(Photo Credits: VOLCANIC ROCK PHOTOGRAPHY)
Melbourn Rock Club is a great club in a great little venue, a distance from a residential area so a location where the music can be played loud without fear of disturbing anyone. The club has been going for 37 years and is managed by Maurice McComb who is amazing. He constantly brings great bands to the club, both established and up and coming. Earlier in the day he called to inform me that the original headliners, Fragile Things, unfortunately couldn’t make the gig as their lead vocalist had been hit with a bout of tonsillitis. I wasn’t put off as I wanted to see the other two bands play having not seen them before, and I’m glad I made that decision. It was a small crowd that joined me but one that thoroughly enjoyed the bands and the evening as a whole.
First up was Elysian Divide, a metal band of four. I didn’t know what Elysian meant so I had to look it up and it seems to relate to a characteristic of heaven or paradise and divide means a separation from so very deep and meaningful and it seemed a very appropriate name for the band. The music is very heavy with loud vocals, lots of growling and fast guitar for the connoisseurs amongst you. They take their influences from Slipknot so their music is of a similar genre.
The band are from Bedfordshire and London and consist of Latvian Atashi on vocals, Jon on guitar, Leigh on drums and Anthony on bass. Atashi is the life and soul of the band. The set list included; ‘Destruction’, ‘Street Spirit’, ‘Beast’, ‘Broken Mind’, ‘Love Is War’, ‘Dead Inside’, ‘Face Behind The Mask’, ‘Devil In The Darkness’ and ‘Turning Black’. In keeping with the music, she wears a beast hat during the track with the same name. One of the fans there also had a bear mask so it was a perfect opportunity for him to sport it and Atashi came out and danced with him. She also wore a little devil mask with horns for ‘Devil In The Darkness’ which fitted the words of the song well. When she sang the ballad, ‘Dead Inside’, Atashi showed us what a wonderful voice she has as well, absolutely beautiful, I was captivated. My particular favourite was their final track which had a stronger melody and riff throughout and was a great lively song to finish with. Jon plays his quick guitar with purpose throughout the set and shows us that he is very accustomed with it. Anthony strums his bass well and Leigh knocks the drums endlessly with power. Whilst both Anthony and Jon are good musicians I would have liked to see them move about a bit and support Atashi’s energy and interactions with the fans. For me watching bands play live is as much about the performance as it is the music. I spoke to them all afterwards and all four of them are genuine and lovely and, although not the particular genre of music I regularly listen to, they were great and I’m really pleased I saw them. I was reliably informed they have their first album out in a couple of months and I will definitely be giving it a listen when it is released.
Guns of Anarchy were the main band for the night and I knew I was in for a treat when I saw two of the band swigging from wine bottles before they started. It’s exactly what I remember about rock in the 80’s, true rock! And that is exactly where their influences lie, so as well as sounding like their idols on stage they follow them off stage as well. They are a true hard rock band and from Watford consisting of Ollie on vocals and guitar, Marty on guitar, Lex on Bass and James on drums. To look at them you would think you were about to watch Motley Crew or Alice Cooper. They all have long black hair which they shake and swing throughout the whole set, an awesome spectacle. I couldn’t think who Marty reminded me of but Ollie was quick to point out it was Jack Sparrow from “Pirates of the Caribbean” for those of you who like the films. He was the spitting resemblance and even gave the looks I remember. Brilliant. All four of the band interacted well with the fans throughout the set and provided a full-blown rock performance that was awesome. I had heard reports they were a great live band, and they truly lived up to the hype. The set list had 10 tracks in all: ‘Hang ‘em High’, ‘Do or Die’, ‘Nut Bush City’ (the Tina Turner song), ‘Raise a Glass’, ‘Ain’t Gonna Change’, ‘Laying Down the Law’, ‘Cashing Cheques’, ‘Going to Brazil’ (Motorhead), ‘Gone To The Dogs’ and ‘Scream’.
The covers were good and I particularly liked the Motorhead cover which was also sung by Lex on bass. Their own songs were good, with good riffs, and hard-hitting bass and drums. Ollie’s vocals were strong, the guitars of Ollie and Marty switching lead and rhythm neat, Lex’s strumming good and James at the back on the drums very accomplished, even when one of the mics drooped down onto one of his cymbals. Even he did a bit of walking out into the fans with a drum for them to tap whilst Lex kicked the bass drum whilst playing his own bass. Both Ollie and Marty can play their guitars behind their heads which is no mean feat. I was mightily impressed with Ollie feeding Marty a glass of red wine while he was playing a solo, hardly spilt a drop!
They weren’t expecting to get called on to do an encore. Ollie had finished his bottle of red wine and said he was ready to pass out, but they did stay and do ‘Soldier of Fortune’ before he undoubtedly did pass out. Marty finished the set by coming out into the crowd and playing on top of a table, without falling off despite the volume of alcohol he had consumed.
It was a great night with two great live rock bands; both very different. Elysian Divide were a good metal band with a great lead vocalist you won’t forget and a traditional hard rock band in Guns of Anarchy shaking their long black hair and swigging wine straight from the bottles.
So, thank you to both of them and to Melbourn Rock Club and Maurice McComb. If you live in the Cambridge/Royston area why don’t you give it a try? I will certainly continue to attend as much as I can. Next up are three brilliant bands in Joanovarc, Blind River and Hollowstar on 18 November.
**PHOTOS ARE NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT THE PRIOR CONSENT OF VOLCANIC ROCK PHOTOGRAPHY (TOM BLACKBURNE-MAZE) / DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA**