We were treated to an absolute feast of up-and-coming rock last night as LoveLess, Kidbrother, Chapter and Verse and Empire put on a show to remember at 229 The Venue, in London, last night.
At risk of sounding like my mother, the one main thing I’m taking away from last night’s gig is “loud.” Writing this article on my lunch break the following day, my ears are still ringing from the huge sound these bands put out in what is a relatively small, compact venue.
The show was kicked off by LoveLess, who we recently saw supporting City of Ashes. They were followed by the big-energy, big-sound and, in their words, “angst fuelled five-piece” KidBrother, who fuse the lead vocals of Jamie with the high-pitched singing-meets-wild screams of bassist Ffin Colley.
They teased us with new single Draught I Want, which is out on 24 March and features some scarily high-pitched notes from Ffin, and played the only track they currently have available online Angst. You can listen to that for yourself here.
They also played a track called White Rabbit, which they described as “pretty bouncy” with big, heavy guitars. This was also the theme of final track Shook, which began with a big drums intro, which dropped out into high-pitched vocals, and ended on a huge full band smash-out with flashing lights that showed off the true heaviness of the band.
Next up was our former New Band of the Week, Chapter and Verse. The East London-based quartet opened up with lead singer Josh Carter in the crowd singing backed by just guitar reverb, which builds gradually before going wild – in a track that they later revealed to us was a couple of tracks merged together. Josh’s voice sounds superb live, jumping between moments of heaviness, then dropping down into a quiet interlude, repeats of “why did you to me?” before a big smash-out.
That was followed up with Tunnel, from the band’s debut EP The Wolves Back Home, which sounded huge live. Josh then addressed the crowd by saying: “If you know the words to this song then I want to see you sing them, and if you don’t know the words to it then make them the fuck up,” and the band jumped straight into the awesome opening track from the EP New Breed. The crowd obliged and it was amazing to see so many people singing along to this huge track.
They played a new song (don’t know the name, sorry) and a really catchy track I believe was called It (could be wrong) which features repeats of “One in a million,” which appears on the back of one of the band’s tshirts.
But Chapter & Verse brought their set to a huge end with a huge rendition of the final track from their EP, Slave. Big, loud guitars and awesome vocals culminated in bassist Jonny Hopwood and Josh running into the crowd before the band dove into full-on rock mode to conclude the set. This is one of the most exciting new bands around, so go listen to their music now and check them out live if you can.
That gave headliners Empire quite some act to follow, and they certainly managed it. Frontman Joe Green’s voice is incredible, and the band’s opening track had absolutely massive, driving bass drum action.
They opened up with two track off latest EP Our Simple Truths, the equally awesome Hands & Tongues and Sparrows, which set the tone for the rest of the set – that being Green hitting mental high notes, big drums and huge guitars. In my notes I wrote “this is the kind of set that earplugs were invented for,” and that’s exactly how my ears feel today.
At one stage Green asked the crowd to sing back at him and, to a man, we all did, then the band launched into a few new songs that sounded incredible, with big noise and high vocals combined with wild flashing lights. But maybe the highlight of the set was the crowd singing along to “Tonight you were brighter than the sun” during the superb Calling Apollo. Green’s charisma makes it hard not to enjoy watching him perform, and the music they deliver is equally enjoyable.
Chapter and Verse and Empire are continuing their UK tour at The Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham tonight, Nice’n’Sleazy in Glasgow tomorrow, Jumpin’ Jacks in Newcastle on Saturday and The Soundhouse in Leicester on Sunday. If you’re in those cities then you have to go and check them out, you will not be disappointed – and it will be well worth your ears’ displeasure the next morning. Find all those dates here.