It’s Friday night and The Lounge in Archway is the place to be for another packed bill of young, up and coming rock and metal bands.
Kicking the evening off at the early hour of 19.45, Fragile Things start off with hard riffs and enough energy to get the small crowd on its feet. They're a lean hard rocking four piece who don't mess around. With pounding drums and a riff that reminds me of classic Rage Against The Machine, ‘The Big Reveal’ is a standout track - hard rock with force and just enough bounce to get everyone moving.
The lead single ‘Disappear’ from their forthcoming EP Echo Chambers, is a clear mid tempo number which really showcases singer Richie Hevanz’s strong voice.
"Do you want to give me a beat of some description?" frontman Richie Hevanz asks drummer Hugo ‘Wolfman’ Bowman. He willing obliges, with a tight beat kicking in. Bringing up Chris from Fahran on to the stage to help out on guitar, their final song ‘Broken Sun’, from their debut EP of the same name, is the one that sounds closest to Heaven’s Basement, but Fragile Things have enough of their own style so that nothing sounds like a copy of former work.
Fragile Things are:
Richie Hevanz - Vocals
Mark Hanlon - Guitar
Hugo 'Wolfman' Bowman - Drums
Steve Lathwell - Bass
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Next up are Cumbrian based sleaze rockers Falling Red.
They kick off in true punk rock style - loud and fast. With its chunky guitar riff and gang-vocal chorus, ‘We escaped A Cult’ sounds like an old fashioned mix of one part Motley Crüe and two parts Theory Of A Deadman - full of good hooks and gritty guitar.
After warming the crowd up, Falling Red play their fair share of new material too; “Off the new album, this is called ‘Dead’” vocalist Rozey declares before a machine gun roll of drums from Dave
Sanders kicks off another pounding race of a song. The punk pace thankfully slows down for a bluesy guitar solo.
“This is for you guys – it’s called ‘Come On Down’”. The polished sleaze isn’t that far off from Buckcherry – it’s a solid track even though the chorus veers a bit too close to pop-punk for me. It seems that sometimes Falling Red drift a little bit too far with their sound to the point they can sound unfocused. I’m all for blending different genres but I find some songs more engaging than others.
“This one is dedicated to everyone who loves or hates their home town!”; taking a totally different turn into almost Puddle Of Mud territory with ‘My town, My City’ which gets the best reaction of their entire set, sending the small but passionate crowd jumping up and down before forming a small kick-line in the middle of the Lounge dance floor!
The band cut a fairly hard rock image on stage but at times their dissatisfaction with the smaller than average crowd shows through, for example telling some crowd members off for sitting down during the fast numbers. Nearing the end of their set with the straight ahead rocker ‘Disposable’, the band end with the rather brilliantly scuzzy punk of ‘If You Ain't Down With The Rock, You Can F*ck Right Off!’ Although they are not my favourite band of the evening , Falling Red still leave the crowd satisfied.
Falling Red are:
Rozey - Lead vocals and guitar
Dave Sanders - Drums and vocals
Mikey Lawless - Bass and vocals
Shane Kirk - Guitar and vocals
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The clock strikes 10 and the crowd collectively drifts back in from the sizable bar to come watch the band at the top of the bill and indeed the reason most people are here - Fahran.
Coming full force out of the gate, Fahran are impressive from the start. With their dual guitars and powerful vocals there is nothing muddy or half hearted here.
Drummer JR Fahran is a truly terrific mix of force and groove - imagine a mix of Taylor Hawkins and Keith Moon and you’re about right! When you combine that with a mean duel guitar mix and songs like ‘A Thousand Nights’, Fahran sound like they could easily suit a much larger stage - a thoroughly modern hard rock band.
“How Many people have seen us before?” frontman Matt Black asks the crowd - most of them are first timers. With a good chunk of their all too brief 50 minute set dedicated to songs from 2014a ‘Chasing Hours’, Fahran work the crowd as hard as they can without falling over!
Guitarists Chris Byrne and Jake Graham show a clever understanding of light and shade, from locking into ferocious twin guitar attack to easing into the ultra melodic these guys are nothing if not consistent!
‘Some Kind Of Family’ gives frontman Matt Black more than enough room to breathe. Followed by the first single from their new album ‘State of Mind’, which shows a nuanced sound, with lightly tapping guitars and smooth verses that pull the crowd in before JR Fahran comes smashing down on his drums yet again.
Closing the evening with the modern metal meets post-grunge of ‘Ashes’ Fahran exit the stage having won more than fair number of new fans. If tonight’s performance is anything to go by then we should expect some exciting things from these guys.
Matt Black - Lead Vocals
Jake Graham - Lead Guitar
Joshua Ballantyne - Bass Guitar
Chris Byrne - Lead Guitar
JR Fahran - Drums
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