PHOENIX CALLING with support from  DAVE MCPHERSON / MALONE / THE CALDERA EFFECT - O2 Academy 3  Birmingham 01.12.17

SAMANTHA LLOYD

(Photo Credits: Samantha Lloyd Photography)

 

The final show of Phoenix Calling’s eight-night UK Tour to celebrate the launch of their sophomore album ‘Our Lost Hearts’ comes to an end at the O2 Academy3 in Birmingham, hosted by the Catapult Club where Samantha Lloyd set out to catch the Brit Rockers in action.

 

Phoenix Calling are an awesome band. Their new album ‘Our Lost Hearts’ was released 17th November and straight away the guys got on the road, both to promote and hopefully capture the loyalty of some new fans, supported by Dave McPherson (InMe), and tonight by Malone and The Caldera Effect - 2 local bands that I haven’t seen before.

Entering the O2 Academy3 I’m shocked to see that there’s very few people around, however, it’s not surprising as the main room at the O2 Academy is being graced with a performance tonight from Good Charlotte. No guessing where everyone is tonight!

 

The first support band is The Caldera Effect, an alternative rock band from Birmingham. They take to the stage and they are very much in the spirit of Christmas, donning their Christmas jumpers and looking very festive indeed. They play a six song set of original tracks all of which have heavy drums and good riffs. Kicking off with ‘Reservoir’, a heavy track full of rhythm, Tim (vocals and guitar) has strong, clear vocals and makes a great front man, continually talking to the audience in between songs.

 

Their sound is tight throughout and their presence on the stage oozes a charisma despite them only being together a short time. ‘And It Came From Within (Winston)’ was my favourite track of their set, the energy and overall upbeat feel to the track really caught my attention.

 

Keep your ears to the ground for these guys, great performance and just loved the festive jumpers!

 

The Caldera Effect are:

Tim – Vocals / guitar

Jack – Guitar / vocals

Jim – Bass

Chris – Drums / vocals

 

Set list:

Reservoir

Tales

And It Came From Within (Winston)

Bodies

Walking Away

Medusa

 

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Next up is another local band Malone. The trio exude a cool stage presence, displaying their hard rock sound as well as the traditional rock image of leather jacket clad Matt Malone whose vocals are clear and strong throughout their set.

 

Malone displays energetic and immersing tracks, full of great hooks and pounding drums but their performance was hindered by the lack of a bass player as this would have, in my opinion, added more depth to their sound. Nevertheless, they produce a great performance, Matt taking to his knees at one point while Pete stands in front of him, their duel guitar riffs adding an interesting buzz of energy to the evening. A good set from Malone tonight.

 

Find out more about Malone on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/malonerocks/

Or on their Website: https://www.malonerocks.com/

 

Malone are:

Matt Malone – Vocals / guitar

Pete Murphy – guitar

Marcus ‘Big Mac’ Williams – drums

 

Set List

No more

In Situ

Story

Born Ready

It happens to the best of us

Opposites

Startline

 

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When Dave McPherson hussles into the Academy3 at 8:20pm, I have to admit I was a little relieved. I’d been looking forward to catching his set all evening but delays on the trains meant he didn’t land in Birmingham until much later than expected and had to hot-tail it to the venue. I was lucky enough to see him perform at Subterranean Festival in Cambridge on September 23rd this year and he was playing an acoustic set in the foyer. There was so much going on that day that I never really got chance to appreciate his set properly so tonight was a chance for me to really take notice and enjoy it.

 

He hurriedly takes to the stage after the quickest check I’ve ever seen and before you know it, he throws us into ‘The Domestic Accident’. His acoustic performance of one man and his guitar goes down a treat, with the audience stepping closer to the barrier for the first time this evening. His vocals are amazing and he churns out some amazing acoustic riffs on his guitar, though it appears a tad bit beat up with two huge scratches that seem to add to the authentic feel of his performance. ‘Spring: Hearts Need Blood’ is next and it’s an emotionally charged song, delivered with Dave’s signature clear vocals as they flutter through the most immense range I’ve heard.

 

‘Turbulence’ explodes from the guitar with an intensity that is matched by Dave’s vocals, hard and urgent. Love this song taken from his time with the band InMe, his vocals soaring then dipping, then returning to really thump home the chorus. Awesome song! A member of the audience calls out “Play Something Bad!” to which Dave replies “It’s all bad!” the audience laughs and Dave does too before introducing the next song ‘Something Bad’. Well, if you don’t ask you don’t get, right? Bad it certainly is not, it’s a great track delivered amidst the cheer of the audience who really appreciate his music.

 

‘If Only You Knew’ and ‘Snowball’ contain some of the most poignant and heartfelt lyrics I’ve heard and I just adore how he delivers every lyric with so much angst and emotional torment, his whole performance is so moving. He finishes up his set with ‘Faster The Chase’, another song from InMe. His set was much too short and I could have listened to him perform all night. He was great.

 

For more information you can check out his Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/davemcphersonmusic/  Or on the InMe Website at: https://inmeofficial.co.uk/

 

Set List:

The Domestic Accident

Spring: Hearts Need Blood

Turbulence

Something Bad

If Only You Knew

Snowball

Faster The Chase

 

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Phoenix Calling, the headliners this evening are a 5 piece Brit Rock band from Cambridgeshire, UK. Their intro music kicks in, the lights go a little crazy and I’m just glad I’m not epileptic. The 5 guys enter the stage and take their places, Steven Chapman, vocals and front man is last onto the stage, he picks up the mic and walks the length of the stage amidst the cheers that ensue from the audience. The intro leads straight into ‘Hold On To Glory’ from their debut album Forget Your Ghosts. It’s a great opener for their set, full of raw energy that concludes with a huge cheer from the crowd.

 

Steven addresses the audience stating, “We’ve been literally the length of the country and it all finishes here tonight in Birmingham. So let’s have some fun shall we? This is ‘Traces’”. It’s a high energy track with bouncy beats and catchy lyrics. Steven is bouncing around the stage, his foot up on the monitor, Dom is jamming away and providing the harmonies, which sound awesome while new kid on the block Luke Green bashes away on the drums. The crowd once again respond with a cheer.

 

“We’ve recently released our new album,” says Steven addressing the audience who let out a big cheer, “This is the first song on the new album, this is ‘Atlas’”. Now I’m all for the heavier side of what Phoenix Calling can offer to their fan base, and this one starts out with a real heavy intro, the bass and lead guitar layered heavy throughout. (‘Sins and Thieves’ is also one of the heavier songs on the album but unfortunately tonight we don’t get the live version). It’s an immense track and Steven is already sweating, I can see the thin layer of perspiration across his face.

 

The first single from the new album ‘Rescue Me’ is played next and it’s a strong track, again Steven’s vocals shine through, and the crowd are loving it! ‘Awakening’, a filler intro track, with its catchy “woah woah woh woh’s” builds into the next track ‘Bring the Roof Down’ which quite literally seems like it just might. Steven is bouncing about the stage like a kid on a pogo stick, Jason and Martyn remain quite stationary concentrating on their instruments yet Martyn is smiling, and Dom is cheekily bobbing his tongue out while smiling and Luke is battering the drum kit for all it’s worth. Huge amounts of energy all round from the Phoenix Calling boys and I’m thoroughly enjoying every minute so far.
 

My favourite single from the album ‘Time Runs Out’ fills the room, the easily recognisable soft lyrical intro that leads into a heavy beat from Luke on the drums. I love this track, it has the same catchy chorus that all of their songs seem to comprise of, the easy sing along type that really grabs your attention and stays in your head for hours afterwards. Unfortunately, some technical difficulties hinder the track and the microphone decides it just doesn’t want to play anymore. Maybe it just couldn’t cope with the vocal display from Steven…? He’s checking cables and his mic, the whole time the rest of the band remain professional and carry on with the track. A quick snatch of Dom’s mic means the song carries on and despite the technical hitch, I still enjoyed it. After a thank you to Chelsea for running the merch stand, a thank you to the fans that travelled 4 hours to be here tonight and a huge thank you to the support bands that came here tonight they finish up their set with ‘Still We Wait’ from the Forget Your Ghosts album.

 

The only thing that disappointed me tonight was the lack of a huge audience to give these guys the best last night of their tour. They have been amazing tonight, the laughing, the audience interaction, the stage presence and generally just awesome attitude that they display both on and off the stage make Phoenix Calling one of the nicest bands I’ve met.

 

People, you really need to get out and support live music more. These guys aren’t going to be playing the small venues forever; they deserve arena size crowds and the atmosphere that goes with that. Check these guys out next time they come around your area. They are awesome and I’m really looking forward to what the future has in store for them.
 

After the gig I caught up with Steven Chapman. To read the full interview please click here.

Alternatively, catch up with them on the following links:

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/phoenixcalling/

Website: https://www.phoenixcalling.com/

 

Set List:

Hold On To Glory

Traces

Atlas

Rescue Me

Awakening

Bring The Roof Down

Lose This

Time Runs Out

Still We Wait

 

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