First up was London quintet AT THE SUN, who got the evening off to a positive opening with a big smash of guitar riffs to kick off Breathe, the first track from their recent debut EP of the same title. Lead singer Harry Dale’s vocals were big and rocky, and there was a cool solo before the opening track was brought to an end by a big drum roll.
Next up was the second track from the EP, and possibly my favourite – the deliciously sexy, funky Walk On Over. Harry’s vocals were sounding even bigger in this vocal-led track, with big riffing in support of him through the chorus and plenty of guitar noodling throughout. A guitar solo preceded the return of Harry’s huge vocals then the track ended on a big drum solo from Craig Steen.
They stuck to playing the EP by following that up with the excellent Devil In Your Eye, which opened up with a funky guitar riff then big fat bass under Harry’s vocals before the guitars returned. The intensity ramped up through the second verse with cool high-pitched guitar blasts then a big guitar solo from axe man Chet Jogia.
That was followed by a cool cover version of Rag’n’Bone Man’s Human, which started off slowly then built into a heavy chorus and a second verse with high-pitched guitars flying around then a big solo before a rocky ending.
They then played a couple of new tracks Preacher and Only A Fool, sandwiching Indestructible from this year’s EP – in which Chet blasted out an awesome solo. They closed out in typically energetic fashion with a track called Soak It Up, which began with darting guitars that led onto big chords then a big solo ahead of an opening verse supported by heavy palm-muted guitars. A big chorus followed, along with another great solo and big smashing cymbals to bring an enjoyable set to an end.
This opening act set the bar high for the following two bands, as Rob Baynes, lead singer of Uttoxeter rockers Anonymous, told the audience: “How good were AT THE SUN though, Jesus.”
Luckily, Anonymous are also pretty awesome. They introduced themselves to the audience with a big rockout, then an opening verse of big guitars and vocals, which at first impression was very Orange Goblin-esque.
Next up was What You Deserve, which opened up a funky wah riff, which built into a guitar-led intro and remained throughout this big rocky track.
They played a brand new song that they’d finished writing a month ago called Cut Your Losses, which sounded awesome with cool guitar riffs complementing big vocals, then slowed it down temporarily with a song “about drinking too much,” which featured an awesome tapped solo by Baynes.
He then promised us the next song was “lower and sludgy,” and delivered exactly that with the awesome Cheap Painkiller. The second verse ended with a shout of “Bittersweet kick” followed by a big guitar riff, then everything dropped out except for the Baynes’ guitar, before lead guitar Hayden Kirk flew into a big fast solo.
The set was packed full of big riffs and funky solos, along with loads of audience involvement – all of which were present in their final song He Told Me, which Baynes tells the audience “We wrote when we were a bit drunk, which is a reoccurring theme.” It opened with Guns’n’Roses-esque funky opening riff and big vocals that flowed into a big chorus dominated by huge smashing cymbals, followed by a big guitar smash-up then a high-pitched solo. They got the audience involved in singing along to the chorus vocals “Your days are numbered, Your days are through,” then ended on another rock out.
Anonymous are a really fun, engaging live band, with big riffs that make you want to jump around and let your hair down.
This have headline act THEIA a lot to live up to. But man, did they live up to it and more. The trio from Burton-upon-Trent opened up with Just Go, with its big engaging chorus “No means No, Go, Just go,” which offered a sublime introduction to the band. A big rocky riff was complemented by funky low chords, and they sounded huge despite just being a three-piece.
The next track opened up with a cool wah-wah effect-ridden riff then launched into a huge rock out. Lead singer Kyle Lamley’s voice was amazing, alongside smashing out big chunky riffs – while the big beefy bass from Paul Edwards added huge depth to the sound.
That was followed by a track (I think called Overthrown) from their first album, which opened up with a huge Metallica-esque riff then Jake Dalton smashing cymbals through the verse with the riff diving back in between breaks in the vocals. That led on to a huge rock out of big low-tuned guitars and cymbals flying all over the place.
The end of that track was followed by Kyle blasting out a mini solo, demanding more noise from the crowd then rocking out ahead of a fast paced verse with catchy vocals. That was followed up by a massive guitar solo, a big rock out, then Edwards leading on vocals with Lamley doing backing vocals – I don’t know what it was called, but it was an awesome song.
They dropped the pace a little and “took things down to the Wild West” with Afterglow, the closing song on their new album Back In Line. A chilled beginning saw vocals over a slow funky bassline, then a big cry from Lamley saw Dalton stand up behind the drums then smash out a big drum roll that acted as a cue for another big rock out and Lamley throwing out massive solos with ridiculous ease.
They also played the title track from that album, which began with brutal bass supporting heavy chords then big vocals over funky riffs, then flew into a massive solo that dived down into a heavier riff then a big rock out.
Lamley is quite the showman, and the enjoyment on his face as he plays to the audience is evident – making Theia an amazing band to watch live. That was proven by a final track that opened with big fat riffs then got the crowd involved on the lyrics “One big fucking tune” (I think), then Lamley smashed out one last ridiculous solo before a big rock out to bring the gig to a close.
This was a superb gig from three big up-and-coming bands, each with their own unique nuances but with a shared ability to write damn good rock’n’roll and rocking riffs.
You can follow AT THE SUN on Facebook and Twitter and check out their music on Spotify and YouTube, follow Anonymous on Facebook and Twitter and listen to their music on Bandcamp and Spotify, and follow THEIA on Facebook and Twitter and check out their music on Bandcamp, YouTube and Spotify.