Hearts and Souls kicked off proceedings for a decent sized crowd. They reminded me of Paramore, if their influences were bands such as Foo Fighters and Radiohead. I was actually pleasantly surprised watching them live, because after listening to their songs online I was under the impression that they were a mellow band but this isn’t the case. Granted there are songs that have a lighter vibe such as ‘There’s Something About Francis’ and Lucinda’s pleasant melodic vocals add to this vibe; but some songs have a faster tempo and are heavier. Connor on the drums was the highlight for me, as he played complex beats which dominated the songs and were particularly catchy at times, especially during the bridge of ‘Honest’. Lucinda does an excellent job, not only as the vocalist and bassist but as the frontwoman. She interacted with the crowd extremely well, with all the confidence of someone that had been doing this for years; her joke about how guitarist Justin looked like a dark haired version of Pat Smear was the best example of this.
They played a set of about six/seven songs, which as well as the aforementioned two included; ‘We Were All Lost’, there was also a nameless song which the crowd was allowed to name (didn’t really go very well) and ‘Thinking of Me’, a song which had never been played live before. It was a mixed bag really, featuring sugary songs and foot tapping heavier stuff – which is always a good thing as it shows of their versatile sound. One thing I will say is that for the most part Lucinda’s vocals were somewhat drowned out by the music making it hard to hear them clearly. Justin and Andy’s riffs are minimalist, concise and catchy which along with Lucinda’s soft vocals and Connor’s vigourous drumming forms a nice sound, one that isn’t too hectic. The final song they played, Thinking of Me, was the culmination of all the elements present in the band, a nice mixture of their slower and more upbeat sounds. It was a song that got the crowd clapping along and considering that in just over an hour that same crowd would be violently two-stepping, it speaks droves for Hearts and Souls’ abilities.
Echo Rain were the next band on stage a progressive-rock band from Brighton who as they so eloquently put it was “losing their Hull virginity”. Glad I could be a part of that, guys. They categorise themselves as pro-rock but I felt they were more suited to the pop-punk style, with influences of the former. Chris’ vocals reminded me of bands such as Fallout Boy and musically it had the speed and chord changes you’d expect from the genre, coupled with its radio friendly sound. That’s not to say they are formulaic, they are full of interesting surprises. Their song ‘Cum in Your Hair’ opens with an almost Bullet For My Valentine-esque riff played by Ollie, who in certain songs also plays the odd prog lick. Bassist and secondary vocalist Aaron, performs the more powerful and aggressive vocals which at times almost verge on being hardcore.
When on stage Echo Rain seemed to genuinely enjoy what they are doing, their set was full of humorous interactions between Aaron and Chris (especially true during ‘The Gay Song’) and the crowd. The highlight was when they introduced ‘Everyone gets One’ as about being attacked by zombies in Leeds, which they described in a deadpan way as “kinda weird”. It is little jokes like this that make a gig feel that much more personal to each member of the audience. Aaron was also entertaining to watch, bouncing around the stage like a man possessed. The band finished up on a strong note with ‘Not Here to Make Friends’ and ‘Bad Guys’, the former of which showed the dual vocalists’ skill with some tricky higher-pitched notes held beautifully, juxtaposed with some rougher vocals. The two vocal styles mingled effectively and with a great affinity; it was an absolute pleasure to listen to. The bridge section during the latter song was incredible; featuring powerful drumming by way of James that sounded like it could have been ripped straight from a post-chorus in a metal song. I’m not really a fan of Echo Rain’s genre but I rather enjoyed their set, especially their incorporation of elements from other genres.
Hardcore band Last Words of the Brave were the third band of the night and the most appropriate for getting the crowd warmed up for The Colour Line. Having already listened to their free-to-download self titled EP I was quite looking forward to this band, they’re what you’d expect from a Hardcore band; masters of the double bass, use of octave leads and feedback on guitars (by way of Tim and Louie) and songs that average between two to three minutes. From the moment they began vocalist Casey prowled around and interacting with the pitting crowd; shouting in their faces, pushing them around etc.
The band played songs from their EP, the standout for me was ‘Slags’, featuring a breakdown with such a rolling rhythm that it instantly set off a tornado of flying fists as the audience also joined in the shouting of ‘where the slags gone’. I also enjoyed the song ‘Ours For the Taking’ a rather long song at just under five minutes, which features a melodic bridge section. My personal highlight was Sam, the drummer who plays D-beat and fast violent double bass and dominates the songs. Jordan’s bass intro during ‘Legacy’ is also interesting and provides a refreshing change from the guitar and drum led songs. Overall they were a good band who were surprisingly technical in their workings, but also had the aggression to match – Casey bore the gauntlet of the rapid crowd and Tim also randomly charged off the stage at one point. They play with such furious rhythm that you’d have to be the most placid person on the planet to not want to bang and shake your head to it.
Last but certainly not least were The Colour Line, the band I was most looking forward to seeing (being a fan of Beneath the Eyes of Eternity.) Their set began similarly to how a typical BTEOE would begin, with a pseudo-techno intro blasting out the sound systems, leaving those that haven’t seen them before scratching their heads in confusion. Tonight was officially the end of the line for BTEOE seeing as how bassist Lloyd and guitarist Aaron (the one without the greatest beard in the world, that’d be Sam) have now left the band, not that the atmosphere was a sombre one; their set began as it meant to go on – fast paced and relentless. Musically they share many similarities with their predecessor; drummer James still performs his clean vocals on certain songs which makes for an interesting change off with Chris’ deep growling vocals; which are similar to BTEOE’s but more refined and stronger. Their playing style is faster and the riffs are more complex, especially on ‘Glitter, Spandex and Egos’ and the songs sound less like a Lamb of God demo.
A healthy number of Beneath the Eyes of Eternity songs were included in the set; ‘Apprehension’, ‘This is the Ocean, This is My Home’ (which formed their encore) and ‘Bromance is the Only Romance’. But their new work helped to balance this out with songs such as ‘Glitter, Spandex and Egos’ and ‘Gone Fishing’, the former of which was probably their heaviest song. Instead of ending the set with a simple ‘cheers’ like they had done in the past as BTEOE, they went flat out and went out with a bang.
The lone guy hardcore two-stepping during the beginning of their set was a far cry away from the madness that would later follow. It wasn’t just the usual barrage of fists flying inches towards your face like you’re living a day in the life of Kanye West, there were Human pyramids (which Chris somersaulted onto from the stage) and the crowd even invaded the stage at one point – with as many as a dozen people sharing the stage with band. On the second to last song the crowd co-opted the microphone and Lloyd charged into the crowd spending the remainder of the set down there. Every second of their set was an absolute joy to behold, it was anarchy but that’s the point – the crowd tore the place up and the band gave as good as they got. I’ve been to far too many gigs where the crowd is barely moving, safe for a few dedicated individuals fruitlessly head banging at the front. It was what a gig should be – entertaining and unpredictable.
It was a mixed bag as any gigs go; one alt-rock band, one pop punk and two hardcore bands (well one was post hardcore.) But it was enjoyable, whether it was the catchy tunes of Hearts and Souls or the fist-pumping aggression of Last Words of the Brave I couldn’t help but have a good time. And best of all I came away from the experience not only with some new bands to follow but without any facial contusions – which I deem to be a 100% result.