Gig Review: Calling Apollo, Ghosts As Alibis, Cavalry @ Undertone, May 9th.

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Friday 9th May saw Cavalry, Ghosts as Alibis andCalling Apollo polish the floors, walls and ceiling of the small, dark anddingy club that lives under Ten Feet Tall (otherwise known as Undertone) with afine mix of alternative, heavy music. And lots of shouting. Yes, lots.

Getting there just before the first band, Cavalry, were dueto begin, it was obvious from the crowd that the gig had a lot of hypesurrounding it. Usually, there’s not that many people at a gig to listen to thefirst band – most people hang around and turn up for the headliners – butUndertone was chocka. This showed that Cavalry have got a decent following oftheir own, and this was even clearer when the band began their set.

Beginning with ‘Scars’, the band really got into thingsimmediately and with vocalist Richard Lovett leading the way with raw emotion,a bellyful of energy (I’d wondered why there wasn’t any Relentless in thefridges at the bar – now I know) and a magnetism that had the crowd glued tohis every move, the band’s set was really enjoyable. The rest of the bandfollowed his lead and cut loose from the week’s hardships through theirinstruments. The majority of the crowd, obviously familiar with the band, wassinging along to the band’s opener and by the time the band’s 6-song set wasover and they’d reached the last song, ‘Mexico’,it felt as if we hadn’t seen enough. If you’re a fan of Blitz Kids, Minus TheBear and like your indie with lashings of aggression, get into this band.

Next up was Ghosts as Alibis. Read their bio and you’ll finda weird description of a mix of musical genres that the band has written abouttheir sound. At first, you might be like ‘nah, what’s that all about? Surelythat’d just sound like a mess.’ But, when you listen to the band – which youshould (just click on this link) – you’ll realise that the summation of thosegenres is the only way you can actually describe the band’s sound. It’s a hugemix of eclectic stuff, which the band has done well to pull together and fuse asound out of; there isn’t a way to describe it. There’s some metal in there,some pop, some indie, some drone, some post-hardcore. The amalgamation of allthese sounds really goes to show that Ghosts as Alibis arepretty accomplished musicians who know what they’re doing and also know whythey’re doing it.

Particular highlights of the set were: ‘The Great ArtDisaster’, ‘Tarantulas’ and their set finisher, ‘Where The Desert Meets TheMountain’. The whole set was a whirlwind of different sounds, textures and emotions,with each member of the band fine-tuned into their instruments as if theythemselves were plugged into the maxed-up amps. You couldn’t head to the barand you couldn’t go to the toilet, in case you missed the next section of thesong and it took a different turn entirely. With a set like this, it’s littlewonder these guys are gaining a bit of attention. Fans of Tool, Glassjaw, AtThe Drive In and even doomiest-of-the-doom bands will appreciate these guys. Purveyorsof avant-garde post-hardcore death-pop, indeed.

The headliners, Calling Apollo, were due up next to finishoff the evening with their melodic yet aggressive take on progressive rock. Ifyou haven’t heard of these guys before, then you probably need to take note ofthem now. They haven’t been together that long, but have already managed towrite an EP, Vessels, which gives anidea of what direction the band see themselves heading in. There’s a bit ofDeftones in their sound, a bit of Thrice, a lumping of Billy Talent, some CircaSurvive and a boat-load more – too many to mention. They class themselves as ‘aprogressive rock group, combining melodic structures, ambience and aggression’and that’s exactly how they sound.

The band started off with ‘Youth In Motion’, which is atrack loaded with energy and rhythm. The guitars wind and overlap each otherwhile the drumming is frenetic and thrashing fist-like at the other instrumentsand the frontman. This frontman is Christian James Neale, who has a uniqueimmediacy to his vocal-style, at times yelping Billy Talent-esque into themicrophone and at others, presenting a calm vocal-style which compliments theband’s passive-aggressive style perfectly. Other highlights of the set were ‘Green’and ‘Poison The Feed’. ‘Green’ is an ambient, scenic and textured track thatworked really well within a live setting. Compared to the fast-paced and insistentmanner of the previous tracks, this was a half-time breather where we had timeto contemplate the earlier songs. ‘Poison The Feed’ ended the set; intricateguitar-lines which you can’t help but nod along to and a heavier, snapping vocalstyle alongside the fiery drums ensured that the set ender lingered long in thememory.

This was a great gig for all involved and if you missed it,you missed out. Catch any of these three any where you can, even if it meansyou cancelling your haircut. 

Image: callingapollo

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