There’s a strange art to opening a show. Sadly, I turned up late so I wasn’t completely able to see whether Torbay’s recently reformed six piece Chick Rides Artist had this talent. In the four songs I did manage to see Chick Rides Artist conveyed a well-rehearsed emo-hardcore cross over sound that although perhaps not memorable, did its job of warming up the sadly small crowd for what was to come and showed the Devon boys as a band to watch out for in the future.
Flood of Red have been around a long, long time. Their experience on the circuit showed as the Scottish band breezed with ease through a set of songs from their 2009 debut, Leaving Everything Behind, as well as new material soon to be featured on a forthcoming EP. Mysteriously, many of the band members had their backs to the crowd for most of their set, whether this was due to stage and gear limitations or something else we will never know. Endearingly it showed the members singularing personalities, allowing for a hyperactive bass player who did everything from stumbling around to putting his bass guitar up into the ceiling, to take centre stage as the band tore through their guitar heavy, synth dip-dyed Saosin-esque emotional sound that is criminally underrated.
Nearing the end their set, Night Verses vocalist Douglas Robinson tells the crowd that tonight is only the bands twelve gig. Sure, those gigs include a big slot at this year’s Hevy Festival but that just shows how far the band have come in such a short space of time. Tonight’s set was perhaps the smallest of their shows so far but the band do not care with Robinson taking a break between songs to genuinely thank the crowd for coming. Performing songs from their free to download EP, as well as tracks not yet recorded, the band feverishly created a sound that both technically and sonically amounted to much more than just the sum of their four parts. Robinson himself span around until drenched in his own sweat, while drummer Aric Improta seemed to spend more time hyperactively jumping up off his stool than beating his drums leaving us all going The Sleeping who? I can only guess what happened next, I imagine the appreciative crowd did exactly what I did and went home to tell their friends that as of right now, for gig of the year, this is the one to beat.