Image Credit: Artist’s Facebook
District, formerly known as The Picket, is a warehouse shed cradled in the middle of the Baltic Triangle, run by the legendary Big in Japan’s Jayne Casey and a venue that was the first to secure the now renowned area as a creative-hub and pioneer of cool vibes. As I stumbled along the concrete maze to find it, it seemed it wasn’t a yellow brick road that would take me there, but the thundering noise resonating throughout the Baltic that was to be my beacon. The night’s set was to be a heavy one, and in a smaller venue traditionally used to housing artists on the electronic spectrum, the concoction of moshing punters, drum-thrashing and howls made for one killer night, as Elevant premiered in full their new album ‘Dreamface’ outside of the recording studio.
With a stellar line-up to support, Pocket Apocalypse began the proceedings, a local band that are sure to assert the math rock scene in Merseyside is alive and kicking. The frantic key and time changes were executed with the upmost precision and very aptly ensured the night was to be a loud one. With an album due for release 23 March, our album review highlights the magnitude of what Pocket Apocalypse can achieve and have you eager not to miss out on future shows.
Mothers continued the intense ambience, with their alternative, fuzz-laden rock beefed to the max with catchy bass rhythms and forceful drumming – a personal favourite to watch, as drummer Lewis O’Neill powered through drum rolls, double time rhythms all composed with a cheeky grin and slick stick movements that had me out of breath just watching. A tight-knit group with even tighter grunge infused heavy rock melodies, nodding towards the likes of The Smashing Pumpkins, you’d be crazy not to catch them before the buzz catapults them to Kerrang/ NME stardom or worse….to London.
Final support came from Sheffield punk-rockers Steel Trees, who are a combination of heated words, Metallica-infused drumming and dirty guitar riffs and a bass player who is able to play one handed whilst cradling a tin of beer in the other – quite a skill. The grunge edge is weaved with goth-like raw melodies and I would recommend checking out the video to Stoner Zombie Killer Kids for some tongue-in-cheek hilarity.
Elevant entered the stage, the eerie blue spotlights descending on frontman Michael Edward’s looming figure, as they got straight to business in premiering the new album. Dreamface is an album made for the live stage; its rawness, rowdiness and downright raucous sentiments were not lost, as Elevant glided through the tracks with ease, their immense talent and music capability awe-inspiring. Blind had Edwards bust out a screwdriver, producing sonically shifting strums, revealing his Doctor Who capabilities, as he worked magic with the tool. Snapshots showed Elevant’s softer ballad-driven side, akin to a melancholy Foo Fighters. Whilst Mood Manipulator was a track to appease the die-hard math rock fans, its scaling melodies, tripping beats and thumping bass enabled the crowd some release of moshing steam. My personal favourite track of Good Intentions had the band truly rock out, as drummer Tom Shand howled down the microphone alongside hysterical drum-crashing, crazy guitar solos and stage bouncing so hard I thought a drum cymbal would fly off into the audience. It was just over 7 minutes of pure unadulterated psychedelic rock and was the perfect finish to a perfect set.
With a strong Queens of the Stone Age sentimentality, Elevant are crusaders of, as cliché as it sounds, rock and roll – they aren’t afraid to produce heavy sounds alongside softer melodies as well as bust out the odd Freddie Mercury stage swagger. Elevant aren’t just a band brimming with talent, they work hard – bassist Hannah Lodge’s finger-picking bass riffs which resulted in a cut thumb is enough proof of the blood, sweat and tears that Elevant have put into this album as they ensure the baton of classic rock is not lost in this electronically obsessed age – much to our delight.