Merthyr Rock Festival 2012 [31 Aug – 2nd Sept, Cyfarthfa Park, Merthyr Tydfil]

Despite Merthyr Rock only being in its second year, I already regard it as one of my favourite festivals and a more than necessary summer break. While Wales has produced some incredible bands over the years – Funeral For a Friend, Lostprophets and The Blackout but to name a few – it never quite got a break as far as festivals are concerned. That was until 2011 when Hay Festivals decided to not only rock the valleys, but blast a fresh crater into those grassy hills. Last year’s lineup was a day shorter but stellar nonetheless. Managing to snare such names as Young Guns, My Passion and Skindred for your first outing is beyond impressive, so to say there were high expectations for 2012 would be an understatement.

While I had tickets for all three days and attended each accordingly, alas, I am only one person and no doubt I missed some incredible performances on various stages over the days. So count this as a highlights package. Saying that, I varied my tastes and aimed to experience a good cross-section of all music available and you know what? Merthyr topped itself, the whole thing was bloody glorious, from the setup to the food to the weather. Parts of it were so brilliant, that I’m starting to think I dreamed it…

Despite my eventual glee, Friday was never going to be my night. I could liken the experience to being attacked with an indie machine gun; me and the Kooks get along about as well as Inigo Montoya and the man who killed his father. So who was headlining? Razorlight. It was going to be a long night.

But thankfully, before all that hat-wearing frivolity kicked off, there were a good few bands to get through. First on my agenda were The People The Poet (4/5) (formerly known as Tiger Please), who could easily have been awarded the title of ‘best vocals of the weekend’ without having to have seen any other acts. Their singer has the most luscious, rich, gravelly and overwhelmingly divine voice I’ve ever heard; imagine chucking whiskey in a cement mixer. To top this, their music is full and indulgent with all the simplicity and charm of traditional folk music. No doubt, they’ll be earmarked for future NME readers to fawn over, but until then, catch them before they realise how damn good they are. Also, they sang the cheeriest song of the weekend about abortion, so if that doesn’t merit a listen, I don’t know what does. Saves The Day (3/5) were a band I was more intrigued than excited to see. Like many people, I remember flailing around my bedroom in 2002, straining my voice, singing along to At Your Funeral. But that was it. I knew little of their work since and was interested to see if they could still perform, or were reduced to a dull, bland band, feeding off their own sense of nostalgia. My expectations weren’t exactly confounded, but they hardly surprised me either. They’re still a comfortable band with a solid, fun sound, but their lack of dynamism on stage reflected in the audience’s reaction, really limiting their performance. Razorlight (3/5) are an odd one for me to try and sum up. I had many of their hits inflicted on my ears while sitting in the refectory at college, so I was grudgingly familiar with much of their set before they started playing, but that wasn’t enough to make me raise a smile. I could simpIy say that I found the entire set to be dull as dishwater. Soulless music for people that can’t be bothered to look beyond the charts. But that’s a silly, dismissive response. There’s no doubt that they’re all competent musicians and their sound was as crisp, clear and as ‘together’ as it had been on the radio. But when it came to going further than those four or five radio-friendly hits from the past few years, they fell more than a little flat. Their armoury is badly stocked, but I don’t think this phases their general audience.

Saturday was a far greater draw in terms of crowd size, and it’s unsurprising considering the quality lineup in place. After the traditional pre-gig Nando’s excursion, I found myself in front of the re-named James McLaren stage (a wonderful Welsh music journalist who tragically passed away recently), in the presence of Bastions (3.5/5); a tight little hardcore outfit whose raw energy and unbridled power really stood out amongst their fellow bands. While they weren’t exactly challenging any existing genre constructs or techniques, they were really quite good. Fitting somewhere between Brotherhood of the Lake and the more simplistic side of Polar, I wouldn’t be surprised if they joined TDONs books before the year was out. After a brief break from the stages (with signing sessions galore, it’d be rude not to partake), I soon found myself in the presence of Rise to Remain (3.5/5). Rise to Remain are a damn good, young, interesting metal band that seem to have shot up the ladder of success pretty quickly, but suddenly got stuck on one step and haven’t been able to shift since. With a set varied enough to please any metal fan – rabid or casual – and a charismatic frontman in the form of Austin ‘My dad’s in Iron Maiden, ain’t he’ Dickinson, they certainly had all the ingredients, it was just in the cooking that something didn’t quite fit. Yashin (4/5) however seemed very sure of themselves. Perhaps too sure. Yashin are the archetypal scene frontmen; they are hair and iPhones and suggestions of sex. Their online presence is more centred around hair than music, and soon enough their only receptive audience will be the young girls that pore over their filter-heavy pictures on Instagram. In short, Yashin made me feel old and disconnected. That’s the bad stuff. To their credit though, Yashin make damn good music. Although they’re hardly putting a new slant on the dual vocalist routine, they certainly have the best of the best; all screams are powerful and controlled and all clean singing is well-pitched with a really sweet natural tone. With poppy melodies expertly juxtaposed against grinding basslines, their music dances between fun and anthemic with enviable ease.

Lower Than Atlantis (4.5/5), where to start? I’m biased for a start – LTA are by far one of my favourite bands in the UK at the moment, and their innovative, distinctly British take on melodic hardcore is unrivalled. They’re consistent performers, visibly giving their all in every set, regardless of audience sizes. While frontman Mike Duce is the undisputed figurehead of LTA, when they play live, they perform as a unit, with no one fading into the background or playing second fiddle to a more magazine-friendly face. Despite the great sounds coming from the Watford quartet, the setlist was a little lacking – in phasing out much of their older material, their overall stage time lacked a little depth and weight, but with great new songs such as Normally Strange and Love Somebody Else on the list, they could be partially forgiven. While Lower Than Atlantis had grubby charm by the bucketful, Skindred (5/5) had swagger by the craterful. Every time I see Skindred live, as I leave the venue, I’m so buzzing and over-awed by the whole experience that I always think I must have imagined the extent of their mind-blowing performance. I mean, they couldn’t really be that good? But tonight, as the opening bars of the imperial march rang out once more, Skindred not only tore up the rule book, but burned it, buried it and rewrote it. I defy you to find a band more original than Skindred (seriously, name me another ‘ragga metal’ band) and a frontman more captivatingly charismatic than Benji Webbe. With an expertly chosen setlist that had the audience bouncing as one, dancing as one and Newport Helicopter-ing as one, the rag-tag bunch of Newport gents had Merthyr in the palm of their hand. Mixing crowd favourites such as Warning and Pressure with more groove based tracks as Trouble and Cut Dem. Audience jibes and Beyonce segues aside, Skindred are first and foremost a professional band; they take their music and their influence seriously, not only aiming to preach a gospel of fun and partying, but of unity and tolerance – an aim that lies somewhere north of impressive in these cynical times. Skindred are kings, and it’s only a matter of time until we all bow down.

For me, Sunday was mixed to say the least. With my allergies flaring up like nobody’s business, I missed more bands than I ever wanted to, and with old idols destroying their legacy, I left the site with a far different feeling than previously. Annoyingly, Future of the Left (3/5) was the first band I was able to focus all my attention on, and I hardly had to push my way through a packed tent. FOTL were by far the most ‘wildcard’ booking of the festival; with a far more brash and uncooperative sound than most, they weren’t quite on the same wavelength as many of the young festival goers. Despite this, their quirky and fuzzy-guitared take on alt-rock was a real breath of fresh air, and while songs such as Sheena is a T-Shirt Salesman were hardly going to have you thinking about your relationships and approach to life, they’d certainly get you dancing. Also, there was a lady bassist. A real life woman, stood there, playing bass, in proper clothes, and being fucking talented. More of this please. We Are The Ocean (4/5) have a beautiful sound and heartfelt, weighty lyrics that you often feel that you could touch, and were always given an edge with a dash of screams. With one screamer down and one clean vocalist taking the full blast of the limelight, my excitement at watching WATO was as much influenced by my love of their music as it was sheer fascination as to how they’d cope with a more stripped-down approach. But despite notable absences, WATO triumphed. They were bound to be a tad shaky while everyone adjusts to their new roles (some of the back-up replacement screaming was pitchy at best), but overall their sound was as awe-inspiring as before. With a bit more movement on stage, they’ll be back to their old selves in no time. Canterbury (4/5) are on their way to something huge. They have a sound so strange and minor harmonies so tight that it should make the listener feel uneasy, but on the contrary, those nice young chaps (who love their mums very much) are phenomenal musicians. As soon as they strike into any song, they begin to create something far larger than themselves, something that far more people need to hear. Canterbury are odd, wonderful and deserve every scrap of recognition they get. Back on the mainstage were Deaf Havana (3/5). Oh Deaf, where do we start? Since hearing Meet Me Half Way At Least many moons ago, I was sold on Deaf Havana’s introspective and self-deprecating output and I was never slow to shower them with praise. But as the success of 2011’s Fools and Worthless Liars began to grow, my appreciation and tolerance of their performance and vocal nature on and off stage waned. Don’t get me wrong, the album is a good ‘un. It’s deeply personal, well written and a rightfully successful release. Hell, I went to the release party, I did multiple dates on the tour, I did the lot. But now, Deaf have egos the size of their venues and are convinced (or James is at least) that their newfound recognition means that their only valid release, their only creation with merit is Fools and Worthless Liars. With a set at Merthyr consisting of only two songs that weren’t on FAWL and the declaration that their much loved anthem Friends Like These was ‘fucking shit’, I left feeling dejected and cheated. When you perform half-arsed (Merthyr’s performance was better than most recent festival/support slots) and believe your own hype, both your fanbase and your band will consume itself. I don’t know what to think Deaf, I just don’t know.

Thankfully, the nostalgia-fest that was A (4.5/5) hit the second stage and released me from my Norfolk-based melancholy. Seeing A live was a real milestone for me as Nothing was the first CD single I ever bought and provided the soundtrack to much of my pre-teen greebo angst. Despite not having performed much since 2005 and barely rehearsing at all for their slot, their performances of oldies such as Starbucks, I Love Lake Tahoe and Old Folks were as good and as animated as the day they were released. The floppy hair and naivety of youth may have been absent, but A worked just as well without. Also, seeing original bassist and Radio rock-king Daniel P Carter back in his rightful place leaping about on stage was a joy to behold. Another nice surprise was that briefly scanning the crowd, I was not met with a sea of youthful faces and fresh piercings, but huge groups of those in their mid 20s and 30s, all embracing this hugely self-indulgent wave of nostalgia. To top off what had already been a brilliant set, the inevitable set-closer of Nothing was made that bit more intense, fun and, well, Welsh, with the sudden unexpected presence of The Blackout vocalist Sean Smith. To say the collaboration was anything short of amazing would be a huge understatement. Riding on a high, I headed back over to the main stage to catch the sharply dressed Kids In Glass Houses (3/5). While I fully understand that they’re popular and they have a lot of young, dedicated fans, it didn’t quite hit the mark with me. Sure, they had fun, bouncy, vaguely electro-inspired rock songs made for dancing, but for all their posturing and nice little verses, it never quite built to anything.

With lineups like this, Merthyr will fast become a stalwart of the Welsh music scene and I wish it all the very best of luck. It’s fun, cosy, amazingly cheap and always a cracker. Roll on Merthyr Rock 2013!

Hevy Festival 2012 [3-5/8/12, Port Lympyne, Kent]

Kent’s Hevy Festival, situated amidst the idyllic rolling hills of the English countryside hosts its 4th, and if rumours are to be believed – final year of the best underground and overground acts in the field of heavy music. Now boasting three days of continuous live music, Hevy caters for a huge array of tastes, from Swedish math-metal to ska and everything in-between. This year, the organisers have also catered for every possible force the English weather can throw at it by placing the two main stages adjacent to one another in a huge tent- meaning no clashes between the two stages. Genius!


After the seemingly traditional three hour queue to get in the place there was palpable excitement for the music to commence but due to an inexplicable reason, security stopped the crowd from entering the arena as the first chords of opening band Gnarwolves‘ set rang out. By the time the error was rectified by simply running past the lone and very annoyed security guard, the band were almost halfway through their set. Gnarwolves however, seemed hugely relieved that anybody had come to watch them and the crowd reached a respectable size for such a young, underground band. Playing on a stage about ten times the size of anything they have played on before they remain surprisingly tight and receive the first crowd surfers of the weekend.

Southampton’s Desolated are the first band to really cause a stir as their ridiculously down-tuned chug-core gets the pit moving. In a small venue, Desolated are nothing short of intense but the cavernous tent robs the band of much of their impact. Lead vocalist/growler Paul possesses a voice that sounds downright satanic and as he calls for a circle pit, the early afternoon moshers reply with aplomb.

The rarity at which Last Witness perform live gives today’s show a due sense of occasion and one to which both crowd and band rise to. The band are surprisingly tight considering the scarcity at which they play live – breakdown after breakdown is lapped up by the swarming two steppers in the pit. Songs from recent album Mourning After sound much more visceral than on record mainly due to frontman Theo’s caustic, ultra-aggressive vocal delivery. Judging from the extent of the flailing limbs it is the older songs that incite the most carnage down the front.

Shouts of “TUI!” had been a regular occurrence on the Friday and I expected Baltimore’s Trapped Under Ice to draw a large crowd as they seem to be one of the more ‘trendy’ bands at the moment. Their groove-laden hardcore evokes a pit that surpasses that of the brilliant Last Witness and every shout of “TUI!” (of which there are many) is screamed back at the band who look pretty darn pleased with themselves to have provoked such a reaction. Frontman Justice, with his brick shit-house physique spends much of the set at the barrier handing out the mic to the baying crowd and refusing to let the huge stage rob the band of the intimacy they thrive on. By doing so, they turn what would have been a great performance into one of headliner proportions.

Lower Than Atlantis seem to be as much of a Hevy tradition as the obligatory three hour queue to get in the place. Three years ago they were snotty punks playing to a hundred or so people in a tent little larger than those the festival goers themselves were camping in. Last year’s performance caused such a ruckus the security had to physically hold back the crowd from destroying the sound desk. Now, they have evolved into a slick rock band and are one of the festivals biggest crowd pullers with many singing back most, if not every word. Songs both old and new receive equal adulation with Motorway Of Life getting the crowd jumping and frontman Mike Duce lets the crowd sing the very personal chorus of Far Q. With their gradual rise as leading lights in reviving the UK rock scene it seems that LTA are on track to becoming a fully fledged arena rock band.


Saturday began on a sombre note with the final ever show from Crocus, a band who have received nowhere near the amount of attention they deserve despite years of touring the tiniest, dirtiest venues the UK has to offer. Nevertheless, an impressive crowd has gathered to bid them farewell. Rather than let this be a sad passing of a criminally underrated and talented group of musicians, the band seem to be in a party mood with the drummer swigging from a bottle of whiskey throughout their set of frantic screamo.

Seahaven provide a welcome relief from all the beatdowns and screaming with some soulful alt-rock channelling Brand New and Crime In Stereo, but the bands emo leanings and vocalist’s unique crooning vocal are seemingly at odds with the interests of many as they draw only a small crowd. Although far from the most engaging band to grace the stage this weekend their melodic choruses have distinct sing along potential.

Pennsylvania’s Balance And Composure have gained significant popularity since the release of last years brilliant album Separation. Their triple guitar attack may get lost in the mix at times but for the most part the subtleties within the guitar work that makes Balance and Composure such an amazing band shine through. Relying heavily on songs from Separation means that most are familiar with the material and lyrics are sung back heartily. The slow building opener The Void gets heads banging but the crowd doesn’t really start to provide much of an overtly physical response until final song I Tore You Apart In My Head which sees fans scrambling to the barrier to howl the angst infused lyrics.

Relying heavily on shifting dynamics and intense emotional tension Pianos Become The Teeth enthral the crowd. Switching from beautiful clean guitar parts to pure hardcore fury ensures the band retain the crowds attention throughout. Boasting one of the best drummers in their field, I find myself constantly watching the sticksman as he breaks into intricate rhythms whilst his face is constantly obscured by flailing hair. Lead singer Kyle’s cathartic screams are full of anguish and when songs reach their climax he screams with astounding intensity.

Rolo Tomassi returns to Hevy with a new line-up, new songs and renewed vigour. Opening with latest single Old Mystics the band seem to be re-energized since the departure of two original members earlier in the year. Old favourites such as the jazzy technicalities of I Love Turbulence and the epic, progressive leanings of Kasia are welcomed like old friends. Frontwoman Eva Spence and brother James use the huge stage to their advantage, jumping and flailing as they deliver throat shredding vocals. The band is given a fitting send off as the breakdown to closer Party Wounds induces a rabid reaction from fans.

On the face of it, Meshuggah are somewhat of a wildcard booking, being one of the few metal bands on the bill, they don’t appear to fit in with the tastes of the more hardcore inclined festival goers. Any doubts are swiftly swept aside because tonight Meshuggah resemble less of a band but more a force of nature. Even those with no care for brutal math-metal are in awe at the precision at which the devastating riffs are delivered. Emerging onto a smoke filled stage the band looms over the huge crowd. Launching into Demiurge from this year’s flawless album Koloss I am suddenly aware of their boding and unmatched stage presence. Songs are aired from most of their albums and Bleed, from the breakthrough album Obzen, creates scenes of unparalleled chaos amongst the sweaty crowd. As the band walk off stage to huge ovation there is a realisation that Meshuggah have delivered perhaps the most grippingly destructive and extreme performances of the weekend.

Glassjaw are given the tough job of following Meshuggah’s blinding set but Daryl and co rise to the opportunity, playing a set that draws heavily from the band’s seminal masterpiece Worship and Tribute. The opening one-two of Tip Your Bartender and Mu Empire spurs the pit into action whilst the slow paced anthem Ape Dos Mil receives deafening adulation with every word screamed at their charismatic frontman. Siberian Kiss ends the set in a flurry of schizophrenic yet undeniably catchy post-hardcore. Just as in their headline set two years ago, band and fans alike are robbed of an encore that would have no doubt given a perfect ending to a perfect set as roars of “We want more!” go unanswered.

Andrew W.K is a rather one-dimensional act with a vocabulary that stretches little beyond the word “party” and its affiliates. Yet, his good time party anthems fit the mood of the Saturday night perfectly. Despite playing his most well known song Party Hard first, Andrew manages to maintain the atmosphere inciting circle pits and general crowd antics amongst the many festival goers who are by now a little worse for wear. Andrew W.K resembles less of a band and more of a circus, with four guitarists on stage at any one time and a very scantily clad woman who only seems to shout “yeah!” into the mic. Nevertheless, it provides an amusing spectacle. Disappointingly, and rather inappropriately, the band’s set is cut halfway through their final song and the frustration on their faces is obvious. The crowd shows no sign of leaving for a good half an hour by which time chants of “fuck you Hevy” emit through the tent. A lone guitarist attempts to appease the crowd by playing some Slayer riffs but even he is forced off of stage by the crew.


Cruel Hand face a very early afternoon slot and a weary Sunday crowd who are still feeling the night before. Seemingly unfazed by the challenge the band unleash slabs of metal infused hardcore and it’s not long before those in the mood for some pit action rise to the occasion. Tracks from the recent release Lock and Key, which rarely reach past the two minute mark are lapped up by the ever growing crowd. The closing extended mosh outro to Cruel Hand sees the pit reach its climax and the band seem humbled by the response.

Sweden’s Suis La Lune are shunned by many of the festival goers, and most of those gathered before them seem to be there only out of curiosity. Highly regarded as one, if not the best of the ‘real’ screamo bands, they hold ethereal atmospheric guitars and harsh, anguished vocals in perfect juxtaposition. The only detractor to their otherwise engrossing set is the long periods in between songs due to the constant need for guitars to be re-tuned.

After Will Haven sadly pulled out several days before, Belgium’s Rise and Fall are gifted a later slot. Their recent release Faith, produced by Kurt Ballou of Converge fame is one of the best records of the year so far. At times sludgy and at others bursting with primal aggression the band also commands a certain progressive edge that is only possessed by a handful of bands and used to its full potential by even fewer. Tracks like Deceiver are intense bursts of hardcore held together with impeccable drumming and furious riffing. The crowd however seems to be saving their energy as they receive en masse headbanging rather than any significant pit movement.

Converge are arguably the most influential band on the bill as fragments of their sound are found in countless bands. There is a fervent excitement in the air before they take to the stage as many in the crowd are well aware of the sheer carnage the band are capable of creating. Opening with the rarely played Jane Doe from the decisive album of the same name is a bold move but the intensity of the band is perfectly visible as they drop into the breakneck Dark Horse, the breakdown of which sends bodies flying down the front. Although at times their set may stray into more meandering moments it all helps to make the heavy moments sound even crushing. Unfortunately, the sound of The Descendents’ sound checking is audible through several of the band’s songs. although the band treats the interruption with admirable humour. It is only when you see the band in the flesh that you realise that every member is so musically competent they are on almost virtuosic levels. Guitarist Kurt switches between two-handed tapping and bouts of chugging with ease whilst on the drum kit Ben Koller gives a master class in blastbeats and brings his sticks down so hard on the drums he looks like he’s trying to break them open. On Last Light frontman Jacob Bannon gets down to the barrier and those at the front try and claw their way toward him to get a chance to scream into the mic. Closer Concubine may only be a minute long, but within the song is condensed such huge amounts of sheer brutality it is impossible not to have the desire to jump in the pit and start swinging your limbs. As the set ends and the crowd disperse in bewilderment and the primal aggression they have just witnessed, it is only the Swedish metal titans Meshuggah that can claim to have made such an impact.

It is up to California’s Descendents to bring the weekend to a close. Now celebrating over thirty years as a band, I initially had high hopes for the ageing four piece. However, the band puts in a frankly underwhelming set. Playing after Converge and also a case of widespread Sunday night lethargy are contributing factors. It does seem that their angst ridden thirty-or-so year old punk draws a blank with many of the crowd. After all, these are middle-aged men singing about hating your parents and the tribulations of school. Although a dedicated contingent at the front repeatedly expresses their enthusiasm, the majority seem quite content to stand idly by or wander back to their tents. Whatever the reason for the band’s underwhelming set, it means an otherwise brilliant weekend ends with a whimper instead of a bang.

Lower Than Atlantis – O2 Academy Birmingham 3 [22/1/12]

Every so often, a band comes along that makes all others seem like they should up their game. Judging by Lower Than Atlantis’ performance at the Birmingham O2 Academy, such a statement couldn’t be more applicable. Riding high on the news that they’d just sold out their first ever headline tour, the Watford four-piece delivered such a solid slab of rock-based energy, that I’m surprised the venue didn’t crash down around them.

Supporting LTA on their January tour were Marines and Sights and Sounds, both of who made a significant impact on their waiting audience. While Marines had the unenviable task of playing first (in a venue where the lighting technician seemed to be having a prolonged nap), they soon grabbed the audiences’ attention and heads were nodding in no time. Hailing from Suffolk, this Smiths-esque indie-rock outfit played a solid set of mixed tempo material that just begged for repeated-listening. While each member proved themselves to be accomplished musicians, it was vocalist Tim Hyland who stole most of my attention. Possessing a deliciously gravelly tone to his voice, Hyland was able to completely change the entire mood of a song with only a slightest of alterations in the tone or dynamics of his vocal performance. Overall, I found their set to be extremely enjoyable and rather charming, if I dare say such a word. While there proved to be a few issues with vocal pitching in places, they were soon rectified and no doubt, once some professional recordings are laid down, these small blips will be all but eliminated. Definitely a band to keep an eye on.

Canada’s ‘Sights & Sounds’ were next on the bill and quite simply blew me away. More of a showcase of musical triumph than a bog-standard support slot, one could have thought that they were to headline the evening. Providing a vocal dynamism that’d make any ‘alternative’ singer green with envy, Sights & Sounds acted as a defibrillator to a dead crowd. While they were by far the oldest performers of the evening, the Canadian quartet created atmospheres that even Lord of the Rings couldn’t replicate (for we all know, LOTR films are the atmospheric litmus test of the modern world), which they swiftly tore apart and drilled into the stage around them. Their set was heavy, delicate, fantastically layered, powerful and when necessary, simplistic and animalistic. Their sonic assault effectively grabs you by the throat from the off and is unrelenting in its barrage until the very last note. While comparisons can be drawn with groups such as Your Demise and Comeback Kid (some members of CK play in Sights & Sounds, so a comparison is rather futile in that respect), Sights & Sounds very much have an identity of their own. With an album (2009’s ‘Monolith’) readily available on the web, you’d be a fool not to own a piece of it.

While Sights & Sounds left me with my jaw on the floor, it was swiftly kicked up and crushed by the destructive force of Lower Than Atlantis’ mosh pit, which started up with impressive brutality from the very first bar of ‘If The World Was To End’. Lower Than Atlantis fans, regardless if they came in at the shoutier-than-thou, Bretton-era, Far-Q or World Record, were not to be disappointed. Armed with a well-structured set that covered all previous musical guises, they expertly blasted out recording-quality performances- covering both rabble-rousing crowd-favourites (‘I’m not Bulimic’/ ‘Beech like the Tree’) and more sentimental, slower paced album tracks (‘Another Sad Song’). Throughout the evening they showed themselves to be not only capable of championing any genre, but also professional (in every sense of the word) musicians and songwriters. While many of LTA’s lyrics are little underwhelming, their song writing talents are second to none- an enviable trait that’ll no doubt continue to shine in their already sky-rocketing career. In a very unexpected turn of events, vocalist and Twitter-grump Mike Duce paused mid-song to challenge one lucky (or unlucky, it depends on how you see it) audience member to ‘down a beer’ in under five seconds. While the young lad in question seemed to fail slightly in his endeavour, the whole stunt worked rather beautifully in stirring up an inclusive, fun, party-atmosphere; an atmosphere that lingered until the final notes of ‘Deadliest Catch’ rung out over a sweaty, breathless, battered and bruised audience. With LTA poised to release their fourth album in the coming year, one can’t help but feel that their days of playing small venues will be far behind them the second that CD hits the shelves. Lower Than Atlantis are original, accessible and damn hard working, and through that, they deserve every success in the world.