We were treated to great performances from four bands across the wide spectrum of rock and metal as Esprit d’Air and Lightscape were joined by Bexatron and the impressively heavy These Thousand Hills at the O2 Academy 2 in Islington on Friday night.
First up was Sussex six-piece These Thousand Hills, who challenged the dimensions of the relatively small Academy stage. They opened up with a big scream and huge bassy intro, then a cool riff over a big singalong chorus following some screamed verses.
Their bass heavy sound got the crowd interested, along with two vocalists combining screamed and clean vocals. The set increased in heaviness, including the huge Serpent, which the band revealed is the heaviest they’ve ever written with it’s low-tuned riffs providing great contrast to some big fast guitars and screamed vocals.
Another highlight was a song called (I think) 25p Chomp, which the clean vocalist wrote about anti-establishment the week Donald Trump was elected and relates to the fact that Chomp bars were 10p and are now 25p.
They closed out with two more heavy tracks, Breaking Point with its big choppy into followed by a cool high-pitched guitar riff and then Broken Chains, which sounded massive with both vocalists singing together combined with some bassy riffs and a big smash out to finish.
They opened up with Blinded By The Lights, which built gradually, then dropped out and ended in a big rock-out. Standout track for me, both on the night and in general, was the awesome Running, which opened with the almost Mediterranean-sounding riff then echo on Will’s vocals through the verse before diving into a big chorus. There was a big drop out after the second verse before gradually building with drum rolls before getting nice and heavy again. If you haven’t listened to this track yet, then you must because it’s brilliant.
Next up was a new track, I think called By Design, which built gradually then dropped down to just light drums in support of Will’s vocals before launching into a big chorus. Will’s voice was sounding superb – despite telling the crowd “it was going” – as he hit some impressive notes to feed into a massive guitar smash-out.
Lightscape closed out with upcoming single, which I think is called Live In Fear, which began with a funky little high-pitched riff that flowed into a big chorus. A huge rock-out saw high-pitched guitar ring out over heavy chords and drawn out high-pitched vocals. Sounds like a cracking new tune from the guys, and this was a really enjoyable, high energy set.
There was a real shift in style for the next band, as Bexatron‘s glitter-dress clad, paroxide blonde lead singer Rebecca Bex and old-school rock’n’roll looking band members took to the stage.
Good old rock’n’roll is a great way to describe the band generally, the lead singer’s powerful voice dominated with some big guitar solos thrown in for good measure. The vocals were particularly awesome when she was hitting big high notes with ridiculous power, especially in songs that I’ve guessed were called No More Heroes and Voodoo Doll.
They closed out in style with a track called Truck, which began with a screechy solo, fed into building guitar and bass, then big vocals of “Save it for the music, save it for the show.”
The headline act was epic Japanese rockers Esprit d’Air, who we introduced you to back in December. There was a huge contingent of their fans in the audience, singing along to even the Japanese lyrics and the space rockers put on quite a show.
Lead singer Kai was combining some impressive high vocals with smashing out massive guitar solos, with big rock-outs throughout. The band played a few new tracks, of which Storm was particularly good with big high vocals through the chorus.
One thing you can say about Esprit d’Air is they certainly know how to put on a performance, with Kai milking the audience’s applause then flying into guitar solos and all manner of elaborate moves on stage.