Tonight’s bill at The Exchange offered an unusual selection of bands – a trio of trios! Headliners Raveneye, along with SKAM and IDestroy.
First up, almost as soon as the doors opened, was IDestroy, the local band chosen to start the evening off. Led by Bec Jevons, the all female party punk band did a great job of bringing people from the bar to the stage. The set was short, but full of energy and catchy tunes that the crowd loved. Bassist Becky Baldwin (Check out her CV on Facebook. This is one lady whose life is her music) played some sensational basslines, and behind her, drummer Jen Haneef delivered some intricate, almost delicate rhythms that were an intriguing contrast to the usual “bash-the-heck-out-of-them” style of a lot of young drummers. A brief set of six songs, the highlight of which, for me, was new song “Lemons”, with it’s in-your-face bass intro, punky vocals, and sing along chorus. “Annie”, the set opener, also grabbed the attention, reminding me a lot of 4 Non Blondes at their catchiest.
Next, a band I have been wanting to see for ages, as they keep popping up in my Facebook feed, courtesy of other ‘togs and reviewers in the area, SKAM. I wasn’t disappointed! Coupling some classic British Rock sounds with great stage presence, the guys certainly gave Raveneye a run for their money in terms of crowd appreciation. Guitarist /vocalist Steve Hill has a deliciously raw guitar sound, and provides a fulcrum around which bassist Matt Gilmore poses, gurns, and entertains. Eyes rolled back in his head as he ripped out rhythms, he was certainly an eye catching performer. To successfully fill a sound stage with just three people, you need both rhythmic and vocal back up, and drummer Neal Hill provided that in abundance. Opening with “Between The Eyes”, their set featured three songs from current album “The Amazing Memoirs Of Geoffrey Goddard” (“a concept album about a spitfire pilot – no really!” Says Hill), as well as older tracks such as the glorious rocker “No Lies” and set closer, the atmospheric “Massacre”. I can see why my Facebook world love SKAM so much. Stage presence, song writing and musical ability, all coming together in a wonderfully enjoyable set.
This is Raveneye’s first tour at the top of the bill, and from the first song it is clear that they have made that leap in style. Opening with “Hate”, the sound is massive. How on earth three people make such a complex sound is a mystery. Oli Brown switches between complex lead riffs and powerful vocals with ease, bassist Aaron Spiers is everywhere on stage, the speed of his rhythm lines mesmerising, whilst drummer Adam Breeze seems to be as happy standing on his kit as he is sat behind it. With “Come With Me”, the energy level rises further, then the sound fills out with “Inside”. Three songs in, and we are being given a tour of latest album “Nova”. It’s the energy that is infectious. All three musicians are everywhere. At one point, Spiers wanders off the side of the stage, and before anyone realises what is happening, Brown leaps on his shoulders and the two of them go for a tour of the crowd, still playing for all they are worth.
“Madeline” is another highlight of the set, with more massive guitar and bass sounds. Brown teases snippets of his past, with little interludes of delicious blues guitar that leave you drooling, before kicking back into the power. It’s a mesmerising show, with all three playing their hearts out whilst seeming to be having the time of their lives, swapping places, standing on the drums, machine gunning the crowd, and smiling like they wouldn’t want to be anywhere else doing anything else. We get contrast too. Raveneye dig out acoustic guitars for “Eternity” in a total change of pace and energy. Brown’s disdain for music industry gimmicks is clear when he announces that they wouldn’t be leaving the stage to return for an encore. Raveneye were just going to stay right where they were and play their music until they reached the end of the set. Kicking straight into the speed and power of “Hero”, they take things even higher. This is a song that is catchy enough on a phone or speaker, but live it is something else, and is the song above all others that shows just where Raveneye’s potential lies. “Turn The Lights Out” takes us into the last song, “You Got It”, with it’s massive intro of synchronised bass and lead lines, followed by bluesy vocals and Brown telling the crowd that they were going to give Spiers a bucket list moment by giving him his first crowd surf experience – a challenge they rise to unexpectedly well, carrying him right to the back of the venue and forward to the stage again, where he battered the strings of his bass in celebration.
I love evenings like this. The simplicity of three piece bands. The purity of guitar, bass and a drums, but also the variety of sound and song that can be produced from those basic building blocks, from pop punk, to rock, to blues. As for Raveneye? I left feeling I had been part of the ascent of something exciting.
Full list of remaining live dates available on the official Raveneye Facebook.
Review and images – Rob Wilkins