O2 Academy3 Birmingham 15th June 2013.
Festival fever is taking a bit of a grip on the airwaves at the moment and bringing along with it a fair few thoughts of all those glorious summer sounds that are often associated with the great outdoors. We may be indoors this evening but I have a good feeling that the music promised to us from the five bands tonight, is gonna be nothing less than sunny side up!
First band up and all the way from Blackburn were newcomers to Emma Scott Presents, Dan The Thief. Described as alternative rock, these five guys played a set that not only rocked but also sat quite comfortably on the edge of addictive. With a style and performance that I would describe as a wholesome mix of humble smartness, Dan The Thief did themselves and us proud. I got the impression that these guys have every intention of getting themselves out there at every opportunity that arise’s and with tonight’s performance being as good as it was, I can certainly recommend readers go see them at the first chance you get.
Sometimes life throws a curve ball and pushes you outside your comfort zone and I hold both my hands up and say that that was exactly what Alex Kid and his gang did tonight for me. This band have all twelve feet firmly planted in the roots of ska and with that being a musical genre I’m not overly experienced in, that is where my challenge lies. What I can say with confidence is that these guys and gals have more bounce than a rubber ball and based on the audiences’ reaction alone, I couldn’t fail to warm towards this band and their sound. Definitely a good time being had both on stage and off and the sound of summer successfully hatched, matched and dispatched!
I have to confess that our third band of the evening, Duchamp Pilot, have become a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine, as with each and every gig of theirs that I’ve seen, they always manage to take their performance to the next level and tonight, yet again, they did just that. With the bands line up being born out of two countries, they have an intriguing wealth of influences and experience between them that when put together in one alliance, forms something inspiringly alternative and original. Each song played tonight was received with much hearty applause and cheering from the O2 Academy’s audience but with the final notes of ‘TCA’ being played out and bringing their set to an end, the audience’s appreciation was quite overwhelming to witness. I’m not sure when we will next see these guys back in the West Midlands, but whenever that is, make sure you’re there!
So how on earth do you follow a performance like that? Well our Ms Scott is one smart lady and had the answer to that one already figured out in the form of none other than Birmingham based Million Empire. Three was certainly the magic number tonight as my oh my, these three guys were something else and if you like your rock loaded with power and intensity and a punch like a boxing glove, then look no further than Million Empire! Paulie Willis is one almighty Drummer and no less acclaim should be given to Andy Crawford on bass and Wesley Knight on vocals and guitar, as both these guys gave an immense and adrenaline fuelled performance that left me nothing short of gob smacked! It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a band push themselves this close to the edge of oblivion and it was nothing less than all consuming to see – can’t recommend Million Empire highly enough!
This evening had certainly given us some fantastic performances so far and with our headlining band Fight The Dice still to take to the stage, the evening was still far from over. Hailing from my own fair county of Shropshire, Fight The Dice have been a band whose hard work and genuine ability has brought them the well deserved following they have and clearly there were a few fans here tonight. I very much like this bands sound as even though it appears to be influenced by the great American pop punk genre, Fight the Dice don’t leave it there but have pushed on through into something which rocks a little harder. The distinctive vocals of Ben Jackson work in great partnership with this and whether you catch the band live or via their recordings, there is always that recognizable quality present that I feel puts Fight The Dice high up in the league of bands who will be going places.
Words and Photography by Sue Wardle.