Last night I visited the Arts Club to attend a heavy metal gig. Not being a hugely enthusiastic subscriber to the subculture of metal music, I know very little about the nuances and differing styles of the genre, so I mainly based my opinions of the bands on how the audience reacted. One thing I will say is that I do recommend going to a heavy metal gig or regular metal gig at least once in your life, as they are very fun.
Bearing Loss, were the first band I saw as I had slight trouble getting in. They were a strong band that played (presumably) a standard metal set, using constant fast paced rhythm sections to rally the mosh in the centre of the floor. Melodies were perhaps lacking but it was overall fun to watch, and my initial reaction was that the audience agreed.
Skies in Motion, knew how to get the audience excited, with a strong frontman who had very good stage presence; he went so far as to join the mosh for his last song. The drummer kept a tight beat throughout the entire performance, which is no mean feat given the ferocity of the set. Differing somewhat to the other bands in that they had very little back up vocals, they relied largely on their frontman to deliver – perhaps explaining his eagerness to hurl himself into the crowd below.
Wstr, were probably, at least in my opinion, the weakest link at this gig. That’s not to say that they are not a good band, and it did seem as though they were playing a good set in terms of musical output. Something however, appeared to be missing. Wstr seemed to lack that evocative edge, at least from what I’d experienced thus far in heavy metal. As with all the bands the standard of musicianship was high, particularly the drummer. Something did fall flat for me though, but I’m open to admit I can’t identify what exactly that was.
I was lucky enough to interview last band of the night, Skywalker, before they preformed. They are a band from Prague on an eight day tour of England and have a full album out called Liberty Island. They did not set out to be a metal band, initially starting out as a pop punk band but developing out of that genre.
Their performance was good. Having been an outfit for over four years, their chemistry really shines through in their live setup. As I have discovered is crucial in metal, Skywalker have an energetic frontman who is backed by strong vocals from both the guitarist and the bassist, allowing him to express himself more onstage. The only thing that bothered me was that half the audience had left after watching Wstr, which was a shame, as Skywalker were probably one of the best bands there that night. Carrying influences from their earlier material, Skywalker infused some more pop styled melodies into their songs that added an extra dimension to the heavy metal “drops”. This meant that the songs were less ‘2D’ than the conventional metal and more appealing to a wider range of audiences – which for newcomers like me, was a bit of a relief at the end of an interesting night!
Words: Will Ehrman