Apathy was the first to take on the stage at Suki10c in Birmingham, UK on Friday 29th July 2016. The two piece band from Birmingham started their set with vibes and sounds similar to that of The Pretty Reckless and The White Stripes. Husky vocals, heavy drums and a strong I’m here presence. Apathy played their set to the venue showcasing themselves by both performance and intelligence, as their set list was planned out strategically to keep you intrigued.
Unfortunately some songs appeared to have rushed drums, and an unusual vocal technique (that I can only describe as dragged out/laugh styled melodies), that just weren’t my cup of tea. But when they started to play Snake, I was shocked by the drastic change of vocal technique. Snake in general saw Apathy completely loosen up and become more confident, which illuminated their performance! But the main thing about Snake that will always stand out to me is the vocalist’s voice! She sang so beautifully and so different to all the other songs, it automatically shocks you and draws you into their music more. The placement of this song in their set was perfectly done.
Apathy are a strong band performance wise, as they stand strong and focused. But they also hold talent too; the vocalist as a woman will stereo typically only be pictured as being able to performer more of the higher pitches. For Apathy, that’s not the case. The vocalist can reach many pitches and uses them well within the songs performed. She carefully builds the tension required between pitch changes and doesn’t drag out the high notes too long, which means she didn’t sound drained. The drummer can move quickly, which is great as he is covering a wide range of beats provided to fill out the songs as well as providing the steady beat throughout the set. He’s skill is very noticeable and works well alongside the vocalists guitar. The guitar playing is very rhythmic and throughout the set is quite low and steady, which is what alongside the drums, provides that similarity to The White Stripes.
Personally I think that by adding a little more depth and structure to their songs, it might make them stand out a bit more than they already do, as already they are unique especially within the Birmingham/West Midlands area. But this is solely being said due to them being a two piece. As a two piece, it can often bring a few downsides to musical performance for many who try it, as often there are is no bass structure. With Apathy, I can see the potential. They show passion which is a strong attribution to making music, but they also have a vocalist that can sing quite low notes which utilised further, with the addition of her beautiful melodic notes and some higher tones, could provide more structure to their songs and really showcase what they’re made of.
Apathy’s overall performance was really good and their music is very enjoyable. They simply ooze everything required for success as well as you can visually see them feel the music, they are not just playing it. I really rate these guys and can’t wait to see what more they have to offer, as I know that they will produce/perform more wonderful things!
Oceania was the second band to grace my ears and boy did they! The three piece band started of really strong, which sometimes isn’t a good sign as the band can become tired and restless towards the end of their sets. Not with these guys! Their whole set was incredible, solely down to their music too as there was very little stage movement.
Now usually I would make a comparison of the whole sound, but that’s just not possible here. Their sound is very unique and not being able to make a major comparison is an amazing quality for the band to have. The only comparison that can be made in my eyes is around the guitar/bass riffs. In some songs; guitars have that quirky Two Door Cinema Club twang, with the simple bass beat to match. Yet drums would be fast and super clean cut, showcasing the drummer’s skills. In other songs; the drums are vividly heard and stand out against the tone the strings are producing. The bass would become faster in tempo, which would in turn make the guitars switch to a deep and hypnotic melody technique that completely contradict everything else. The vocalist provided pitches that would conflict perfectly against the riffs he was playing. Which worked very well for the band, as being a band of three, it meant there was more tonal coverage. What’s spectacular about this band is the fact they all bring something different in style, yet produce something quite beautiful that cannot be pinpointed to a single genre at all.
Oceania are a talented group of lads and to be honest, I can’t wait to see them again! Especially as I managed to speak with their vocalists and he is the most humble and down to earth guy ever! So I can only assume that the other two guys are just as nice! Being a humble band will go in their favour, as you don’t want to be knocking down or winding up the people who will help you achieve and build.
Third to the stage were Half Asleep. Standing proudly ready to introduce this new vibe to the crowd the drummer kicked off the set, with guitars not too far behind. The band sounded tight, were clearly heard and well to be honest they sounded great! Guitars were clear and crisp, bass was heard perfectly and drums were there usual high standard. However, with Half Asleep’s terrible luck, I was a little anxious as to whether or not we’d be graced with vocals. So as the vocalist got into the music and opened his mouth, the intensity I felt was unreal! FINALLY out of nowhere this voice radiated round the room so clearly, it was pure heaven!
Now being able to hear the vocalist meant that finally I and the many spectators could see exactly what Half Asleep have to bring . This perfectly pair with the introduction of their new sound (following their name change), meant that now each members talent was showcased and able to be witnessed. I must admit I am totally digging this shoe-gazey sound so much more!
Showing that they still respect their roots and that they are all about originality, the band performed a new stripped down version of Narcotics which was tastefully and beautifully done. The usually heavy grunge styled number was more toned down, filled with dreamy riffs. Utilising the slowness of this stripped down version, the guitarists were able to perform structured and dragged out chord changes, whilst the bassist was able to stand out and showcase deep tones that added depth to the song. The drums were much lighter enabling the technique to be appreciated, whilst the vocals were softer and had a slight poetic feel to them rather than the husk they usually are.
Ending their set with the ever so energetic Relax and Distill, the band filled the room with their passion. Everyone watching was bouncing along to the beat. All in all it was another great performance from the Birmingham (UK) based five piece.
Finally the headline band Gleam took to the stage and filled the room with their excellent playing and stunning music! But that’s all you’re going to read from me about this set. I thought we’d try something new…
… I’d like to introduce you to an all round nice guy named Perry. Perry is one of the guitarists from Half Asleep, who is also a fan of Gleam. From talking to Perry at the gig, we decided to try something new. So through extensive emails (sorry Perry!) we managed to get an interview done solely around him watching Gleam in the perspective of a support act and a fan. I am very happy with the results and well, take a look for yourself below!
So you’ve just played as support for Gleam, how does it feel playing with a band like Gleam?
P; “Playing with a band like Gleam was pretty cool, being as there aren’t many shoegaze bands in Birmingham, so it was nice to join up with a band on the same bill as us. It was also a pleasure to play with them, considering they are some of the nicest guys I have ever met, and a great band. I mean Gleam are the kind of band you always nod your head too.”
Gleam have a different sound to you guys. So what is it about their sound, in your eyes, that makes them so popular?
P; “Gleam are fairly similar to us, however they do have some key differences. For example, they have a real chilled indie vibe to that really adds to that shoegaze sound they bring. Not to mention the keyboardist very cool, and it adds a sick twist to their music.”
What was your favourite part of the set?
P; “My favourite part of gleams performance was them playing their hit “believe” everybody seemed to know this tune so a lot people were bouncing and nodding their heads.”
As someone in the crowd, what do you think Gleam does best to captivate the audience?
P; “From a crowd point of view the most captivating thing from their performance would of been the music itself. It worked really well with the intimate venue and just sounded huge yet so chilled. As a live performance overall, its so energetic and they really know how to please the crowd.
I did noticed during their set, that one of their guitarists was having some technical difficulties. He really dealt with the issue well and was super calm, I mean to top it off he was a master with the keyboard too.
My all time favourite was when they played, a favourite of mine, Believe. The whole room seemed to know this track and there was so much energy, everyone was bouncing along.”
What do you think of their overall sound?
P; “Their overall sound is mad! The three guitars really adds a cool vibe to the shoegaze sound they are going for, as well as adding a lot of depth to their music. As for the drums and bass, they add that real nice bouncy vibe, yet hold the music together by producing the beat that holds the timing together, and adding that indie vibe. All in all this mix in their music goes together really well.”
And finally, anything you want to add or say?
P; “Just that from me and the rest of Half Asleep, thanks for the opportunity to play with you guys!
Hopefully in the future I’ll get to play with them again, but I will definitely be going to catch them at their next local show. Oh and make sure you check them out and make sure you get down to their local shows.
Big up Gleam!!”
As always thank you for reading this, it means a lot to me! I have had so much fun writing this!
I also want to say thank you to the bands for allowing me to write this, and a massive thank you to Perry for letting me torture you with a ridiculous amount of emails!
Oh and well the bands are great, and you better go check them out!
Apathy – https://www.facebook.com/apathybirmingham/?fref=ts
Oceania – https://www.facebook.com/oceaniatheband/?fref=ts
Half Asleep – https://www.facebook.com/HalfAsleepUK/?fref=ts
Gleam – https://www.facebook.com/gleeeam/