The Firebug Leicester 8.4.16.
Tonight’s gig was a special one, as I’d participated in Beholder’s Kickstarter campaign, which they successfully smashed within 24 hours. Fact is, they reached their target in the first two hours, which is pretty amazing for any band, so we’re over the moon for them. As part of my package, I was given the opportunity to be a part of the set up crew, which in reality all this means is I helped lug their equipment up two flights of stairs, which I’m sure the band appreciated immensely as it allowed them to conserve their energy for tonight’s show! Tonight’s gig was part of a Resin Events night, who’s an up and coming promoter in the Leicester area and starting to make a name for himself, as he’s fair and goes that extra mile to ensure bands want to play his events and the customers have a great night out!
As part of the nights entertainment, the promoter also secured three others acts to play alongside Beholder, the first of which being Opensight, a fantastically creative band from London, whose origins stretch slightly further a field, as the four piece are from all over Europe.
Members of Opensight consist of, Ivan David – Vocals / Guitar, Genia Penksik – Guitar and Redd Reddington – Drums. Although no bass player was present, thanks to the wonders of Technology, a laptop computer filled in the gaps. It also produced a rather cool projection, that coincided with their set and I was pretty impressed with that, to be honest!
At first I didn’t quite know what to expect from these guys, lead singer and guitarist Ivan David was very theatrical and entertaining, however, his solos seemed awkward and very complex, so I’m not sure if he missed a few notes or if I’m just stupid? However, as the set went on, the more interested I became and it was almost as if the whole room had been hypnotised, as their music grabbed us off guard, with their funk fuelled metal cross over style which was something very unique indeed and not something you come across all that often. Personally, I’m still on the fence with this band, but I’ll certainly be trying to see these guys play live again, just to see what happens, I’m sure it wasn’t a fluke, yet quite possibly the most original thing I’ve see all year?
The next bands name, should have been an indication of what to expect, as to some extent “Victorian Whore Dogs” are what they go by and it suits them, perfectly! After a rousing introduction, courtesy of the one and only, master of ceremonies Mr. Rob Bannister, the band set off at lightning speed with my first impression being ‘another screamo band’ but as the set went on, these guys certainly changed my initial perception!
The band describe their sound as being a cross of Hobo Sludge and Sexy Trampcore, two genres that I’ve never heard of before and I’m sure they’ve made it up, but it does describes their style perfectly! I mean no disrespect when I say, lead singer Danny Page is a big lad, but he certainly seems very comfortable within himself, as the top came off and so did the lid on his personality. Off stage, he seemed quite a gentleman but on it, he became a sex crazed mad man, offering everyone in the room sexual favours whilst touching himself. I assure that this was all part of the act but it was very entertaining!
Tonight was a relatively warm one, so how the bands drummer Steve More managed to play the entire set in a dog like gimp mask is beyond me, however it did serve as another aid towards the comedy factor! These guys have taken on a genre that usually bores me to tears as there are so many young angry men playing this type of music today, but Victorian Whore Dogs have managed to turn it into something quite unique and very entertaining! The rest of the band consists of, Adam Marrelli Crawley – Guitar/vox and Andy Nuttall – Bass/vox. VWD’s are currently touring around the UK with the next band on tonight’s bill, Morass Of Molasses or MoM for short.
First off, these guys had the best merch stand display that we’ve seen all year and thankfully, my amazement didn’t stop there! On stage, these guys are riff monsters and we’d liken them to bands such as Black Spiders – lead singer Bones The Beard was clearly a fan of that band, as he was wearing their t-shirt and fans of 1000mods, Wo Fat and Baroness should seriously consider checking these guys out! I’m aware the band played last years Bloodstock festival, which sat well with the crowd tonight, especially when you consider who was in attendance!
As the last band before them were extremely entertaining, so were Morass of Molasses and when they invited Danny back up on stage to take part in a song, we knew there was a reason these two bands decided to tour together, if not for the comedy factor, the track they played was bloody brilliant – even with screaming involved. This review is slighly under whelming and doesn’t really do the band any justice – not because they were sh*t, but because I don’t know enough about them. They did however, leave a lasting impression on us, so we will do our best to find out more!
One funny moment was when Bones addressed the crowd with an introduction to a song, which was meant to be about a dragon – I think, but someone close to the band suggested it reminded them of cock…ok, I didn’t feel that, but one guy in the crowd liked cock, so immediately related with what was being said, I never did find out if the song gave him a happy ending though?
So, to the band of the hour, Beholder. It’s been a long time coming but thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, the release of their third Studio album ‘Reflections’ was all made possible thanks to the generosity of their fans and the band haven’t let them down either. I spoke with both guitarist Scott Taylor and drummer Chris Bentley, who both said that the band have approached the making of this album a little differently than with “Order of Chaos”. With the previous album, they went for tracks they thought were right, technically, but with this new album ‘Reflections’ they dug deeper and wrote music that had more meaning both lyrically and musically.
Metal Hammer quite rightly penned and I quote “Progressive edged metallers Beholder have impressed…excellently crafted and crushingly performed…this is without a doubt the most cohesive collection of songs that Beholder have put to their name to so far” and we agree. I’ll never win any awards for writing, it’s not my forte, I do this to accompany my images however, I do know what I like and I’ve always liked this bands honesty and persistence – I’ve seen this band play to twenty people and still given it their all. Tonight, deservedly, the venue was almost full, with people from all walks of life in attendance and all with one thing in common, to show their support to one of the hardest working bands in the underground metal scene, who, thanks to this album, appear to be emerging into pastures new!
If I could bottle up emotion, I would have made a fortune from the glee that was emulating from front man, Simon Hall’s body language, throughout the entirety of tonight’s set. I could see he was loving every second of performing this new album, not in it’s entirety and not in the same order that it appears on the CD but the set was mainly geared up to showcase the new album and quite rightly so as it’s a belter! Live, these guys are amazing too!
Reflections gets its official release on 12.02.16, so be sure to grab yourself a copy and be sure to see a live show soon, as the band play five more shows around the country this April – check out their Facebook page for more details!
Reflections is available to buy from Beholder’s official website.
Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)