With Support From One More Victim and Whispering Vault.
The Hairy Dog Derby 3rd June 2013.
Three bands tonight, at the Hairy Dog, in Derby and I’ll stick my neck on the line and say this venue is the best live music venue Derby has to offer. The bands play upstairs in a large room that is capable of holding 2/300 spectators. The stage area, where the bands perform isn’t massive, but it is raised and now has a protective barrier to stop crazy spectators taking running jumps (which I’ve witnessed before). The PA system is incredible and very powerful. During my interview with The Mercy House, I could still hear the bands playing halfway down the street!! The lighting system is pretty impressive to, a dream for all us photographers, although the red light of doom featured quite a lot tonight, but I got through it, what a trooper!
FIrst up waere the St. Helens based band, One More Victim and this four piece thrash metal band comprises of Richie Scott – Rhythm guitar and vocals, Nick Doran – drums, Andy Dyas – lead guitar and Mat Lowe on da bass.
These guys are your typical classic thrash metal band, with some killa riffs, ear blistering vocals and balls to the floor metal and a healthy following, and following tonight’s set, I can now see why. If you’re looking to de-stress from a shit week at work, these guys sure as hell get you moving, as they themselves are mental on stage. What was also great to see, their lead vocalist Richie stuck around to watch the other bands before making the long journey home. Good work guys and I look forward to seeing you again.
Next up was local Derbyshire based band, Whispering Vault. Don’t let the bands name fool you as these guys are far from quite. Consisting of Simon Bowler – Vocals, Mike Ellis – battering the drums, Mick Allen – Guitar, Mark Faxon – Guitar and by no means least, Tak Takumi Sekiguchi Sloan on bass, who people might also know through his involvement at The Music Shed, Derby’s premier practicing studios.
Tonights vocals were an awesome display of power courtesy of Simon, and backed up with some pretty excellent drumming and brutal guitar playing. These guys are your conventional UK black metal band and I really enjoyed their set from start to finish, although I did start to feel every track sounded the same. That comment isn’t meant to suggest that this band weren’t good, far from it because they are, but like someone said in conversation, having seen 300 bands this year all doing the same thing, it’s nice to get a little variation within a set. That doesn’t mean to say you stop what you enjoy doing, it just means bands could experiment a little more.
Which leads me on nicely to our main event, The Mercy House. These guys, five in total, made the long journey up from London to play their debut show in Derby. Consisting of Drew – vocals, Dany – rhythm guitar, Dan – lead guitar, W.R – Bass and Nick on Drums.
The Mercy House came onto my radar when they played with the mighty Fortress in Worcester back on May the 4th (be with you). Naturally I checked out these guys and discovered I liked their sound and a few emails to The Noise Cartel later, here I am. What initially grabbed my attention, were the similarities between vocalist Drew and Layne Stayley from Alice in Chains. I would also say The Mercy House have that whole, seattle based grunge and grinding hard rock feel from the early 90’s going on too, which bands like AiC have made famous. Refreshingly, there ain’t many bands about these days doing this genre so it’s no wonder the likes of Planet Rock and Metal Hammer have picked up on this and decided to re-release their first album. However, when “A Broken State of Bliss” was first released, it did still manage to secure the band a healthy fan base.
Tonights set was incredible. Although not full on thrash, these guys sure know how to rock and from start to finish, The Mercy House showed us no mercy, whilst head banged in unison throughout their own set. The band played with much power and aggression and a clear political motivation was to be heard in both their personal views and lyrical content. This didn’t deter them, or me for that matter from enjoying the music, as when you see a band of such animated and energetic characters, it’s hard not to enjoy yourself and I’m sure everyone present tonight would agree.
Definitely check out their current album, as I’ve previously mentioned and I look forward to the new album which is due to be released either later this year or early 2014.
I managed to interview two members of The Mercy House, Dany and Nick and you can listen to that interview here https://soundcloud.com/jj_fubar/the-mercy-house-interview, which I personally found insightful, with some great honesty.
Words and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)