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Blood Command

With support from Flood Of Red and Verses.

The Rescue Rooms Nottingham 11th June 2013.

I’d been looking forward to tonight’s gig since I was given the green light to review Blood Command, all the way from Norway, ahead of their set at Download 2013. Supporting them tonight, at the Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, were Verses and Flood of Red. In fact both bands have supported Blood Command throughout their ten date June tour of the UK.

I was given a ‘+1’ for this gig, which was nice, and thank you for that. I arranged to take another journalist with me, Mr. Rob Nankivell, so as to get another perspective, after all two minds, two opinions (and two cameras) are better than one.

Opening band tonight were Verses from Brighton.

Jay’s thoughts – Verses are the type of band you can relate to and like instantly. It was clearly visible, every word spoken and every note played means a lot to the band as the passion on all their faces showed. These guys are very energetic on stage, well, what stage there is in the upstairs part of the Rescue Rooms. Verses are one of those emerging British bands bringing a fresh new wave of Rock to today’s music scene, good luck to them, as they too are playing Download, this year.

Jason Danzelman - Verses

Rob’s thoughts – I came to Nottingham a Rescue Rooms virgin, but any thoughts of being broken in gently disappeared very quickly as Verses took to the (tiny) stage! First on, and playing to a select crowd, Verses gave us a brilliant opening set of well crafted melodic rock, delivered with drive, energy and passion, winning the assembled throng over instantly. It wasn’t all balls-out rock from the guys. There’s plenty of breathing room within the songs, often breaking down to a single arpeggiated guitar riff, before slapping you back into life! I did notice some of the gang vocal ‘whoas’ in set ender, “Who We Are’ were reminiscent of Kings Of Leon, but that’s where any similarity ends. Everything else is pure Verses. A great start to the evening.

Joe Gale - Verses

Set List tonight: Ten Seconds Left, Little Catastrophe, Making Statues, Always Disconnect, Same White Light, Live in the Sky, Who Are We.

The second band on stage this evening were Flood of Red all the way from Glasgow Scotland.

Jay thoughts – These guys have a massive following, in-fact Carrie Ann, a fellow photographer has seen these guys ten times! You could see every ounce of energy went into tonights set, with a side order of crazy. The band couldn’t fit on the stage in their entirety, due to the keyboards, so the vocalist positioned himself in front of the crowd, who quickly moved away once he started thrashing about and throwing the mic stand around. At one point, I thought he’d lost it, as he thrust it upwards, I honestly thought it was going through the ceiling!! The bands sound have elements of Radiohead, with melodic peaceful parts, until the change in tempo, then everyone goes nuts, especially the bass player……it was a splendid spectacle to behold and I thoroughly enjoyed watching these guys, but I’d love to see what would happen on a larger stage.

Jordan Spiers - Flood Of Red

Rob’s Thoughts – The size of the stage was already an issue, with various band members tucked behind the PA stacks, but when Flood Of Red took to it, it went from issue to full-on problem! This time we had guitarists pressed against a wall, or stood beside the stage, as the available space was occupied by drums and keyboards. Then we have the additional space required by Spiers and Snee… And this is where the fun begins! Jordan Spiers took to the area immediately in front of the stage, his arms draped over the mic stand, resting on his wrists, his head bowed. He begins to sing. His voice, as pure and soaring as it is in the studio. Then… BOOM! It all goes horribly right! A one-man mosh pit, armed with a joust! While Spiers is doing his thing in semi-darkness, Jonathon Snee, fully illuminated on the stage, is mesmerising. I don’t really know how to describe his movement without offending the ‘care in the community’ types. Suffices to say, he is a blur of arms, legs and hair. Throw in the headbanging keysman, and you’ve got a band that needed… deserved the bigger stage. Musically, these boys are tight. Sometimes unsettling proggy rhythms, gaps and booms all delivered in unison, and with a lot more power than their recorded counterparts. While their CD’s are good, live, they are very good.

Jonathon Snee - Flood Of Red

Our headlining band for tonight were Blood Command from Bergen, Norway.

Jay’s Thoughts – The band released their latest album in 2012, called ‘Funeral Beach’, which joins their impressive back catalogue. Tonight’s venue didn’t really do this band justice, again, barely fitting on the stage. A giant of a man on guitar, who would give out sporadic bursts of can can kicks and I did fear for Silje due the risk she was at of getting booted off the speaker that she’d perched herself on! Although the PA system was loud, I felt the music quality suffered slightly tonight. Their tour officially comes to an end in Manchester, with their final show of this tour being at Download 2013. In comparison to tonight’s gig, I bet these guys are relishing the prospect of playing such a prestigious UK festival, what a contrast that’s going to be! What was nice for me though, was the chance to get up close and personal, I even got to shake their hands! The drummer was outstanding tonight, very talented and baring a striking resemblance to that of Lars Ulrich, and having every bit of  his talent too! Silje has a very impressive set of lungs on her, but she can also sing, with a silky smooth voice, pausing only once to give the obligatory thanks to both support bands on the tour. A special shout out goes to fans, Aimee and Han, who stood at the front of the stage all night, singing every single word back at the band, they even managed a two man, or female mosh pit……. and to show her appreciation, Silje came off stage and stood directly in front of the pair for a song, I bet they loved that!

Silje Tombre - Blood Command

Rob’s thoughts – Cards on the table time. I listened to Blood Command’s catalogue prior to this gig, as you do. Female fronted bands, for me, can be a bit ‘all fluff, and no substance’, or ‘good at ballads, but please don’t shout’. I was impressed with what I heard, in fact, I went back for seconds… and thirds! Experience has taught me, however, that even the best female rock vocalists can be a bit screechy live, so I was prepared for the worst. What a fool! Silje Tombre delivered the full range, from frail, through melodic to power and aggression, without ever resorting to sounding like a kicked cat! She’s got the punk moves too, for the most part, foot on the monitor, leering at the crowd, occasionally rocking back to the upright and doing the ‘1000 yard stare’, head cocked in an incredulous look, à la Billie Joe Armstrong/John Lydon.

Simon Oliver Okland and Nikolas Jon - Blood Command

The whole band appeared confident and relaxed, but struggling a little with the confines of the stage. How nobody lost a headstock, I’ll never know, what with all the spinning, twisting and ‘axes aloft’ going on! A special mention to sticksman Sigurd Håkås (thunderous tub-thumping, and a baby-eating grimace stuck to his face for the most part), and guitarist Yngve Andersen (a huge bloke, even a PA stack can’t hide… Especially when said bloke is doing high-kicks!). The set was biased towards the new album, Funeral Beach, with no less than five of the twelve songs being lifted from it. No complaints here… it’s a fine album. I only wish more people had witnessed this performance, as it was damned fine, although, as Download awaits, I’m sure there will be plenty more Blood Commandees very soon.

Blood Command

Set List Tonight: Alarm All Assassins, Pissed Off and Slightly Offended, March of the Swan Elite, Cult of the New Beat, True North, Agenda Suicide, Death, On And On Chameleon, Incorporate Use of Cloak & Dagger, High Five for Life, Every X

Words and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK) and Rob Nankivell (Shoot Plymouth)