REVIEW | Felix Champion – Bloc | 25th Feb 2015

8.45pm. I walk into a really packed Bloc, where I recognised at least half the crowd from a number of local bands I’ve worked with in one way or another over the last few years. This was, to me, a true unification of the local music scene; bands from far and wide getting together to support their fellow musicians, who just happen to be 3 of the country’s best live rock acts. From the get-go, I knew this would be a very special night.

First up was Toy Mountains, and they immediately hooked the attention of all in attendance. They opened with a cracking set that demonstrated as always why they are the damn good live band that they are always hyped up to be. They had quite the presence, both on stage and – in bassist Grant’s case – off stage. Highlights included Suspended Animation, For A Few Seconds, Came Harmony and Warm Blooded which featured a great guest performance from Calum of Emilio Largo. The band had delivered again, and got things warmed up nicely.

Emilio Largo kept that momentum going with a brilliant set of their own, playing tracks from their In Uniform We Divide EP, as well as their recent singles Derealise and Control. Andy provided energetic guitar work, Calum delivered some ballistic drum work and Scott dished out some sexy bass riffs, as well as some amusing facial expressions. All in all, a damn good set…..but who was the Mysterious T-Shirt Shouting Prick?

And now it was time for Felix Champion to hit the stage. Simply put, it was insanity, hands down their best performance to date with the whole band on top form. They kicked off in the best way, playing a couple of vintage tunes – Rose Killed Jack and New York Minute – from their self-titled EP, before playing an array of their best tunes from This Lateral Life, including Canyons, Animals, These Four Walls and Ropes. People screaming back the lyrics, tight mosh pits, crowd surfing, it was utter madness. The band even treated us to French Wine as an encore, where I decided to join in the surfing proceedings. An incredible set to cap off what was a really fun, memorable show.

Also like to note that this was guitarist Dave Rees’ final show with Felix Champion, to focus on his work as a music technician, and I wish him all the best on what he does. He’s already done a great job working with the likes of Vukovi and United Fruit, so for everyone reading this who hasn’t already, be a doll and show him support by giving his page a like: https://www.facebook.com/faaashbacklineservices

REVIEW | Empire – Audio | 23rd Feb 2015

I only discovered Empire mere months ago, and in that short time they have quickly become one of my favourite bands in all of the UK, capturing me with their kickass music that I have become really addicted to. So as you can imagine, I was excited to hear HD Music was bringing these guys to Glasgow and I was hyped as hell to finally witness them live. So how did it all go down?

First up, we had Our Lucid Reality, a synth rock band who I had never heard of prior to being announced for the gig but I became a fan instantly after I first gave them a listen so I was curious to see how good they would be in a live situation, and safe to say they delivered. Donning the stage with pretty purple lights, dual vocalists Amanda and Chris led the band on a set featuring cracking guitars, sick keys and great drumming, with the highlights for me being The Outlaw, which was ridiculously catchy, and Hy Brasil, the incredible title track of their EP. These guys are seriously underrated and deserve way more attention than they currently receive; they truly set the standard high for the rest of the night…

…a standard that Atlas:Empire met big time, with one hell of an awesome set featuring a mix of tunes from their Somnus EP and some from their upcoming new record. Having not seen these guys live in 8 months, I truly forgot how amazing these guys were live, with dynamic guitar work and sick vocals delivered with unbelievable energy. In fact, the (seemingly-always topless) drummer Jon was playing so hard and sweating so profusely, he had steam coming off him…..that isn’t some BS metaphor, he literally had steam coming off him. The man is truly a machine. If you haven’t seen these guys live yet, then what the hell are you doing? Get down to a show the next time you can and check them out, you won’t regret it.

And now for the main event: Empire. Simply put, they killed it. BAH GAWD, they killed it! They put on an immense show, with the whole band on incredible form – great guitars, bass, and drums across the board – with Joe Green taking lead on vocals. In addition to being a beast on the mic, he was an insanely charismatic and hilarious frontman. He certainly got around a lot too; on stage, taking it to the floor, even ending up on top of the bar. They played a great array of tunes, including All The Rage, My Colour Optimistic and Future, Past & Present from their record Where The World Begins, their most recent single Patchwork & Bone, and even presenting the crowd with an upcoming new single. Finishing off with Black Hearts, they capped off a phenomenal set which had to be among the greatest that I’ve ever witnessed in the 5 years I’ve been coming to local shows. It would be a horrible injustice if these never made it big, because their music and live shows demand it.

REVIEW | We Are Carnivores – Nice N Sleazy | 21st Feb 2015

We Are Carnivores (not to be confused with the million other bands featuring “Carnivores” in their name) are a band I discovered only a few months ago but I quickly became a fan of them, so when it was announced they’d be on tour with Alburn – another band I’ve been waiting to see for the longest time – and coming to Glasgow courtesy of HD Music, I was pretty excited.

Edinburgh rock band Sea Of Crowns started things off and they were damn good, with all 3 members energetic on stage and really into it, and every tune hitting their mark, especially their new single We’ll All Learn and the final track Do What Makes You Feel Comfortable. A band even better live than recorded, they warmed up the show in fine style.

Up next was Avante, a band that I had never listened to or seen live prior to this show, and they were really solid, playing a nice set of rock tunes, featuring great guitars and stand out bass and drum work, which maintained the interest of the growing crowd all throughout. With the highlights for me being Raptures and the closing track Island, this was a good introduction to the band, and I quite fancy seeing these guys again some time soon.

Alburn took to the stage next and they delivered a really tight set. With great guitars, swift bass and hammering drums, these guys had myself and the highly intoxicated crowd hooked from beginning to end. These guys certainly lived up to the hype, and I’ll definitely be making sure to get down to another show of theirs in the future, whenever that may be. Also, everyone needs to pick up their Mouthful of Glass EP, it’s brilliant stuff.

And finally finishing off things is We Are Carnivores, who put on an explosive live performance, taking the stage by storm big time; guitarist James in particular was like a 12 year old on the most insane sugar frenzy witnessed by man. It was great to hear tracks from their fantastic Tex-Mexiconomy EP live, including Crouching Tiger Hidden Spider, T.O.W.I.C.S and my favourite Checkout Girl. They even took a moment to take it down a notch for Iron Me. On the whole, an awesome set from a damn fine band. If anyone is up for a fun as hell live show, seek these guys out at a music venue near you!

REVIEW | Exist Immortal – Audio | 17th Feb 2015

What do you get when you have a line-up consisting of the best of English metal, the best of Scottish metal and some young, mighty fine homegrown talent? You get nothing short of an awesome show.

Courtesy of The Daily Dischord Agency and HD Music, Exist Immortal from London and Akord from Aberdeen played Glasgow as part of their UK tour. Exist Immortal are one of my favourite UK metal bands who I hadn’t seen live since late 2013, and Akord are a band who I’d been dying to see live for the past few years with so much hype around them, so needlessly to say I was buzzing for this one.

Kicking off the proceedings was Blackwork and they warmed up things nicely with a great set, showing how much they’ve improved and gotten consistently better in a live situation since their formation. I especially enjoyed vocalist Josh’s enthusiastic performance – always a good quality in a frontman – and their demo tracks were great live, in particular Doomgiver. I quite liked the new song too, although I have to admit the chorus sounded a bit off for whatever reason. But regardless, I was impressed and I think these guys will make their mark in Glasgow’s local metal scene in 2015. Only time will tell…

Next up was Servant Sun who, despite being haunted by countless technical issues, delivered quite a set, with every tune hitting their mark and keeping the crowd hooked. The band were tight and worked well as an equal unit. Also it wasn’t until this gig that I came to appreciate what a damn good vocalist Andrew truly was, in fact during the gig a guy compared him to Myles Kennedy, a statement which isn’t too bold actually. These guys are another great local band which can expect a bright future if they keep the work up.

And now for the moment I long waited for. Akord took to the stage, and to put it bluntly, they were phenomenal, hands down the best live set of the year so far! Excellent live presence, incredible guitar, bass and drum work, the whole crowd – including myself – in the palm of their hand clapping and singing along going nuts in unison, it was quite the experience. They even battled through a major PA fault where half the sound cut off without missing a beat. Soon they finished with my favourite track of theirs, Carry The Sound, to wrap up an electrifying set.

After that, I was exhausted but still buzzing for Exist Immortal to hit the stage, and they delivered big time with the best performance I’ve seen them play to date. The whole band was on top form, churning out all their best tunes with the highlights for me being Liberator, their new single The Void, and The Participant which is my favourite track off their album Darkness Of An Age. An insane set to cap off one hell of a gig.

I had high expectations for this show, and they were exceeded big time. Exist Immortal and Akord are two incredible bands that seriously deserve to be bigger, and Servant Sun and Blackwork are a pair of bands that I believe are going to flourish and grow over the course of the year. On the whole, a cracking show which reminded me why I got involved in local music in the first place.