Review and photos by Russ Tierney
I find my self armed with a pen (well keyboard) and I wasn’t expecting to, so I shall try and keep this brief..
Up first up tonight are local girls and guys Devil In Dorian who evolved from a more familiar name in Escaping Vendetta. EV were a band I had earmarked but never seen, so it’s difficult for me to truly understand their evolution, but based on tonight’s offering and previous videos, Devil in Dorian have become a heavier beast from their more melodic pop driven past. Clearly the hard working ethic from their former days will stand them in good stead, and they certainly didn’t seem too intimidated by tonight’s powerhouse bill and the ever filling Academy 3.
D.I.D make the most of the stage and manage to engage the audience despite it still being early doors, so we can let the few rusty bits slide that can proabably be chalked down to using other peoples gear and not properly finding your comfort zone as result (i’ve been there in bands too). I’m sure as these guys gig their new outfit their pedigree will soon start pathing an edgier road, and comparisons with their younger selves will slowly dissolve and leave a fresh spin on tried and tested minds allowing for an exciting prospect in the near future.
Sister Shotgun are another familiar local band name that is hard to avoid and that I’ve come to associate more with the R’n’R scene than metal, but with all bands here tonight being female fronted, and with Sumo Cyco as tour support, we were never in for a straight down the line metal show. For me at least that keeps things exciting! In the pit I smile as I’m hit with the trademark of any good R’n’R band, riffs… big riffs.
The vocals kind of blend in to the web of sound from down the front and they don’t distance themselves too much from our openers, and the pop tinged melodies on display bridge the gap nicely for later. Their experience shines as they too demand the audiences attention. During songs front woman Chloe is determined to dethrone me of my comfy step at the crowd barrier, and while speaking freely between songs you can tell that confidence is brimming and that they’ve been around the block a few times and earned their place on the stage tonight.
You only need to check out the latest video offerings by Canadians Sumo Cyco to even partly understand their sense of fun, and those videos too suggest their creativity doesn’t lie solely on stage and in their music.. but that’s a discovery you can make yourselves. So now imagine No Doubt playing Skindred songs and you’ve probably arrived at some quirky Reggae pop metal mindset that isn’t too far from what’s on offer.
In keeping with the energetic front woman notion, a Harley Quinn looking Sever barely has time to catch her breath as she dominates the stage, the crowd barrier, the spaces between audience members and the bar at the back of the room. It’s a complete blast and party from start to finish with smiles all round. There’s certainly a few Sumo fans in here tonight too and I can see why with their infectious sound and sense of fun, plus with a collaboration with Benji of Skindred it’s only a matter of time before their name starts to ring around peoples ears in the UK. I’ve already added them to my Amazon wish list (other online music retailers are also available) so they don’t escape mine.
The opening bands may sound familiar, but you’d be forgiven in thinking the Butcher Babies looked it, even if you’ve never heard a note, Heidi and Carla’s image with in the metal scene is rather infamous. The ladies determination to prove women can exist and be taken serious and rock it in the metal world (see ‘For The Fight’ which I imagine is as much about this as politics in general) does tread a fine balance into also exploiting their look sometimes which makes it such an easy target in reviews such as this one. “How were Butcher Babies? I’ve always found them quite gimmicky” a friend mused while asking about them live… in reality I feared something similar but was greeted with a balls out metal show of snarls, double kick grooves, riffs, musical guitar stabs and visceral gurns that Beyonce would be suing photographers over.
To be quite honest, they were bloody hard to shoot in low light with the sheer intensity and movement and with the combined energy of all the bands tonight, you could have probably powered the city of Birmingham. So with some huge groove laden riffs and hooky choruses, it’s easy to argue that the Butcher Babies are clearly not a part time outfit existing on image alone, and while that may help/hinder them in opening and closing doors alike and that I imagine the girls enjoy the powerplay and psychology of it all, you’d better take note because they most definitely wont be too apologetic in forcing you do to so.