Four bands with contrasting variations of rock put on a great show at Lounge 666 in Archway, north London, as The Dead XIII headlined alongside City of Ashes, As Sirens Fall and PINUP on Wednesday (25 October).
The evening began with new Kingston-upon-Thames trio PINUP, whose opening track Burn Your World Down included a big singalong chorus, cool repeated “Down down down down it goes” vocals and a nice slowed down section then a big rock out to finish.
Next, the fun Walk On Blind began slowly but built towards a chorus of bigger drums and more strained vocals alongside a cool guitar riff, and some great high-pitched vocals. Then a track called The Wanderer, which was apparently written by the bassist’s old band, which saw the girl selling their merch get on stage to sing some vocals, alongside a funky riff and huge cymbals through the chorus. They picked up the pace with singalong rock track 21st Century Blues, but saved their best for their final two tracks.
Weather The Storm kicked off with a fun wah-infused riff then clean guitars through a chilled verse, then a really good chorus followed by a fun guitar lick and heavier guitars kicked in through their chorus – it was a fun, rocky almost Nirvana-like sounding rock track.
PINUP closed out with their new, debut single Teeth which opened up with a fast rocky blitz before dropping into a verse that built into a singalong chorus. A cool guitar riff fed into a return of the cool opening guitar blitz, then another building verse was followed by a fast-paced solo. The pace then dropped down with palm-muted chords before flying into a big rockout chorus to close an entertaining opening set.
Next on stage was the band we’d been invited along to see, Keighley rockers As Sirens Fall. They began with frontman Mikey Lord announcing “Ladies and gentlemen boys and girls I welcome you all to the end of the world” followed by some huge vocals including a cheeky Disturbed-esque scream and hitting some huge high notes.
They played a brand new song called Like Vultures, which began with a huge cry of “I dream about you” and some generally crazily good vocals, and the superbly catchy chorus “Found me on the bathroom floor, Bleeding bleeding, Found me on the bathroom floor, Screaming screaming.”
Next, Last Goodbyes opened up with a riff that sounded distinctly Funeral For A Friend-esque, and saw the guitarist go running into the crowd. That was followed by “brand brand brand brand new song” She Runs With The Wolves, which opened with floaty high-pitched guitars supporting vocals then building drums led into some huge high vocals “She runs with the wind” alongside big guitar chords. A heavier verse followed, with Mikey’s vocals impressing, then a cheeky wah-wah solo before getting the crowd involved with singing “who-oh” vocals before a really cool key change. Then, Where You Are began with a big guitar intro and wailing vocals before a big singalong chorus, followed by huge screamed vocals.
They closed out with their latest single Smoke, which began with a big rocky intro then a chilled verse that ends on the line “Cross my heart I don’t wanna die” that leads into a big rocky chorus. Their songs sound great, Mikey’s vocals are awesome, and there’s loads of energy, including the lead guitarist jumping into the audience and running around the dancefloor on the final track, so these guys are well worth checking out.
They were followed by one of our favourites, Brighton rockers City of Ashes, who largely played tracks from their second album. The guys were as polished as ever, with a huge solo by guitarist James Macdonald in the second song, and frontman Orion Powell’s vocals on point as ever.
A highlight was the delicious Save Me, which began with slow flickers of high-pitched guitars then built gradually towards a big hit of guitars that was soon joined by Orion’s big vocals.
They played the excellent Sometimes, which was part of their project to raise awareness of depression last year, followed by the infectious Waves, on which they got the crowd involved on the hugely enjoyable “What are you waiting for, Woh-oh, woh-oh” vocals.
Then they got the lead singers of The Dead XIII and PINUP up on stage for final track Battles Of My Youth, which I’m pretty sure Orion opened with the opening lyrics to Linkin Park track Bleed It Out, then dove into big high-pitched vocals and guitars and the big singalong chorus vocals “I’ve got nothing left to prove, After the trials that I’ve been through, And you can’t take anything, I’ve got nothing left to lose, These are the battles of my youth.”
The headline act was the hugely impressive, highly entertaining The Dead XIII, who looked the part given we’re building towards Halloween with their cool ghostly appearances, including the particularly terrifying looking drummer – see right!
They had us instantly hooked with their big synthy sounds emanating from a laptop on stage – which also controlled their lighting – combined with their big chugging guitars.
The awesome Lay Siege To Hell saw the synth sounds introduced in a shouty chorus and ended in a mighty scream, followed by a new song with really cool synth intro alongside guitars.
The cool synth sounds were probably at their best in the excellent Frostbite, then they got everyone to put one hand in the air for a track that saw repeated cries of “Die, die, die” followed by wild, low-tuned guitars and booming drums, then a big solo followed by a huge breakdown and a scream by hugely entertaining frontman Kurt Blackshard.
The Dead XIII were really good on audience involvement, including the really fun singalong 13 and the repeated lyrics “13 ways to die” – for which they also called Orion and PINUP’s Ryder Ataxia up on stage.
The gig was brought to an end on a high note with a track that opened up with creepy background noise followed by high-pitched synth noises contrasted by big choruses then an awesome high-pitched solo, and closed out with everyone holding one arm high shouting “Die, die, die.” Hello Halloween.
These four bands were very different in terms of their sounds and styles, but it certainly worked when the contrasting sounds came together and it was a really entertaining gig.
The tour continues with a show at Santiago Bar in Leeds tonight, The Underground in Bradford tomorrow, The Classic Grand in Glasgow on Sunday, Think Tank in Newcastle on Monday and an awesome Halloween show at Fac 251 in Manchester on Tuesday. More info on all these gigs is on The Dead XIII’s Facebook events page.
You can follow The Dead XIII on Facebook and Twitter and check out their music on Spotify. You can follow City of Ashes on Facebook and Twitter and buy all their music on their website. You can follow As Sirens Fall on Facebook and Twitter and check out their music on Spotify. And you can follow PINUP on Facebook and Twitter, and check out their debut single on YouTube.