Words – Suzi Bootz
Photos – Emma Painter (Pacific Curd Photography)
In the Halloween bedecked venue that is Suburbia, a three-tier gig is about to rock Southampton to the core…
First up with the wah-wah-wow factor are local band Western Sand. This band know what they are about and they’re ready to share that with us. Their sound quickly floods the half-filled room. It is steady riff heavy rock, full of crash cymbal and pleasingly gruff vocals that are unleashed into the mic with importance. The thirteen years they’ve had playing Southampton gives them a laidback air and a good solid tone. The rolling set from these melodic hard-hitters is a constant wave of uplifting energy.
The elongated instrumental intro of song Welcome to the Badlands is delivered with pleasing precision, as are the lyrics; a slightly held-back-scream with just enough rough! Conversing with the audience whilst quickly retuning between songs, there’s no dead air here and the crowd are soon playing along with left and right-side sing-backs to try and “raise the roof!” A couple of new songs are thrown in to further spice things up and the set gets progressively heavier with dramatic ear pelting drums and guitar solos carefully placed. The crowd are certainly enjoying jamming with these musicians. It’s appreciation all-round plus an extra bit at the end!
DEAD MANS WHISKEY
Off to a roaring start, drums kick in heavy and there’s a flurry to the front of the stage as the animated singer in his leather jacket launches in with his striking vocals. There’s a great reception to the first song Sleep when I’m Dead but no rest for the band as they fire straight in with the next, determined to make the most of every minute. The deluge of drums at the beginning of Last Train is reminiscent of G n’ R’s Mr Brownstone and the vocals retain that strong tuneful-yet-gravelly quality even on the high notes, of which there are plenty with this lot. The mellow guitar tones soon soak in through your skin and the band rapport is notable; it’s clear that they are enjoying this gig.
With the staged bathed in red and purple lights beneath a black ceiling and no visible windows, there’s a definite cavern-like sensation to this venue and the stage may be small but the acoustics pack a punch. The crowd has built a little in number but the cosiness remains and singer Nico Rogers decides to share a little background before beginning the next song Make You Proud which he tells the crowd he wrote for his Mum. A much gentler song, sang with undeniable feeling and outstanding vocals. Anyone would feel proud to be sang about in this way, that’s without a doubt.
The band’s announcement of their final song is met with a resounding “No!” from the crowd, eager to hear more but soon consoled after a cheeky reminder that The Fallen State will be on after. It’s time for the audience to learn a line for the joint venture that is Racing Bullet; it’s a great song and picks the pace right back up. A quick band-in-front-of-the-crowd photo and the amazing set is complete.
THE FALLEN STATE
An atmospheric light-dim heralds the headliners taking to stage. The band are in with a gigantic crash, every member animated, a respectable amount of hair flailing around and new vocalist Adam Methven’s smooth echoey vocals rebounding off of the walls. Within seconds of them starting Knives it’s clear that this is about to be another amazing show. You can’t help but move with this music. It is heavy rock steeped in melody and the band use their expressions and body language as much as their respective voices and instruments to deliver it. “Day three, this is already f*cking flying!”, they quip between songs.
Greg Butler positioned middle of stage, struts his stuff with intricate bass patterns, which combined with guitarists Jon Price and Dan Oke, provides a rumble of music right down to your roots. The heat in the venue has reached inferno and the whole room is fist-bumping the air again – including the sound engineer. Within the melodic rock hides plenty of metal drenched surprises. A quick mid-set photo is taken by Greg of the crowd – requesting that every hand (or pint) be raised and the band encourage the crowd to cheer for the preceding support acts.
There’s an all-round feeling of inclusion tonight and a genuine apparent relief to being back out touring for the band and back out enjoying live music for their audience. Whether a full-on metal infused bouncing experience, or a slower number, drummer Rich Walker remains on-point. His gunshot-like explosions throughout the set, both punctuate and pace the songs perfectly and the (unexpected?) drum solos towards the end of the set are impressive and met with a lot of cheers. This band are team-players and that could be what makes both them and their audience enjoy their music so much. Find out more about The Fallen State, pre-order their upcoming album Between Hope and Disillusion and see where you can catch them playing on their current tour on the band’s socials and website.
The Fallen State: https://thefallenstate.com/
Dead Man’s Whiskey: http://www.deadmanswhiskey.co.uk
Western Sand: http://www.westernsand.co.uk
Jodie Harris (promoter): http://www.facebook.com/JodieBowie2
Pacific Curd Photography: https://www.pacificcurdphotography.co.uk/