For a band hailed as rising stars by the press, Days In December‘s entrance is not encouraging. Flashing lights and sampled trip hop beats blast at deafeninglevels from the PA, forming nightmares of Linkin Parkproportions. However, ending as suddenly and sharply as it started, the London quintettake to the stage and begin what thankfully turns out to be an energetic and melody-fuelled set.
With enough high kick action to impress even Mr Miyagi, guitarist Ian Rees somewhat outdoes his band mates. With beefy growls and an unquenchable desire to tear up the stage, his efforts serve to highlight the band’s biggest deficiency – the inability of frontman Daniel Leigh to carry it all off.With retro mic in hand and dodgy handlebar bum fluff on face, the pint-sized vocalist looks just alittle unsure of himself. In six months time however, with the loss of the silly bracelets from hiswrists and a few more gigs, he will no doubt do the band justice.
The timing of their mid-set numbers is impeccable with some amazing bass lines and killer lead licks. The start-stop breakneck riffage of Calm Before The Storm leaves a rather full Underworld in rabid anticipation for Beloved (US), the first Yanks on the bill.
The hardcore five-piece have never played in the UK before, and for their first two songs it’s not hard to imagine why. An abysmal sound and noticeably poorer material than the rest of the set really doesn’t give the screamo stars much of a leg up.
To their credit I have never seen a band improve so much within the space of one set. First they drop Rise & Fall through what seems a totally remixed PA system, notably impressing the crowd. Sounding somewhat like Killswitch Engage with a sprinkling of emo, by the time they reach their finale of Death To Traitors, Ialong with the entire venue are putty in their hands. Insane double-kick rhythms beat out beneathsome awesome guitars while chief vocalist and guitarist Joshua Moore beautifully switchesbetween haunting melody and deathly screams.
Label mates Dead Poetic are surely the best supported band here judging by the swarms of adolescents sporting dyed fringes. Opening with Taste, the quintet provide many a teenage fan ample opportunity to scream along to their infectiously melodic rock. Unfortunately it’s the fans who do most of the singing from then on, as lead singer Brandon Rike’s usually soaring vocals seem completely shot and hoarse. Closing with the title track from their latest album New Medicine, Dead Poetic succeed more with their earlier material tonight and are in dire need of some Strepsils!
The Hurt Process have lost a member since last time I saw them, when they supported the mighty Norma Jean at the Underworld, but that didn’t affect their emo metal set. The Oxford-based band get off to a good start despite losing half the audience to the lure of Camden’s street life. Their set goes off with deadly precision and technical wizardry until, that is, they come out with the fatal “and here’s some new material” line. The new, much softer emo, albeit tuneful, songs simply aren’t The Hurt Process I had known and was beginning to love. Sort it out lads.