Sunday, 30 October 2011

Capdown with support from Anti-Vigilante and JB Conspiracy – Birmingham Library at the Hmv Institute

When I got asked to cover Capdown I was so excited, this band has always been there throughout my early gigging days, they were a band I never really listened to on CD (remember them?) but a band that I thoroughly enjoyed live, they just always seem to crop up as either a support band or at the right place at the right time.  They’re playing at the Library in the institute which is the smallest area of this multi room venue, which I’m sure will make the atmosphere tonight electric!

Anti-Vigilante are first up tonight this 4 piece from Milton Keynes know how to warm up a crowd.  Their style of atmospheric dub/punk/ska reminds me of King Prawn with a good mix of fast vocals crossed with a bit of sax instrumentals.  The deep bass pounds through the room and moves everyone with the vibrations, whilst bassist Gareth moshes like it’s going out of fashion.  The crowd are into it but seeing as the venue wasn’t full yet, people where standing back, so when singer Josh asks the crowd to move forward 4 steps I thought no chance, but tonight’s crowd are up for it and they move forward and get into the mood.  They pull off a good set and lead the way for the night’s second support

The JB Conspiracy who barely fit on this small stage with their 7 members are booming from the start. They get right into their fun time ska punk and whip the crowd into a frenzy. Some of their songs remind me of Slow Gherkin, lots of instrumental break downs that keeps building up and building up. They have a great sound mix with trumpets, sax and keys which make a really traditional ska/reggae style big band, which is awesome but at times can be quite tinny. All three vocalists come across to make clear harmonies which echo and bounce off each other.  They slow down there set with a bit of reggae which gives the crowd time to relax and catch their breath before getting the crowd swinging again. The JB conspiracy put on a great show and everyone has a good old skank.

The night is going great and finally the wait is over, Capdown take to the stage and bring their unique brand of punk/thrash/ska to the stage.  The atmosphere in the room is electric, they sound amazing, even if the sound is up to a ridiculous volume they still sound great, with the guitars, bass and drums all coming over amazingly well, you can feel the music running through your body.  Everybody loves it, and the whole crowd is moving.  Normally when I say that the crowd are normally just nodding there head as there all pressed to the barrier, but here everyone is dancing! The crowd of a few hundred are all in their own space and getting down to the beats, some people are in a pit, some people are moshing and some and skanking, but no-one is standing still and it’s really refreshing to see, that ska punk is still going down well even if it’s not really at the fore front of the scene. 

Capdown play a great set and play all their great live songs including the sax heavy Cousin Cleotis to Pound For The Sound and the awesome Ska Wars, all this is wrapped up with Home Is Where The Start Is to end this amazing night of punk, ska and reggae with a bang.  Tonight has been great with all 3 bands proving that this type of music is still alive, and with Capdown still officially split up its humbling to see a band that doesn’t care about selling albums or for fame and money as there here, they’re playing music that they love and as long as there happy and the crowd is happy they’ll keep doing it. Let’s hope they come back for another tour soon as the world needs more bands with this attitude for playing music for the fun of it!
Capdown 5/5

JB Conspiracy 4/5

Anti-Vigilante 4/5

Joy Formidable at Birmingham HMV Institute 13/10/11 with support from Creatures Of Love and And So I Watch You From Afar

Tonight is a last minute gig, I was asked to do it a day or two before but only found out at 5 on the night that I had the gig for definite, so I grabbed my camera and headed out for a night of Indie beats. I get to the venue, get inside and start getting my kit ready only to find moments before the first band comes on stage that my card has corrupted and that I can’t take any photo’s, I tried my best to fix it but nothing happens, so I begrudgingly take my place in the crowd and get ready to enjoy the evening.
Creatures Of Love are first up, this atmospheric indie band are really interesting. They’re sound is different to most as they build up and tear down there beats all over the place. They are really hard to pigeon hole as they come at you from every angle. The sound is really impressive, great vocals over big beats and synth but I think it would sound allot better with a bigger stage, but unfortunately I can’t see them being everyone’s cup of tea and will probably not be a huge band, but if you’re looking for something different, something that will make great background music in a film then this is the band for you. They play a decent set taking you on a journey through sound; it’s a different start from the normal gig openers but a good one.
And So I Watch From Afar are the main support tonight, a punk rock band from Belfast. They’re not punk rock in a Ramones style they’re punk rock in the way they’re a mash up of different styles, they’re fast drum beats and screechy guitars scream punk, but the song progression is more prog rock. The tightness of the act is immense, this band no how to play and know how to put on a show, getting the crowd hyped up into a frenzy ready for the main event. It kind of seems odd that they’re on this tour but it makes for a night of eclectic noise that is really great, and makes a refreshing change from just seeing one genre at a gig. They’re sound is great but the lack of vocals at times makes it really frustrating as the tune is great but you just want a catchy bit you can sing along to instead of just bopping along to the sounds. The crowd is now pumped and ready for…
The Joy Formidable are a 3 piece indie band from Wales, I know Indie is a lame way to describe them but I really think it’s the best way, they do delve into different styles like rock and mellow but they are at the end of the day a great indie band, which they should be proud off. They take to the stage in great style to one of their better known songs, A Heavy Abacus, which instantly grabs everyone’s attention with the thrashing intro and plodding verses. They hauntingly beautiful vocals stand out miles and the sound is great, the bass is powerful and intentionally distorted, the guitar fuzzes through and makes the songs sound great. Halfway through the set the drummers pedal disconnected but this didn’t stop them, they continued on and had a laugh with the crowd keeping the night ticking on. They’re stage set up had a few touches with the odd bit of lighting and mic decorations. They play for an hour with plenty of heavy hitting songs that please everyone in attendance. They end there set with the stylistically booming song Whirring that wraps the evening up nicely, the song builds and builds till it explodes with raw emotion.
Overall I had a great night; with 3 differently styled bands under one roof all giving something unique and interesting back to this enthused crowd. Things would have been better if I could have taken photo’s but I guess that’s the way things go, I hope to see and take photos of these bands in the future as they all made a great first impression on me.
Joy Formidable 4/5
And So I Watch From Afar 4/5
Creatures Of Love 3.5/5