Saturday 17th January 2015
The all-dayer held at The Shed is a play on the name of the metal festival: Bloodstock. Today’s gig featured some of the metal and hardcore bands currently playing in Leicester and nearby areas. This was held on the main stage upstairs.
Bands playing today: Halfway House, Perception, Basilisk, Rituals, This is Turin, As Empires Burn, Ashes of Maybelle, Coloured by Numbers, Drowning Grace, Icons, Vera Grace, Red Seas Fire, Lock and key.
The first band started at just after 2 pm. The audience immediately got dancing – a wild flailing of arms and legs and other impressive moves that suggested it would be a good idea to choreograph a modern dance event based on this kind of music.
Halfway House, a five-piece hardcore band from Leicester were first on stage. Describing their style as Beatdown/Deathcore and their influences as Black Tongue, Acrania, Martyr Defiled, Thy Art Is Murder, Desolated, Chelsea Grin and Sentenced, you see where they are coming from. Halfway House has a track on Soundcloud if you want to have a listen.
Perception came from Oxford. Playing for the first time in Leicester, this band describes their music as ‘Technical metal.’ The five-piece has a debut EP out – Realisations – which is on the band’s Bandcamp page. If you want to check them out they are on Facebook. The four-piece provided a resoundingly good set, with the vocals being spoken, growled and screamed against a back line laced with glittering guitar solos.
Basilisk, a four-piece band from Market Harborough, featured the lead singer of Ascend The Skies, Will McLaughlan. This new line-up of musicians is every bit as good as that of ATS and Will led the band in a stimulating set. After a dramatic opening, the band launched into its hair-tingling songs. Heavily political messages in the lyrics. On the upstairs stage there was plenty of space for the dancers, moshers and the band’s lead vocalist. It was sternly good stuff. Blasting and banging out dark, sepulchral sounds light with stroboscopes.
I would like to have stayed for the whole of the day but other commitments meant that I had to miss a couple of hours. In the evening another gig took place downstairs: Gonzo’s birthday party with a line-up of punk bands.
In the evening, there seemed to be more people in the venue. When I arrived back, Coloured by Numbers was on the stage. This band from Peterborough featured a singing drummer and they were pretty good at what they did, I thought.
Drowning Grace, a local band, and one that plays regularly at the The Shed, features the vocals of Ben Cotton. This is a band we have written about before:
‘Just when you thought ‘it can’t get any better …’, on came Drowning Grace. The Leicester/Nottingham metalcore magnificos put on a storming set. The quintet of hardcore hammerers worked their way through a set that was exhilarating, pumping out enough high octane fuel to power a flight to mars. They really went for it and delivered a totally awesome performance which was nothing short of iconic.’ – Arts in Leicester magazine.
Drowning Grace played at the finals of I Wanna Be A Rock Star in 2014; we said of their performance:
The presence of Drowning Grace at tonight’s finals, testifies to that. The five-piece metal-core band is led by Ben Cotton – one of Leicester’s more theatrical stage personalities and tonight he was on fine form. Mayhem broke out on the floor of The Shed as an unusually pugilistic mosh pit broke started up in response to the band’s exhilarating music. A squad of wildly thrashing fans went wild to the head-banging beats. Mosh pits work at The Shed in a way that they generally do not at most other venues. It would be wrong to think that Drowning Grace is just a group of crazy guys going mad on stage – behind the explosive chaos of their songs and the wild-cat antics of the band members, there is razor-sharp musicianship and a tautly intense delivery that can easily be missed in the frenzy of their performances and the mental mosh pits that are their hall-mark. Ben Cotton is one of the most incendiary rock stars to be found on the gigs circuit and other members of the band often jump off the stage to get in the fans, still playing and never missing a beat as they race around the room. The main stage room became a wild sea of people going crazy for the music, an exhilarating set of pyrotechnic sounds and screaming vocals characteristic of metal-core driven by angst and brutality.[Music in Leicester 2014]
Today they gave us another thrilling set.
In the downstairs bar, a variety of bands were playing, including Noise Abuse, Hi-Fi Spitfires (from Newcastle upon Tyne) and Leicester veteran punkers First Wave.
In the upstairs room a merch. stall had been set up, displaying a range of t-shirts and CDs for sale.
Icons played on the main stage. The Leicester hardcore band comprises Neil Vernon – Vocals, Chris Riley – Bass, Alan Forrest – Drums, Nick Toutjiaris – Guitar and Joe Newman – Guitar. Their set of songs would aptly be described as thrilling and exhilarating, a totally head-banging performance of rocket-fuelled metal. Tense, taught tunes dripping with testosterone and sweat. Their set of heavy metal songs sparkled with kinetic energy. Having formed in 2011, they have played with bands such as I, The Breather, Bleed From Within, Heart of a Coward, Hacktivist, Martyr Defiled, Napoleon, Continents, Lock & Key and many more.
Downstairs Hi-Fi Spitfires included Tony Taylor (First Wave) on bass. All three band members contributed to the vocals. Punk veterans The Sedations were playing earlier; a Leicester band that has been around for a while they are signed to Vengeance Records.
Vera Grace played upstairs. The five-piece from Oxfordshire, played a set that had plenty of punch. Their free-standing lead vocalist was backed by highly-fuelled playing and on-stage action. This was the first time that band had played in Leicester. Their music had much mood and colour.
First Wave played downstairs. Really good to see this band again; they have been around since about …. The three musicians all sing. We rooted out an old photo of them playing at the Soundhouse in 2011:
Towards the end of the night we saw Red Seas Fire, somewhat different from the previous bands, their music was more melodic in character and they delivered a sharply polished performance. Their bass player had a radio mic for his instrument so he ran round the room, still playing. The band comes from Wrexham/Cheltenham/Harrogate/Bristol.
The headline on the main stage was Lock and Key. Lock & Key formed in late 2013 by members Richard Lardner, Ben Wright, Nathan Waller, Danny Reeves and Josh Murphy. Following a near-death illness from vocalist Richard Lardner, Lock & Key was created from a collaboration of like-minded musicians from around the UK. Lock & Key create relatable material through experiences of the band members which are both lyrically and musically evocative. The first single So Alone was released in February 2014. The band started to rapidly gain interest from fans around the world and by May 2014 the band had already toured the UK and Europe. Whilst still in their infancy, Lock & Key have already shared the stage with the likes of Deez Nuts, Bury Tomorrow, Heart Of A Coward, Funeral For A Friend and many more. Lock & Key released their debut EP The Divide in September 2014 via Small Town Records.
Personally, I am not convinced that all-dayers are a good idea – even on Saturdays. Not exactly a huge turn-out today even though there are only two Bloodshed shows a year. Quite a few members of the audience were there all day – from 2 pm ’til the close. The evening gigs that are put on in the basement on a regular basis seem to attract a healthy attendance. However, it remains a fact that now The Shed is the only venue in Leicester that puts on hardcore gigs, now that Lock42 has gone. Bands of this genre are sometimes seen at The Soundhouse. Congratulations to Matthew Pearman for organising today’s event and for keeping the flag flying for hardcore.