Arcane Roots + [Me] @ Rock City, Nottingham – 5th July 2012

Review by Robert Moody / Photos by Carla Mundy

Whilst Nottingham Rock City’s main room hosts a large student club night every Thursday night, anyone who wandered into the smallest room of the venue, The Basement, on this particular evening were treated to something a little different, with Surrey rockers Arcane Roots stopping by as part of their current UK tour.

As the gig was part of the Rock City club, there was just a single support act for the evening, in the form of a quartet from Melbourne, Australia named [Me]. Their set consisted of a number of melodic rock songs, making regular use of keyboards alongside the traditional guitar work. Vocalist Luke Ferris has a vocal style reminiscent of many English bands of similar genres, most notably Matt Bellamy of Muse, and this coupled with the variety in musical styles allow the band to sound both modern and somewhat retro at the same time. [Me] are now living in the UK and tour regularly, and the familiar feel of their music witnessed tonight means that you should expect them to pop up in support slots on larger tours before too long.

By contrast, the headline act of the evening, Arcane Roots, did not have that ‘familiar feel’ in the slightest. From the moment the three men took to the stage, they launched into a 45 minute set which ranged from the sombre to the insane, often in the space of seconds. Vocalist and Guitarist Andrew Groves offers a vocal range all the way from a peaceful, melodic drone through to aggressive screams, whilst he and bassist Adam Burton showed very little regard for time signatures, the rhythms of Daryl Atkins’ drum work, or indeed their own personal welfare, as they furiously bounced around the stage, without missing a beat (although at times the melodies are so erratic it was, admittedly, hard to tell). By the end of the set, the whole crowd was nodding along in approval, and in showcasing almost all of their debut album Left Fire those in attendance were treated to a full performance of both the variety and technicality of the band. Arcane Roots have been sitting in the ‘one to watch’ columns for a little while now, and on the evidence of this show, they are on the verge of moving onto much bigger things.