First up were With Ghosts, who opened for Moose Blood when I saw them back in March. At that show I felt a little underwhelmed, because they had absolutely blown me away supporting Decade, but thankfully at this show they were back at the top of their game. Last time I saw them it was disappointing that there were some musical issues, but after hearing the band in the same venue again I’m thinking it was more likely to be technical problems rather than something for which they were at fault.
I’m still impressed by how memorable their songs are – I could remember lyrics despite the fact that I’d only heard the songs once, and that was the same tonight. Opening songs ‘On My Own’ and ‘Just A Ghost’ are both brilliantly written, catchy, memorable and reminiscent of Verses or Only Rivals, both UK pop-punk bands who are rapidly rising through the ranks. ‘Bury Me’ has a backing vocal from bassist Josh Rankin, and his vocal complemented that of Nathan Gregory beautifully, and I really enjoyed seeing another aspect to their set.
With Ghosts aren’t smashing down any boundaries, and would comfortably appeal to fans of Kids In Glass Houses or You Me At Six, but this isn’t a bad thing – what they do, they do well. The band seemed much more comfortable on stage this time around, taking the time to talk to the crowd and joking around a little bit, and that’s great to see; they’re very good and they should start believing in themselves more. Still waiting on that EP, though…
On My Own
Just A Ghost
Sorry, I’m Not Sorry
I only saw Elasea a couple of weeks ago, as support for Funeral For A Friend, but they were the standout moment at that show and so were the main reason I decided to go along to this one. I was actually really happy about the fact that they played the same setlist, because it really demonstrated how memorable the songs were – similarly to With Ghosts, I was singing along to the whole first half of their set, and was amazed that I could remember them so well.
I definitely think I enjoyed Elasea more in a smaller venue; the outro to ‘Time Is Against Us’ sent shivers down my spine, and was much more memorable in a room where the whole crowd were enraptured by their performance. At the previous show, the crowd had seemed fairly nonchalant, but it was great to see a lot of people getting really into their performance, because they definitely deserve it.
Part of the charm of Elasea is that they sound similar to other bands, but it isn’t blatantly in your face; they’re a force unto themselves. I found myself thinking that the guitar line in ‘Shallow Waters’ was similar to ‘History’ by Funeral For A Friend, and I found it ironic that I didn’t hear that when I saw them together, but I could still hear the essence of Lower Than Atlantis or Mallory Knox woven throughout.
Even though I enjoyed this smaller show it definitely doesn’t mean that I think they’re going to stay in small venues. I’m going to advise you to keep a close eye on this band, because they have so much promise, and I can’t wait to see them again in the future. With the (inadvertent) announcement that there’s a music video for ‘Lost In The Dark’ coming soon, I’m highly anticipating it – the song is sure to be a big one, and I can imagine it filling arenas because of how beautifully it’s written. I hadn’t heard of Elasea until the first time I saw them, but I’m not going to be forgetting them any time soon.
To Feel Alive
Time Is Against Us
Glory For The Sinner
Lost In The Dark
Completely the opposite, main support band Double Experience were a group that I’d never heard of before, and this was explained when I found out that they’re actually Canadian! Having landed in the UK on May 16th, they’ve been playing a handful of shows around the country during their time here, and I for one am very pleased that I stumbled across their frenetically energetic show.
From the moment they started, I couldn’t help but compare them to Panic! At The Disco or Fall Out Boy; not musically, but vocally. Ian Nichols voice has that inimitable flair of theatricality that means you just get sucked completely into the music, and I was stunned and impressed by what I was hearing. ‘Wolf In The Ewe’, their opening song, was completely absorbing, and the entire crowd was eating out of the palms of Double Experience’s hands – even though I could bet that not many of the audience had heard of them before tonight.
This didn’t let up throughout, and with guitarist Brock Tinsley announcing that they’d come all the way from Canada to “erase all memories of Justin Bieber and Celine Dion”, I can almost categorically confirm that they succeeded in doing exactly that throughout their thirty minute set.
Double Experience definitely felt like the most niche act of the evening – the other bands are all rock and pop-punk, but Double Experience are definitely succeeding with their own mission statement and are “bringing the ‘roll’ back into rock music”, as well as having songs that had synths – it was just such a hugely unique mixture. I can’t imagine these guys selling out massive venues, because they do seem as though they will have more success as an underground band, but when you have songs about pirates and Godzilla, and bring the fun level to a show, that’s all you really need.
Setlist: (which I think is correct, but I might have a song or two wrong!)
Wolf In The Ewe
Who The Hell?
– (song about pirates)
Away With Words
Mojave, Mo’ Problems
After such a brilliantly rounded and talented bill, All Ears Avow had a hell of a lot to live up to – and by god, they played the best I’ve ever seen them. I’d seen them before their Decade support slot and I didn’t find them memorable at all, but something fundamental has changed because this is not a band you can pass over easily anymore – their songs grab you by the throat and do not let go.
As this was a launch party for their album, ‘Get In The Game’, the majority of their set was new material, and it was stunning to see how well received it was so quickly. Opening with ‘I Must Be Dreaming…’, the intro song to the album, was a great move – it’s a bit of a quieter, understated song, and following it up with the powerfully performed ‘I Can Help You To Bend’ showed exactly what All Ears Avow are about.
‘You’re Not Yourself’ was probably my favourite of the new songs performed – the strength in the song is palpable, and Claire Sutton screaming “I just don’t care” felt so damn empowering. If it’s possible, I think her live vocal has gotten even better since the last time I saw them, and it blew me away back then! The end of the song has a brilliant split vocal, with each member singing a different vocal line, and it was obvious how much each of them was enjoying the show. This band aren’t going to get complacent; despite the fact that they’ve just released an album and that is a huge deal, you can still see that they’re trying hard to put on a brilliant show and want to make the best possible night out for their crowd.
Some bizarre part of me still finds aspects of All Ears Avow that sound like Don Broco – last time I saw them it was during ‘Better Now’, but during this show they played a new song called ‘Along The Way’. With a funk influenced introduction that got everyone dancing and the gradual development into the heavier sound, Don Broco are one of the only bands I know that can pull it off without it sounding cheesy, so I’m glad I’ve finally found another band with the talent for mixing the genres seamlessly.
The thing that really stood out for me about this show was how different the songs on ‘Get In The Game’ were from each other, but how cohesive they sounded as a collection. ‘Walls’ is an epic of a song, and when compared to ‘Along The Way’ or ‘I Must Be Dreaming…’ it’s such a marked difference, but it feels like a natural progression of the bands sound which is a huge achievement – one that many well-established bands cannot successfully achieve. Even older songs ‘Wings On Butterflies’ and ‘Home’ still sounded at home (haha!) in their set, though they were notably softer than the newer material. That’s definitely a testament to how talented All Ears Avow are; they’re serious about their craft, and they aren’t just throwing songs out here there and everywhere – you can tell that this album has had a lot of time and effort poured into it, and the band deserve a huge round of applause just for that. The album was recorded strictly DIY, over the course of a year and a half, and it’s a huge accomplishment.
I am very proud of this band – they’re giving Swindon a good name, and it’s about time really! I’ve never before seen a band of this size perform an encore, but the second the music stopped the chant of “One more song!” started flooding the room, and it really is inspiring to see a crowd get so involved with a local band. If you’re from around Swindon, I’d suggest you check out All Ears Avow’s upcoming tour dates, as they’re playing Wantage and Bristol over the next few days and this is not a show that you want to miss.
I Must Be Dreaming…
I Can Help You To Bend
You’re Not Yourself
Wings On Butterflies
Along The Way