As December Falls
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes
As December Falls
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes
Support: Hidden Mothers
With one of the most anticipated releases of 2021, Employed To Serve set off on a very intimate UK tour for the launch of their record, ‘Conquering’ Madness was sure to ensue at this heavy affair.
Now not knowing much about Hidden Mothers beforehand, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought possibly some head banging and heavy riffs but there was something that what followed was just a lot more laid back in places and more emotional connection to the audience, which was quite a drastic change to be honest. What’s more is that there was a lot of circling from the bands vocalist in a way that made the performance all that more kinetic and connected to the audience.
Definitely a performance to remember for a while, it wasn’t until the final track the whole band came together on stage and outrightly brought the house down.
Onto the main event of the night, Employed To Serve have become one of the hardest working bands of the last few years in the UK, delivering some absolutely killer records along the way. Their latest effort just oozes stomping power and head banging in the best ways for days and that translates over to the livr side of things beautifully because anytime you watch them it’s utter chaos. Some tracks just work out so well in these intimate venues similarly as to for Hidden Mothers and now their sound is just so defined, when one track drops the whole venue just erupts with applause. Employed To Serve prove how savage they are time and time again and there’s just no complaints on the night, they’re heavy as you can get and you’re always wanting just that little bit more.
Photos by JackLiddPhotography.
Support: Heartsink, Merrick’s Tusk
This was the last show before COVID-19 shut everything for myself so I’m going to do my best as to remember as much as I can from the show. As with the Frank Turner review, I’m writing this late because I’ve had problems on my end with different aspects which have punctured my ability to be online and continue this blog but now I’m at a stable capacity as to continue for the time being.
Now I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of watching Heartsink play. I don’t know if it’s their drummer Jake and the hilarious faces that he makes to the audience or Kiel’s nature to just never stand still for more than two seconds at a time, but they’re just so much fun to be able to watch live and to date one of the bands I’ve seen live the most as well where their sound is constantly being perfected where hopefully when the lockdown has stopped we’ll see them playing to their best!
Seconds on are Merrick’s Tusk. Off the bat, I didn’t guess that they’d be as melodic as they came (which is one of the most charming things about the band) across but as with everything these days, looks can be deceiving where they powered through some utterly fantastic tunes to get everybody just that little bit more interested in what was going on during their set. What’s more, is that everyone just became more fixed on them as if they were in a trance so just watch out next-time you watch this band play.
Now I don’t know what it was about Thick Skin but it was as if someone ordered everyone straight to the front of the stage and were made to salute but everyone packed to them in a timely fashion. This band just stormed on and without seemingly trying to stole everyone’s attention and got everyone in the crowd in form. Now I’m not sure if it was the infectious guitar streams of ‘Medicine’ or the accompanying Bass mentality but there was something about this band that made them piercing to just watch and as when I’m finished here, will be listening to again and again.
Now Covent showed us why they were there. Some bands rarely understand how to get themselves picked up by the masses and Covent are just well on their way to. If you listen to any of their tracks, the production is among the best and when compared to watching them live, you see more or less exactly what you hear. But what you see as well, is a well put together setlist which draws everyone in further as well as the group’s energy, more than what Thick Skin we’re able to culminate to something which just pulsates to what just has to be seen. Hopefully, next-time people are in, we’ll get some pits going and things can turn up to eleven.
Support: Micah Schnabel, Jess Guise
I do have to confess, I was in the Photo Pit for a little of each of the artists set’s for this occasion so I do apologise in advance if I fangirl a little bit in this review. Also, I do apologise that this is coming late. I’ve had a bit of trouble finding the right way to do these reviews in an uncertain time in the world at the moment.
Straight off the bat, this was a soulful very toned down show from three distinct artists that did steal the show in their own lights. What’s more, I think being in this intimate a setting for such a large show as well shows how different artists are able to captivate the audience, even if it is in such a calm environment.
First up was Jess Guise, whom I didn’t know at the time but is, in fact, Frank Turner’s wife! In a few ways her musical styling is similar but on the other end of the spectrum of things, it couldn’t be more apart. On one hand, Jess is getting used to performing in front of the fans although, she’s definitely affirmed herself ing the songwriter category where her voice is one of the most defining things about her music aside from the production but everything was so clear when she was performing, you could see why she was there on the stage in terms of her unique attitude as well as her musical skills.
I think I do have to say Micah did remind myself of The Homeless Gospel Choir in terms of the DIY punk-y nature they both have about them, but the things that separate everyone tonight is he was so open about everything he talked about. He was funny, charming and above all, he had this calming quality which came across in his performance that just made you stop and listen to him. You don’t get too many artists such as Micah and it’s important that we listen to the DIY nature because of the lyrics. It’s because of the geographical gap in how he produces his music. He sings about things in the track below, ‘Jazz And Cinnamon Toast Crunch’ that I don’t believe you’d hear if an English artist were to write about and it’s his experiences which divide him among everyone on the lineup.
Lastly, we’ve moved onto Frank Turner, the main man of the night. This tour is in celebration of his latest record, ‘No Man’s Land’ which focuses on the life and stories of historical women. What’s so fantastic about seeing Frank perform is that you see him as a true artist. He’s not doing this performance to prove himself, you see him as playing the tracks so everyone has a chance to hear them and you hear it as if it’s being played for the first time when it’s tracks from the latest record such as ‘Jinny Bingham’s Ghost’, ‘The Lioness’ or more established track such as ‘Get Better’. It’s always as if you know where you’re meant to be when hearing these tracks and I hope Frank continues to alternate and play so many different tracks so people can feel the emotions and celebrate every track and show for many years.
Going into his setlists a little, he played roughly 22 tracks from his career on the evening so you definitely get your money’s worth at a Frank Turner show. But what he’s managed to perfect is how to keep it rising without letting the overall show peak close to midway through his setlist and it’s not just a collection of his best tracks, because there’s always the underrated gems, the heavy hitters and the occasional track that just makes you stand and think about everything there for the performance.
Support: Pulverise, Sertraline
Take it all in, for this is the final show of the story of Chasing Dragons. This would be possibly the great show of their careers, it was rowdy, energetic and downright crazy (some might say a touch clumsy from Adam, but that’s because when he came back on stage from the crowd, he immediately crashed into Kate’s drumkit and destroyed it) but enough of the spoilers, this last night, their farewell Leeds show was a triumphant look back into just what makes Chasing Dragons such a great band to experience live and from this, a celebration of just what the independent Hard Rockers have been able to achieve over the last decade together as a band.
Turning things up to eleven from the very start of things were Rap Metal Partycore (at least this is what they go by on their bio) heavy hitters, Pulverise. This was my first time experiencing this band live and wow, they were just a joy to watch! Everything just seemed to flow naturally for this band but it did look as if you were tripping through half their set because that’s why it was so great to watch. You just never really know what you’re going to get from some bands you see for the first time. High energy riffs and headbanging all around, what more could you want to get things going in the Key Club?
Moving onto the main support of the evening was the Progressive Mettalers; Sertraline. I did have a quick chat with another attendee on the evening, saying that this band were probably the more technical band on the evening and I do have to say that description was fairly accurate. Still, though, the rhythm sections of the band were perfection where the solos cut in to delve into the mix very well. In this, Lizzie’s vocals were tuned almost to perfection where some of the changes from the scream vocals to the clean were lacking as they weren’t as smooth as others in the set. Apart from this though, my only complaint is that their set wasn’t longer because they were pretty fun to watch but I think maybe they gear towards a younger crowd as I think they could’ve gotten a little more out of the audience, especially with their energy output. Still, I’ll be happy to attend a headlining set in the future which I can’t wait to see.
Now after an anxious wait, Chasing Dragons came onto one smoky but thunderous applause, especially with the appropriately named, ‘How The World Went Black’, to open up their set. Powering through some energetic riffs we’ve all come to know and love, especially where ‘Bare Knuckle Lover’ and ‘Parasite’ (Not at all connected with the Oscar-winning 2020 film of the same name) are concerned. All of this is made captivating by a mix of things; Tank’s vocals which just sound absolutely pristine as she leads the fold, which then goes into Kate erupting behind on the drums where you can just see her slamming away and enjoying every moment, then you have riff master Adam who looks as if he’s about to go ballistic tucked away onto the left hand of the stage but from here, it’s as if he’s cooking something truly spine-tingling and last but not least the deep grumble of the one and only man (but not the only one with facial hair on stage tonight) with some glistening facial hair and even more badass on bass; Murf moving into some slyly duotastic moments with everyone on stage.
Switching things over (into an out of tune guitar at first) to an acoustic part of the show, where Tank did dedicate ‘Bravery, Honestly’ to her wife was just so touching and amazing to witness where you could see her stage presence is unmatched, even if a larger band playing on this stage. Not only did she perform that track, but she also performed Shinedown’s ‘How Did You Love’ and you just can’t imagine anything better right now. The intimacy that came with the timing of these tracks in the set is something that’s really lost on a lot of bands but here, Chasing Dragons deliver a gut-punching few acoustic treatments that just beats anything I’ve seen this year so far and quite possibly, within the last few years.
That wasn’t the end though as they kept pulsating through some crowd-pleasers, ‘For Kingdom, For Glory’, Throw Down For King’ just blow everyone away and surpass the expectations that have come to be expected from this band tonight. There was some crowd surfing going on (This is where I said enough of the spoilers so apologies for the repetition in advance) with Tank and Adam but with him, he immediately loses his balance and crashes into Kate’s drumkit, where she just has the most shocked face on in the world and you have to wonder, the look she has on, is it one of ‘Oh no, not again’!, as if he did it on the previous night as well. But nevertheless, Adam soldiers on and marches straight back to his feet, as if he’s Kyle Reece sent back to protect the bands set if this was a musical Terminator film (which would be interesting to watch, now that I think about.)
The last two tracks Chasing Dragons would ever play you ask? Well, that could only be ‘Spawn Of The Succubus’ and ‘Devil In Her Eyes’. I think it dawned on everyone there, no matter what the energy was during these last two tracks (both were high octane, as it should be) is that they have gone above and beyond throughout this set and lived past expectations of an unsigned band as they should be but now, this will live in the bands memory, or at least Tank’s as she declared, (and I can’t remember the exact word for words she used so don’t hold me to this) that ‘This is my favourite show ever’. And it’s not hard to see why; it’s a packed house, some moshing, high energy and right at the end of the set they bring out the Champagne, of which they got me good! And when I say they got me good, they hit me right in the face with it! It’s a good feeling right there I do have to say. Hopefully, all the band members will spin off into some different musical projects because the talent every individual member has, it would be a shame if they didn’t.
Support: Chargone Stone, Petrol Hoers, Jeanot Lou Paysan
This is definitely one of the stranger gigs I’ve ever been two as far as the horses are concerned. That’s right I’m back at the Fulford Arms in York for an evening of madness which is all the words I can think of on the spot to describe one of the acts I’ve just witnessed here. But being here, this is a celebration of the weird and wonderful musicians who are in the scene right now and part of that is celebrating the talents of people who have come afar just to perform for everyone tonight.
First up is the Jeanot Lou Paysan, a French touring drummer who is one very funky person and gets people up and moving. To be fair, there weren’t too many people down early to see this act but they definitely missed out because I’m not one to get up and dance on command but I was tapping. my foot along to what this man was producing. One man on drums being quite electro-y. Does it work? to an extent yes but there’s only so much you can do by yourself so points for trying, absolutely.
Now, this is the weird act I was typing about in the introduction; Petrol Hoers. It felt like a cross of a live-action Bojack Horseman with very Punk overtones splashed with a non-dancing Magic Mike. I was honestly in hysterics for around half of their set and the other half just wondering, ‘What The F***??’. But in that, it’s the beauty of everything there that makes it all the more worthwhile because you just never come across this type of performance, well in my experience at the very least. And in that, you experience something you for one can’t unsee and for a second experience. Nevertheless, it was a half-decent performance by the punk protesters which accumulated in a bit about buying meat from a supermarket and then doing an unspeakable thing on the aforementioned meat when you’re outside to make you realise what has happened to the animal who died. I mean, you only have to assume they’re either vegetarians or vegans at on point.
Chargone Stone is the Frenchmen who is the penultimate act on tonight’s show. The man’s described as a one-man hardcore band and I can vouch for that. With his own PA system, this man wastes no time in getting hot and sweaty on the drums to deliver something concise, fast-paced and 100% captivating where you just want more from this maniac. But two solo drummers in one night? Doesn’t that get a little old? Not in the slightest because what Chargone does is let his personality let rip with his kit where if you see his example, we might have a whole different type of musician in the scene where you have someone who’s fired and charged, ready to roar with every bit of confidence (and sometimes more) than a full band on their best day.
Lastly, Give In. I’ve been waiting for a while This hard-hitting Metalcore Troupe are one of the best bands I’ve come across and had there been a few more people in on the evening, they would’ve been just this commanding force which couldn’t have been stopped. With makeup and all to make them that much more frightening but all the more interesting as well (I’m joking there, I have the utmost respect for the band), they are one band I’ve missed watching live as they’re a band who engage with the audience which is one reason I have a love for the genre. ‘Aftermath’ and ‘Fall To Dust’ are just two tracks you get your money for tonight as there are a whole host of tracks which this band are making their debuts for and it’s with this devotion to how they craft the tracks, especially with their haunting backing vocals from their key shredders which prove to be key to their arsenal which could become set staples for the band.
What works for them as well is how well they work together as a unit, brothers in arms where they just pounce like they’ve injected a hit of adrenaline into the room, at time’s through Mark’s vocals which do prove empowering to the people who were there to bear witness just what is to come in the near future.