on the line up were CottonMouth. Initially, they opened with a Black Sabbath style riff with a doom rock kind of vibe. This changed throughout their set and sometimes fell more into the metal genre – I genuinely wouldn’t be able to pin point their sound. They featured more clean vocals than any other band on the set but again this was slightly ruined by the mix of instruments. The vocalist had a nice gritty sound to their tone without ruining their range. All members of the band were excellent and performed tightly. With just five singles out, I would be interested in hearing an album with a few slower tracks – I can picture them performing an awesome a rock/metal ballad.

Miscreant were the headlining band for the Angel’s day of arguably death-core artists. We spoke to the band before their set to find out more about what they’ve been up to and what we can expect.

Are you on tour at the moment?

“We’re playing here and there. Waiting for everything to get back after Covid I think. So it’s been pretty up and down. There’s people booking things and then getting cancelled so we’re just getting rid of a bit of stage rust right now and getting back into the swing of things finally.”

How did you find it during the pandemic?

“We didn’t really practice but we were working on new stuff. I was find being in the house during the pandemic to be honest. A bit of me time for a year and a half, I loved it.”

“We got practicing on our own stuff.”

“We became better individual musicians so when we got back in the rehearsal room and for first practice it was there straight away.”

Does this mean we can expect new music?

“During the pandemic we were in the studio so we’ve got a couple of singles that will be coming out at the start of next year.”

“We also did a music video for one of the singles and some promos recently as well.”

“We’ve been busy. We’ve also got another project. We’ve been working on a lot of new music.”

How did you find the writing process during the pandemic compared to normality?

“I think we were alright individually anyway and then we collaborate with our producer. Our singer does the majority of the lyrics, vocal melodies and stuff. So there’s a lot of back and forth between him and our producer which is normally done sort of online anyway. It’s normally virtual so it’s been pretty much just the same.”

You’ve had a new bass player! How have you found joining the band?

“It’s been good so far. I’ve known the guys for years anyway since the first EP, seven years now, so it felt quite natural. It used to mainly be a guitarist and then it just happened that these guys needed a bass player so I filled in. After one gig I was asked to join. It’s been fun.”

Do you have anything coming up?

“We have a Nottingham show in December with InVisions at Ye Old Salutation. We get on with InVisions, we’re on the same record label.

What do you do and don’t like about the music industry right now?

“I’d say it’s over diluted now I think. Fifteen years ago when I first started, there was a mystery behind local bands and you could get into local newspapers and stuff. And now it’s everywhere over social media, it’s kind of diluted it. Streaming sort of killed the amount of money you can make off it. I think it’s down the toilet to be honest. The music industry needs a serious injection of something but I don’t know what.”

“Although, at the same time, it is bouncing back at the minute because of Covid. Loads more people are going out to restaurants so I think that might be translated to the music industry. People are more up for going out now because they haven’t been for ages. So maybe that could bring it back a little bit.”

“Not going to shows was probably one of the hardest things [during the pandemic.] It’s where everyone gets together and has a good time. Obviously, 18 months without that is rough. And then with all the uncertainty when a gig is planned it’s like ‘will it go ahead or will it get cancelled?’ You just don’t know. So I think that’s the rough part with Covid and the music industry but it is bouncing back and it’s just refreshing.”

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Last Hyena + FES + Blight Town @ The Chameleon, Nottingham

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

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

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.