Patriot Rebel – Propaganda review

Last week mark the release of the new single from Nottingham’s own Patriot Rebel. Since the current five-piece line up came together in 2011, they’ve been sharing stages with the likes of Tesseract, Jettblack and Skarlett Riot, as well as selling out hometown landmark Rock City. 2013 saw the band hit the studio with Matt Elliss (Black Spiders, Terrorvision) and record their Two Worlds EP which racked up acclaim in national press, and now they’re back with new single Propaganda and a forthcoming release in the works.

From the storming riffs that open the single, it’s apparent that they’ve done a good job of encompassing their live show in their recorded sound. As the four minute song unwinds, epic, stadium-worthy vocals take the forefront of the track, whilst lead guitar continues to dazzle in the most compelling manner. Cascades of percussion pump the track further, and by the time it winds to a close there’s left an exhilarating feeling of having been blasted by a huge water pistol.

You can see the video premiere here.

E of E at Rock City, Nottingham

Last month we checked out the new single from rock quintet E of E, who’re currently on tour with metallers Glamour of the Kill. The tour made it’s way to Nottingham’s Rock City Basement last night, and we headed down to see if the outfit lived up to the high standards they’d set with Stars In Hollywood (which you can check out below). They head to Gloucester’s Guildhall tonight for the penultimate dates of the tour, before winding things up tomorrow in Milton Keynes at Crauford Arms – these are shows definitely worth making.

Having previously been on tour with the likes of The Vamps and McBusted, the band had all the power to take on a crowd of thousands, and the arena mannerisms were aptly transferred to the lively basement of Rock City. This highbrow experience allowed the band to make the most of the show, absolutely smashing their set and winning the crowd over with their infectious hooks and captivating energy, not put off by being on the lighter end of the rock scale to a room of metal fans.

Vocalist Tom Harris leads the band’s enthusiasm, dancing along to the tracks like a teenager in their bedroom with music on full blast, and the rest of the band follow suit, clambering over speakers to take their music to the literal extremes of the show. Despite the fantastic stage presence the band have among their dancing and energy, they don’t lose how tight their sound is, Tom’s vocals cutting neatly through the percussion driven show to give the audience something strong to sing along to.

Stars In Hollywood and closing Waiting For Olivia are the real stand out tracks of the set, and they show clearly that every song they write has the potential to be a single, each as well executed and addictive as the last. The band managed to strike up a fantastic mix of honest, home grown rock material, written themselves and toured hard to reach the masses with, and the sort of act who’ve the the money and luck to get the equipment and experience to perfect their show.

Imagine a radio boy band, the likes of McFly or Busted (when they were two separate bands – am I getting old now?), filled with catchy hooks and pumped up choruses, with all the rock sensibilities of the likes of Mallory Knox. If you mashed up Busted, All American Rejects, Boys Like Girls and All Time Low, you’d be pretty much hitting the spot with their punchy, fun sound.

Layby at Rock City, Nottingham

Seemingly every year, Rock City host a line up of local bands to tear the roof of the venue in celebration of Christmas (you can check out the review of last year’s show here). For the 2014 round of this, alternative rockers Lacey were joined with support from Cut The Heroics and openers Layby – who proceeded to tear up the show. The Nottingham pop-punk quintet let us have a sneaky listen to their upcoming single, Chronic, off their second EP, which we checked out here, and several months ago we gave a few words on their acoustic show at Nottingham’s Macmillan Fest. Before last night’s show we had a chance to catch up with the band, and you’ll be able to check out the interview tomorrow.

The night kicked off with punchy vocals from frontman Aaron Bowes, clear cut above the backing of the track. These vocals (at moments Enter Shikari-esque in their ferocity and harshness) starkly juxtaposed the musical backdrop of the show (as pop-punk as the likes of Neck Deep), so it’s not hard to see why even the band seem slightly confused about their genre – they’ll be discussing that in the interview, tomorrow. Closing the night with new track, Chronic, it’s not hard to see how they’ve grown since the band just over a year ago, their new work performed with more confidence and enough force to knock you sideways.

People say The Beatles got their fame and refined show from touring constantly for weeks, and practising more at live shows than in rehearsal rooms, and it worked for them. Though Layby have only been a band since November 2013, perhaps they could do with the same harsh treatment to tighten moments up a bit; More Than This had Aaron’s voice breaking, instrumental was too loose and hectic on occasion, and more than one note fell flat.

To say Layby were commencing the night, the five piece were working with a surprisingly full room, albeit not necessarily an enthusiastic. As my guest for the night so aptly said, “there’s nothing more awkward than watching a band try to get an audience to do something… and them not doing it.” Despite the second hand embarrassment lying in the room after the hundred or so crowd turned down the request of a circle pit (though I’ve never seen a circle pit in an opening act), they were willing enough to clap along and even had people singing along.

Frontman Aaron threw all he had into the show, and what they lacked in technical accuracy, they made up for in resilient passion, though it’d have been good to see more of the band less static. It was hard not to get caught up in the enthusiasm of the show, though, and with some refining they’ve the potential to be one of Nottingham’s “must see” acts.

Lower Than Atlantis at Rock City Basement, Nottingham

LTA blurred crowd shotLower Than Atlantis might have been away for over a year after leaving their previous record label, but there’s no mistaking the fact that they are back with full force. At the start of June, the four-piece announced a return to music, with a new single, album, tour, merch line… and so far, everything seems to be up to scratch.

“Distance makes the heart grow fonder” clearly prevails over “out of sight and out of mind” if we’re speaking in cliches about the gig, because the months worth of suppressed excitement from the fans had them on the edge of their (metaphorical) seats as soon as the four-piece stepped on stage. Before they’d barely picked up their instruments, chants of “LTA!” opened the set, and it didn’t take an expert to pick up on the electricity in the room for the long-awaited set – or the potential for things to get a bit wild. Despite the rowdy enthusiasm that radiated off the pit of bodies, the instrumental that broke in opener and newest single, Here We Go, took control of the show, with Mike’s (Duce, the band’s frontman) vocals cutting through the chanting crowd.

If The World Was To End highlighted the manic energy the crowd were willing to contribute, and the power they provided almost rendered not only Mike useless, but with the majority of the percussion provided by clapping, Eddy (Thrower, drums) seems a little excess. When the music dropped away, the band closeness was forefronted in just how tight the music sounded, with the instrumental standing for itself. Without a pause for breath, the set plunged into Love Someone Else, with the sound all but engulfing the room, and the blinding light show that accompanied the set made for an even tighter image.

High At Five was one of the few track were the vocals were really lost – be it through the crowd taking control or Mike simply needing a break it was almost impossible to tell, but by the time the chorus came around again, the band had pulled back the power of the night. The next song provided layered vocals that added a texture to the live show, but whether or not the crowd were bothered by these powerful intricacies is anyone’s guess; between the chants of “down it!” in response to every vodka coke the band were offered and the circle pit that ensued part way through, I doubt anyone would have cared if the levels were off for a bit or the vocals lost on a few lines. The room turned into a massive party, and the off-the-wall zest made it hectic, sweaty, and downright awesome.

Ground shaking bass and strobe lighting made the crowd surfing all the more chaotic, and though the crowd calmed a bit for new track, English Kids In America, it wasn’t by much. From the opening of the track, the more electronic edge prevailed, with the percussion work that drove the song and anthemic vocals making it an instant hit. A powerful middle eight made a clear point of the track being a single, undoubtedly showing a lot of promise for the upcoming self-titled album, out later this year.

“This song’s about a dickhead girl, anyone know any of them?”, Mike opens Someone Better Came Along with, at which point the crowd went insane. Despite the rowdy crowd joining in (probably agreeing with the opening question), this proved to be one of the vocally strongest. At the close of this track, he took the opportunity to thank the supports – Decade and Yearbook – describing them as “two of my favourite UK bands at the moment”.

“Is everyone having a good time? Yeah, I’m about to change that”, but no one seemed to fussed, and any fan would know what was coming next. Widely regarded as the band’s most successful song, and hailing from several years and a couple of albums ago, it’s no surprise they’re deciding to re-release Another Sad Song, and why for many it was the highlight of the night. From the understated guitar that opened the track, it was obviously bound to be a bit of  tear-jerker all round. Despite the crowds protesting attempts to control the vocals, Mike rose above and the sheer volume of the music filled out the space, swallowing any audience-participation with it. Come the repeat of the chorus, though, and the band dropped away entirely. Playing to a sold out venue of a few hundred, with them carrying the song as well as did was enough to move the hardest of hearts, and the band made no attempt to cover how moved they were by the response – who wouldn’t be?

The closing three songs brought the energy back into the room, full velocity. Taking a short break before the penultimate song, Mike declares that although he promised himself he wouldn’t say it because of the political correctness associated with becoming a bigger band, it’s “all about the artist and the fans” – if the fans didn’t buy the music, it wouldn’t be made, in effect who the hell cares about reviews if the fans like it? He’s known for always being outspoken and not sucking up to anyone to get anywhere, and as always, you can’t help but respect him for it.

As the set came to its close, the lighting became as wild as the pits, with Mike in the crowd and the fans losing it all – “crazy” did the show no justice.

The band continue their UK tour, before playing Reading and Leeds this summer, and releasing their self-titled album later this year.