Sextapes – Subside, Birmingham – 10.12.15

   I’m going to start this post off by stating a few things about this gig. Firstly, the venue this gig took place at was brand new and this was the first show they had put on. So, as expected, some technical problems did arise. Secondly, a lot of the technical problems did appear to only affect the one band, this cannot be explained other than they were the more active band regarding stage presence. And finally, I was invited along by Sextapes, who are some lovely boys and very chatty. But I also got to speak to some of the Outlander boys who also seem very friendly. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to speak to Brass Tongue, but I did get to see their set. 

Brass tongue

   They were first band on and they made lots of noise. By noise I mean the good kind! Featuring harsh vocals and good strong guitars, Brass Tongue started the gig off brilliantly. Throughout their set; Bass was clearly heard and wasn’t drowned out by over powerful guitars or drums, backing vocals were minimal yet well placed within their songs, and the drums were also in time and clean with no mistakes from the drummer. 
   Something I wasn’t a fan of was when the one guitarist, who was also providing some backing vocals, became quite aggressive with his performance, however it worked well with their sound due to the harshness of the vocals. I don’t know, however if it was down to sound problems or what, I just wasn’t keen on the additional vocals. Due to the harsh quality provided by the lead vocalists I felt it was enough. Sometimes soft vocals work well against harsher ones, sometimes slightly different pitched harsh vocals go well against other harsh vocals, but I just wasn’t feeling it. As mentioned previously though, the backing vocals were very neat and perfectly placed. 
   This doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the set because I did, they were lively and provided a show, and their talents were displayed throughout. I always love a good concentration face too, and I certainly loved the drummers! Trust me if you watch closely, most drummers and often a bassists/guitarists will pull a strange face whilst concentrating and it’s always beautiful. And I just love it so much because when there’s a weird face being pulled through concentration you can almost guarantee there is passion behind what that person is doing.


   The second band to grace this new venue with their sound. A sound that is very clear, with a light tempo to start with which was brought through by the guitars. After a beautiful intro clear, clean cut drums grace your ears. These drums however you cannot help but feel should sound out of place because of the beauty/soft tones brought through by the guitar riffs, in reality worked so great with them! They really bring the piece of music together well. 
   Throughout the rest of their very music orientated set, the bass was perfectly blended in with the guitars and not overpowering, displaying that each piece has been very carefully thought about. Each musician is super talented, there were no errors present whatsoever and changing from one song to another was very swiftly yet smoothly done. Outlander have a small similarity to that of Mansionair, but feature their own unique touch to the music world. Outlander are a band producing music how many Indie bands wish they could, fresh, new and exciting. 
   They’re different, they’ve got an edge and it just feels so right. I literally feel like I’ve been waiting for this style of music for awhile and now it’s finally here I’m quite excited. I can’t wait to here more of them and their ambient post rock sound. 
   As you may have noticed, I haven’t mentioned anything about a vocalist, because Outlander don’t have one. Here I would usually say something about how I’d like to see what lyrics could be matched to the music, or even what way the sound would turn with a vocalist present within the band. However, I just love it as it is, because the music makes you feel everything that I believe lyrics would. 
   The four piece band display the minimalist amount of stage presence, which consists of gentle sways and head bops, that work perfectly against their sound.  Again stage presence is something I love to discuss and don’t like not seeing, but Outlander are contradicting everything I thought I loved about live performances! 
   Something that really stood out for me was when they switched up the tempo to something a little more faster and “upbeat”, they still managed to keep it to that new edge that they’ve created. I can safely say I am a fan of Outlander and certainly would see them live again.


   Sextapes as usual were lively from the get go, with the vocalist filling the tiny “stage” area with his movement. Guitarists showed more stage presence than what I’ve seen before, which brought this set together a little more. They also had their new bassist with them who seemed to fit in well with the rest of the band, and wouldn’t have been known to be new unless you actually knew like I did. Due to microphone problems, the vocalist could hardly be heard, due to what I believe was a faulty lead as he was the only one to use a slightly longer lead as he is prone to moving round frequently and quickly. As well as the stage being so tiny all musicians were closely packed together making drums a little too clearly heard. Even if the drums were clean cut and very well played. Guitarists played very strongly with riffs that stick in your head for the rest of the night. Their music is catchy and full of rhythmic melodies that are very remember-able. 
   What was a massive thing that stood out to me was how they just handled the fact people were running round like loonies trying to fix things and that things were going badly, and carried on performing to the high standard that they do. The vocalist continued to perform all vocals even with knowing his mic was suffering serious tech problems, guitarists and bassist stayed calm and continued to play showing no worry of a bad performance being lumbered upon them. Drummer managed to keep his cool during songs despite symbols falling over and his bass drum slipping off the stage. All in all they showed the up-most professionalism that they could in such an awkward situation. Which is something bands aren’t often credited for. 

Thanks as always for the kindness you show by reading my opinions and thoughts. Leanne xo

P.s. A quick something that isn’t to do with the performances of the bands above or the bands themselves; big up to our good pals who were helping to try and keep the drum kit in the right place, refitting the mic wire when it disconnected and to the guy who helped me get the attention of the sound guy when things needed turning up. You guys really helped and Sextapes are very thankful for your help!! xo

Closure in Moscow – The Rainbow Venues, Birmingham – 08.11.2015

Surprise You’re Dead Music always get a good line up, and this was no exception. In one of my favourite venues, an amazing night unfolded…

Rubio –

Rubio were the first band to play and they were really something else, with a soft rock indie vibe and a style I’d never heard before. A totally unexpected pleasure. A band of few words, that provided beautiful music without lyrics. Yes; without lyrics. It was great watching them as you got to appreciate the instruments on their own, raw talent with no vocal distractions. This band had a feel similar to Two Door Cinema Club, sometimes leaning more towards You Me At Six in songs where the feel was overall heavier, more rock than indie. These parts seemed in place of a defined vocal chorus, but in my opinion worked just as well, if not in some ways better.
The bass was simple, clear and clean throughout their set but worked well, a nice change from the usually heavy bass feature in bands I’m used to seeing. There was minimal stage presence, which I’m not the biggest fan of because I love when personalities shine through, but in this case it really helped you to get a feel of the music and enjoy it. The drummer was the most expressive, really enjoying himself. I love a good expressive drummer the faces they can’t help but pull amuse me no end, and this guy was no exception. Something I loved about them being instrumental was that it would’ve been obvious if anyone messed up, guitarists especially, but not once did this happen during their set!
The experience overall was good and I’d happily see them again. Although it obviously isn’t their style, I’d love to see the kinds of lyrics these guys could write and fit in with their music, I think it’d be very interesting. The hard work and effort they obviously put into their music has paid off no end and it shines through when they perform.

Atlas: Empire-

The second band to play were Atlas: Empire and they were a BIG change from what we’d just heard with Rubio. They had vocals, screaming and a much heavier feel. The first thing I noticed with this band was their stage presence. Because of the lack of stage presence in Rubio, it was good to see this band really making themselves known and being interactive, it felt like the gig atmosphere I am used to; a performance.
Every member of this band is extremely talented, without a doubt. Throughout their set their strengths shone bright and they were fantastic. The bassist and guitarists have amazing voices, one of the guitarists being the screamer, all delivering amazing sound. Now, I want to give a special mention to the drummer of this band. He was in time, powerful (but not overwhelming), no noticeable mistakes were made and he was fantastic. I’m giving this special mention because an announcement the band made caused his talent to stand out over the rest; he’d been in the band for only 7 weeks! Already on tour with them and performing this well, it emphasised his talent even more.
Everything to do with their sound was balanced, clear and well done. These boys are from Glasgow and throughout their set there were moments where their lovely accents came through, bringing a twist to their sound vocally. Overall these guys were very good, I loved their set and their songs are both written and performed very well.

Icarus the Owl-

Well, Icarus the Owl. One word: Animated. This band’s stage presence was fantastic and they are all INCREDIBLY talented. The main vocalist and the bassist are the two who really bring the performance. Both fill the stage with movement, bringing the stage to life, making themselves seen. The guitarist on the other hand, although doing some movement and clearly enjoying himself, he also put his back to the audience a lot; which strangely bought an air of mystery to the performance and really works quite well!
Instrumentally, every member bought something special and they were all absolutely spot on. The drummer was very neat, very fast and everything sounded clean and clear; the guitarist provided second vocals and played mainly on the neck of his guitar rather than the body, something that I always think looks super cool and must take A LOT of practice; the vocalist, playing guitar as well as throwing out fantastic vocals, one again playing on the neck of his guitar for some parts (SO cool).
The vocals of this band were awesome, nothing particularly quirky stood out but they were so strong and harmonised throughout it was powerful. The main vocalist had a sound similar to a vocalist I’m very fond of, Brendon Urie from Panic! At the Disco. Thinking about it, the music as a whole was also a strange mix of Panic! At the Disco and Enter Shikari.

Closure in Moscow-

Closure in Moscow were the headline band and very rightly so! They were absolutely amazing and their set was a total work of art. From stage presence to the way their interacted with each other they were wonderful. This band are a bundle of energy; pure and uncontained. The front man and lead singer was simply brilliant, jumping around, hyped and animated – a performance on its own. The movement was constant, the stage presence was IMMENSE and they genuinely lit up the room with their personalities. Their crowd interaction was spot on throughout with loads of banter and jokes, keeping the crowd entertained in the best way. One of the best parts of this gig has to be the obvious bromance between the bassist and the drummer. Now, I love a good bromance, but this was beyond good. It was funny and well-timed and yet another source of humour from these boys.
The music side of this band was also incredible, they’re clearly all very talented. The lead vocals consisted of catchy fast temp and talk-singing; which I love, it can bring a whole new element to a song. Back-in vocals were perfectly harmonised with the lead and made their snazzy dance moves even better. The guitars were quick, skilled and perfectly in time, the bassist was always in time, clearly giving his all.
Every member of this band screamed talent and they bought an amazing end to an amazing gig.

This whole experience was something else, such diverse and new musicians making seriously wonderful sounds. If you haven’t already, go check out their music on YouTube (there’s some videos below!) or even better, get yourself to a show!

As always, thank you for reading guys, see you next time, Leanne & Kirsty xxx

Sadly Rubio seem to be invisible online! If anyone finds a link to a video or ANYTHING, let us know in the comments!

Atlas : Empire – Long Live The New Flesh

Icarus The Owl – Skysweeper

Closure In Moscow – Seeds Of Gold