Review – New Age Grace at Duffy’s Bar, Saturday 22nd June 2019

Photo: New Age Grace by Kevin Gaughan

with One Still Standing

Reviewed by Liz Marriott

What do you do when you’re in a four band line up, and two of the other artists drop out at the very last minute? Throw down an impromptu acoustic set, of course. Both The Night I Burned, and prophetically named A House Divided, withdrew from Saturday night’s event at Duffy’s Bar, amidst rumours of disbandment.

Guitarists and vocalists from headliners New Age Grace, and remaining support act One Still Standing, gamely stepped up to the mark to fill the empty slots. With a series of soulful ballads, and even at one point a cross-band collaboration, they more than delivered, despite having had less than a day to prepare.

One Still Standing (acoustic) Photo: Kevin Gaughan

Having lulled the small but appreciative audience into a false sense of security, all five members of One Still Standing proceeded to pile onto the stage for something considerably heavier. Visceral riffs combined with brutal blast beats, pounding breakdowns, harmonised solos, and memorable, shout-along choruses, in an exceptionally energetic performance, reminiscent of Eyes Set To Kill.

Frontwoman Victoria May snarled through the set with incredible charisma, twice leaving the stage to instigate a mosh pit. She showcased remarkable vocal sustain, but acquitted herself best when singing in an attitude-laden, punk-inspired style. Backing vocals were provided by guitarists Robin Michard, and Owen Trott, which added another layer to the band’s savage sound.

It wasn’t all unrelenting ferocity, however: the Leicester-based group demonstrated their versatility, with the interjection of a slow ballad, followed by an impressive, guitar-led, instrumental interlude, just before their final two songs. This was a well-played idea in every respect, adding emphasis to the momentously aggressive concluding tracks.

One Still Standing have just released a new single, Little Miss Arrogant, which is available to stream on Spotify. If you like what you hear, check them out at The Shed on the 20th of July, where they are hosting the second annual gig for Rage Against Cancer.

See our interview with One Still Standing after they performed:

One Still Standing Photo: Kevin Gaughan

One Still Standing on Facebook

New Age Grace were next to grace the stage, with their slightly more mellow brand of female-fronted alternative rock. I last saw the group at a Metal to The Masses semi-final, where they gave an accomplished performance. Headlining their own event, however, the four-piece had a phenomenal sound, with singer Amy Louise’s soaring vocals proving the perfect complement to their moody tracks, and melodic lead guitar. Serenading the audience with a mixture of upbeat and slower songs, their set was both well-structured and atmospheric.

Highlights included some adroitly executed harmonised backing vocals and bluesy solos from the lead guitarist, and clever, tom-heavy drum fills, interspersed by brilliantly understated bass from the rhythm section. Their final track, Don’t Follow, was a genuine show-stopper, building from a clear and poignant intro into a breath-taking crescendo of multi-faceted melodies.

With their emphasis on strong songwriting, I believe that The Leicester-based quartet would work brilliantly on a line up with renowned local artist The Siobhan Mazzei Band.

New Age Grace Photo: Kevin Gaughan

See our interview with New Age Grace with their performance of Life Without Walls:

You can catch New Age Grace supporting another fantastic Leicester group, The Surrealists, at The Soundhouse on Friday, July 7th. Mark it in your diary!

New Age Grace on Facebook
New Age Grace with The Surrealists event on Facebook

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