The Bunny, The Bear, w/Cabin Boy Jumped Ship, Rosen Bridge, In Depths, Aleya
Penny Black, Wrexham
Review by Rob Sutton
Wrexham really is starting to feel like a home away from home, so when a gig with bands I used to listen to in college and bands from the local scene I’ve been following for a few years are all on the same bill then its a no brainer! Now The Penny Black has had a good makeover recently and actually feels and looks like a proper venue, but it falls short on a few things, firstly, the toilets are horrific! No locks, no seats, no bog roll and look like they haven’t seen a mop in years. Also, the beer prices are ridiculous, £4.50 for a bottle of beer and the taps being turned off again is frankly daylight robbery! Though if you’re sober like I was then the prices aren’t a huge issue but still… wow!
So first up was Chester / North Wales based Aleya, a band I have put on at gigs before and probably will again. Judging by the amount of fans with their merch on, they also have a good following in Wrexham, this is impressive as they have a fairly sizeable crowd despite being the openers. Now Metalcore is something I seem to come across at nearly every gig I go to, and it can get a bit samey, but Aleya seem to have a bit of a spark about them. Firstly they are stupidly catchy, ‘Losing Sleep’ being one that is still stuck in my head, and secondly because they don’t sound like they’re aiming for the new age Architects style of Metalcore. The riffs are sounding much more melodic and tonight are played fantastically, not to mention both clean and screamed vocals being on point for the most part. Though towards the end of the set the cleans really started to suffer and there were a lot of missed notes and he did sound out of breath. Saying that, their energy tonight was stunning, they were a fantastic opener and hopefully should get a fair few more gigs with performances like this. Oh, I would recommend a wireless mic as he does like to wander.
In Depths are a band I don’t think I have reviewed before, though I have seen and played with these guys many times. First up these guys do stand out on this bill, with the focus being on Metalcore and Electronic In Depths bring pure brutality by the bucket load! Their cross between Beat Down and Deathcore is quite a mix and leads to a sound that is so ungodly heavy it makes thunder sound like a knock on the door. Now the last few times I have seen them, technical issues have really let them down but there is nothing of the sort tonight apart from the odd bit of feedback, instead the crowd are met with a well-oiled machine that just flicks from one song to another effortlessly, the use of backing tracks really work a treat for this! Honestly, I have never seen these guys perform to such a high standard, the aggression and precision is just to die for and the whole set I’m just stood in awe! Honestly this was brutal on another level!
Third up on this monster bill is another one of my personal favourites Rosen Bridge and after the onslaught before them it was back to the Metalcore theme of the night but with a bit more of a Djenty twist. Now I can bang on about how much I love what these guys do and the fact that I was singing along to a good half the set probably is a big giveaway to how much I enjoyed them. Though I’ll try and put my biased aside, to start the vocals were a little quiet, which really hampers these guys as they are a massive focal point of the band but by the second track the levels are much better.
As with In Depths, Rosen Bridge performed absolutely on point, tight as a drum, tons of energy and fantastic crowd engagement. This time I find myself more drawn to the drums, they are absolutely ballistic tonight, so much power and speed all in the right places, he is honestly top of his game tonight! Now it also wouldn’t be a Rosen Bridge review without a comment on the singer Alex’s dance moves, if you haven’t seen them, they are quite a sight during a Metal performance. All in all Rosen Bridge did what they always do, put a massive smile on my face so nothing else matters. Oh and extra points for dedicating ‘Watchers’ to me and giving a shout out to Thrashatouille! That’s one way to butter up a reviewer!
Filling the roll of main support this evening is Cabin Boy Jumped ship, a band that have been around a fair while now and before this tour hadn’t gigs prior to the world ending. Their sound had initially started out as proper Electronic Metalcore, but has evolved to a slightly more modern sound while still retaining their roots. This I am a fan of as I have said prior, I’ve seen a lot of Metalcore bands recently and this means CBJS stand out to me.
These guys hit the stage and unleash carnage on the crowd of Wrexham and truly raise the standard to a new level. The whole performance is slick, tight and just a pleasure to watch! Now normally I would say there is way too much reliance on the backing tracks during the set as a lot of vocals and guitars are also thrown in as well as the Dance beat, but in this rare circumstance, it works and that is primarily down to the genre they play. It is supposed to sound over mixed and the fact the whole band remain beautifully in time throughout makes this all the better. Again, I find myself drawn to the drummer as this time he is the one providing the clean backing vocals and does so perfectly. The fact that CBJS blend so many genres, from Metal to Rap to Dance truly sets these guys apart and dare I say this… this was one of my top performances of the year so far so naturally, that’s another T-shirt to my collection!
Back in the good old days a very young Rob stumbled across a band called The Bunny, The Bear and immediately fell in love with their unique crossover sound and catchy choruses. So, when he found out they were playing Wrexham he instantly messaged the main lady of Ever Metal asking if he could review this (thank you Beth). So, as you can tell I was excited! Starting off TBTB let their backing band showcase their normal music which was a really nice touch, albeit a tad off-genre for the night but still I like this!
What I wasn’t much of a fan of was the bassist wandering around asking everyone if they could hear him, mate, speak to the sound tech! Though this would have been pointless as I shall explain later. Kicking off TBTB set was my personal favourite ‘Aisle’ this song really took me back and the voices matched exactly what I envisioned them to sound like live so, of course I was singing along. After this though is where, and there is no other way of putting this, it all goes to shit! That bassist I mentioned decided again to spend his time in the crowd and thus hit the deck and broke his bass leaving us with no bass for the rest of the set. I later find out that he had twisted his ankle at a previous show and had spent most of the evening downstairs getting drunk. Honestly, I hope they weren’t paying him as this frankly was the single least professional thing I have ever seen from a band especially a touring one of this calibre.
Sadly, from there the rest of the set just ended up messy and all over the place, nothing seemed to fit together properly, no one looked like they wanted to perform on the night and most of the crowd had buggered off. It just looked so amateur, like a group of mates had got together, never practiced and decided to do a gig. Don’t get me wrong the sound was far from ideal for them and they did have numerous issues with the mics but this does not hide the fact that this was an absolute joke of a set. I really like this band and will still listen to them online but I can’t justify spending money to watch people prat around on stage and be too pissed to even play. No thanks!
Aside from my disappointment with the headliners, this was a really good show, the rest of the bands brought their ‘A’ game and I truly loved all of them, the venue does need work and also a centre monitor (many vocalists mentioned this) but that is a small issue in what can only be described as a fantastic evening!
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