Gig Review: Chapter and Verse, wars & Guillotine at Birthdays

Deep in the heart of hipster East London, three of the most exciting new up-and-coming British bands put on a show to get the locals’ funky beards and purple trousers in a twist at Birthdays in Dalston last night.

As an East London (non-hipster) resident myself, I was delighted to take the short walk to see Chapter & Verse and wars – two of our former New Bands of the Week – supported by another band we’ve featured, Guillotine.

The evening opened up with the slightly mysterious, hugely intriguing Guillotine. The quartet opened up with a big guitar chord intro, followed by a chilled verse and a big singalong chorus.

DSC00887The opener was followed by the penultimate track from their debut EP Yellowknife, a more relaxed track in which the lead singer’s voice sounded superb. And that was followed by the excellent Butterflies, which built in intensity towards a big ending led by huge almost screamed vocals.

Next up was the hugely enjoyable Goodbye, with its fun, singalong vocals and the repeated “na na na” lyrics, which swiftly flowed into the brilliant, gradually building Christmas.

They closed out with their debut single, the excellent Sapphire. It started slow, with threats of what was to come as it built towards a huge, singalong climax. It ended with big guitar feedback as the guitarist left his guitar on the speaker as the rest of the band rocked out and left the stage.

There was minimal crowd involvement in the opening act, but it was fully enjoyable and I remain really intrigued by the mystery that is Guillotine.

The music between sets left a bit to be desired, listening to dull pop at a rock show is a bit weird, but soon enough that was forgotten as the mighty Rugby rockers wars took to the stage – which coincidentally represented the first time we’ve seen a band featured on the site play live more than twice.

DSC00892The band took to the stage to a big bass sound and electronic noise, all facing away from the audience, then gave any unsuspecting East London hipsters that may have wandered in expecting some Mumford & Sons a nasty shock – with an awesome taste of the brutality that was awaiting them as they launched into the mighty Still Waters Run Deep. Vocalist Rob Vicars opened up with a brutal, prolonged stretch of screamed vocals before a smash of booming guitar riffs took over ahead of the huge, ridiculously catchy chorus.

That was followed by a song I didn’t know, with absolutely massive cymbals, then a song Rob told us they hasn’t been playing live in a while – the huge Schiamacy Scenes. That was followed by the awesomely heavy Salt Flat Sailing, which you can’t help but smash your head up and down to through Rob’s relentless screams supported by booming guitar chords. Eventually the delicious singalong chorus follows, which is almost impossible not to sing along to – regardless of whether or not you know the words.

Next was The Art of Not Knowing, the opener from their debut album , which opened with big rocky guitars followed by huge screamed vocals with high-pitched guitars lingering over the top. The infectious chorus, which ends with lyrics that I love: “She said how can we know what is right, When we live only one life at a time,” followed, and towards the end of the song Rob jumped into the crowd with the microphone and the stand – which he wasn’t using – to scream vocals with some guys he knew then jumped back on stage to see the song out.

wars finished up with the excellent That By Discord Things Increase, on which Hundred Reasons’ Colin Doran features on the album, which opened up with the engaging opening scream of “I’m a stranger to myself” then yet another awesome singalong chorus. Rob did his traditional climbing onto the drum kit as the song neared its conclusion, then saw us through to an excellent ending of clean vocals contrasted by his big screams.

wars’ performance set the bar high, but London’s Chapter and Verse delivered with a less heavy, but equally engaging set. They opened up with vocalist Josh Carter standing in the crowd singing a high-pitched introduction, before flying into a rockout featuring big rocky guitar chords perfectly supplementing Josh’s delicate vocal delivery.

DSC00905That was followed by the brilliant The New Breed, the opening track from their debut EP The Wolves Back Home, which is a song you can’t help but sing along to and highlights the awesome diversity of Josh’s vocals – which was again portrayed in the huge high notes he hit in next track 11 Hours in Real Time.

Next up was Ink, which Josh told the audience was “about obsession” and features the “One in a million” vocals that are featured on a selection of the band’s tshirts, and saw Josh climb down into the crowd to sing with light instrumental support.

Chapter and Verse brought the evening to end in style with the superb Slave. This took the heaviness up a notch or two, with Josh jumping into the crowd to scream during a big rock out then bassist Jonny Hopwood also running into the crowd to rock out.

All three of these bands are particularly exciting, but I confess to having a real soft spot for both wars and Chapter and Verse. Their recorded music is awesome, they deliver passion and energy when it comes to their live shows, and they’re also the nicest guys you could wish to meet. So do yourself a favour and follow them on social media, buy and listen to their music, and come and see them play live for yourself.

If you were foolish enough to miss out on last night’s show, or haven’t seen these bands before, then the good news is that you can see all of them on really exciting upcoming tours across the UK shortly, hit the following links for further info. Chapter and Verse are supporting Courage My Love across the UK through November, wars are supporting Still Remains on 9 shows next month, and Guillotine will be supporting the mighty Belgian rockers Brutus on 8 gigs as of 30 September.

You can follow Chapter and Verse on Facebook and Twitter and listen to their music on Spotify, follow wars on Facebook and Twitter and check out their debut album on Spotify, and follow Guillotine on Facebook and Twitter and listen to their debut EP on Spotify.

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