10 YEARS / CHURCH GIRLS / FLORENCE BLACK - FAC251, Manchester - 08.09.18

ANNE ESTELLA

PHOTO CREDITS: SHANNON LANDERS PHOTOGRAPHY

 

I’m standing right in front of the stage at Fac-251, which was developed on the premises of Manchester’s iconic independent record label, Factory Records - a female Rock Journalist sandwiched between two brilliant and highly regarded female Photographers, in what was once a predominantly male-oriented domain - and I smile as I reflect upon how much the UK’s live music scene has changed since I first started going to gigs.

 

As is usually the case, I’m here to see the support band as much as the headliner and tonight I’m very much looking forward to seeing young Welsh Hard Rock trio FLORENCE BLACK for the first time. They enter the stage and rip into opening song, ‘Ghost’, from their 2016 debut self-titled EP. Their sound is loud and heavy and they give a full-throttle, no-nonsense performance to what should be a busier club. The 7-song set includes ‘Fiesta’ and ‘Same Again’, which are also taken from the first EP, as well as ‘The One’ and ‘Smoke’, from 2017’s EP II. Singer Tristan Thomas dedicates ‘The Ride’, from this year’s The Final EP, to Pete in the crowd, which he looks stoked about. He should be, it’s a kickass single and would have been my choice too!

 

Perry Davies on drums is sounding fierce and looking wild, as his tied-back hair is let down and sweat can be seen dripping down he and his bandmates’ arms and faces. This is exactly how a Rock concert should be – raw, untamed energy, bursting at the seams with bruising riffs, intense drumbeats and a bass that seriously threatens the foundations. The set is brought to a close with Budgie cover ‘Breadfan’ and not ‘Hasta La Vista’ as I’d anticipated. However, I’m not disappointed and judging by the crowd’s reaction, neither is anybody else. As Tristan shreds, his guitar glistens with moisture, which is testament to the physical effort alone that’s gone into the high-octane performance. At the back, Perry stands up, triumphantly holding a drumstick in the air as the song crashes to a thunderous finale.

 

Now something had caught my eye during the set. Propped up against the wall, shrouded in the darkness at the side of the stage was Fozzi’s bass case, which is personalized with the Florence Black logo at the top and had something written underneath that I was straining to read. I call Fozzi over as he grabs it and is about to walk off-stage. The wording is a quote by Gene Simmons, which reads, “The sun never goes down on Planet Cool!” A clear contender for coolest bass case ever.

 

Florence Black are:

Tristan Thomas - Vocals & Guitar

Fozzi - Bass

Perry Davies - Drums

 

Setlist:

Ghost

Fiesta

The One

Same Again

The Ride

Smoke

Breadfan

 

Links:

https://florenceblackstore.bigcartel.com/

www.florenceblack.uk
www.twitter.com/florenceblackUK
www.youtube.com/florenceblackUK
www.instagram.com/florenceblackUK
www.bit.do/FlorenceBlackSpotify

 

 

PHOTOS ARE NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT THE PRIOR CONSENT OF DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA. PLEASE DIRECT ALL MEDIA ENQUIRIES TO LINDSAY@DOWNTHEFRONTMEDIA.COM

The next band come as a complete surprise to me, and as the female singer approaches the stage, I realize that this isn’t 10 Years. We thought we were only going to be seeing two bands tonight, but a second support act was added to the bill a couple of weeks ago and that band is Indie post-Punk four-piece, CHURCH GIRLS. This is the Philadelphia-based group’s first European tour and the timing couldn’t have been better, as their new five-track record, Home, only dropped today.

 

The band’s lead singer/guitarist Mariel Beaumont looks like your quintessential all-American girl-next-door. Understated and conservatively dressed, I’m expecting a Folk Rock kind of a vibe. Her right hand man, guitarist Joseph Wright, makes a similar impression and then bassist Vince Vullo enters… Wearing a long black hooded cardigan, tight black ripped jeans and white trainers, he steps out in style with a funky, blindingly bright, hand-painted bass, unlike any I’ve seen before. If Fozzi has the coolest case, then Vince surely has the coolest bass.

 

The band delivers melodic, up-tempo tunes, rocking out emotional songs that mainly focus on relationship struggles. There is one about dating somebody who drinks too much and they play the title track of their new record, ‘Home’, which is about picking your man up from jail. At this point I can’t help but wonder how many of the songs were written from personal experience…

 

As the set progresses, the quartet, who already sound tight and cohesive, visibly loosen up, and in particular, Joseph’s personality really starts to shine through as he suddenly drops to his knees and the energy levels soar. Mariel sings a cover of The Cure’s ‘Close To Me’ but the standout track has to be penultimate song, ‘Regression’, which sounds incredible.

The set is rounded off by new single ‘Young Planes’, as Joseph, now well out of his shell and firing on all cylinders, leaps up onto the bass drum, as if he’d just conquered the world.

 

Church Girls are:

Mariel Beaumont - Lead Vocals & Guitar
Michael Liszka - Drums
Vince Vullo - Bass & Vocals
Joseph Wright - Guitar & Vocals

 

Setlist:

Glass

Black Seas

Just Like You

Close To Me

No Patience

Home

Regression

Young Planes

 

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/churchgirlsphl/

http://www.church-girls.com/

https://open.spotify.com/artist/4Lp6hXrpbIv2le9TCGi68F

https://www.instagram.com/churchgirlsphl/

https://twitter.com/churchgirlsphl

http://bit.ly/youtubeCG

https://soundcloud.com/churchgirlsphl

http://churchgirls.bandcamp.com/

 

 

PHOTOS ARE NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT THE PRIOR CONSENT OF DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA. PLEASE DIRECT ALL MEDIA ENQUIRIES TO LINDSAY@DOWNTHEFRONTMEDIA.COM

All the lights are switched off, plunging the stage into complete darkness, when Knoxville-based Hard Rock five-piece 10 YEARS come on. Singer Jesse Hasek is dressed all in black, the hood of his anorak covering his head as he walks up to the mic, reminding me of the ‘90s Indie artists that this City has become renowned for. The room has filled up and there are many 10 Years T-shirts on display. Still in darkness, the band tears into opening track ‘Halos’, from their 2017 album (how to live) AS GHOSTS. A handful of striking, single yellow lights flash at the back of the stage, giving a stark yet intimate underground feel, which sets the tone for the entire show.

 

The first song ends to huge cheers and I’m immediately impressed by the band’s solid, hard-edged sound and Jesse’s powerful vocals. The songs are quite gritty and tackle topics such as watching somebody self-destruct, for example. This band is clearly loved and as the fans become more and more vociferous, you can see Jesse light up and become even more energized - as if he’s harnessing the crowd’s enthusiasm to invigorate his performance - like a human battery.

 

The wire plugged into the mic suddenly becomes unattached – Jesse admits that he manages to do this at least once a night, but he doesn’t let it affect him and he plugs it right back in. It takes a very brave soul to attempt a cover of  ‘Heart Shaped Box’ and I almost strain my ears in disbelief when it starts, but sure enough, 10 Years are putting their own, stripped-back spin on the Nirvana classic. The energy in the room is then restored with dynamic hard-hitter ‘Shoot It Out’, which showcases some awesome drumming courtesy of brand new member Luke Narey, who made his debut with the band in London on the opening date of their UK tour.

 

A highlight for me is the last and probably most well-known 10 Years song, ‘Novacaine’, which everybody in the room is singing along to – especially that irresistibly morbid line “You're dead as dead can be…”, which is sung by children on the record, in the style of Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick In The Wall’. There are calls for “One more tune!” and the band return to the stage for an encore, Jesse joking that his American ears couldn’t quite decipher what his British fans were demanding. Once he’s figured it out, Jesse, smiling broadly, says “We’ll give you one, you definitely have fucking made our night!” In fact, we’re treated to two more songs; ‘Through The Iris’ and ‘Miscellanea’. 10 Years were absolutely superb and whilst all the musicians gave 100%, tonight was unquestionably ‘All About That Bass…’

 

10 Years are:

Jesse Hasek - Lead Vocals
Matt Wantland - Guitar
Brian Vodinh - Guitar

Chad Grennor - Bass

Luke Narey - Drums

 

Setlist:

Halos

Fix Me

Now Is The Time

Vampires

Beautiful

Burn Out

Waking Up

Catacombs

Russion Roulette

Heart Shaped Box

Shoot It Out

Wasteland

Novacaine

Through The Iris (encore)

Miscellanea (encore)

 

Links:

https://www.10yearsmusic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/10yearsmusic/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfZE-ZIx11-4ZRb2SnSoFDw

https://twitter.com/10years

https://www.instagram.com/10yearsmusic/?hl=en

https://www.snapchat.com/add/tenyearsmusic

 

 

PHOTOS ARE NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT THE PRIOR CONSENT OF DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA. PLEASE DIRECT ALL MEDIA ENQUIRIES TO LINDSAY@DOWNTHEFRONTMEDIA.COM

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