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You can’t have blamed Lockin for what can only be described as an awkward start; Wakefield’s thousand capacity venue wasn’t exactly buzzing with activity from the word go. With some in the cloakroom, some at the bar, some at the back and many yet to arrive this left the vibe at the front of the room hanging as limply as your average pub gig. Baring that in mind Lockin’s rough-around-the-edges thrash stood defiantly against the mood; the tracks gradually became increasingly more intense while the band seemed similarly more confident. Things were set to improve towards the end as we were treated to a song with a fantastic lengthy instrumental intro, living as proof that this 3-piece from Castleford could pack a powerful punch. From some particular gruff, but not grunting, style vocals (along with the occasional “YEAH!”) to the catchy, no-nonsense, rolling riffs you could be forgiven for being reminded of an early Metallica. Further cementing this idea came in the form of final song, and their most recent demo, ‘Black Horizon’, which appears to start as a carefully planned attack but transforms into an all-out assault on your ears. An engaging start from Lockin for a good few of us in the room but as it becomes apparent that many in the crowd are wearing some pretty nice Athens shirts I could tell the next group wouldn’t need to try quite as hard to win over the room.
Thursday 13th January 2011
Black Flag in Wakefield, UK
Reviews & Photography by Nicholas Dishington
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From the confident way Athens take to the stage, with their appearance and aforementioned impressive merch, you couldn’t be blamed for thinking that this 5-piece were a well established American act. In reality they’re a local, unsigned band…but, like I say, you couldn’t tell. Their punky sound came across much more aggressively than on their recordings which is by no means a bad thing. However, one thing that was lost in translation in the performance was the vocals. Thinking back, Lockin’s vocals weren’t that clear either and Athens’ vocalist Martin Robinson’s best efforts are also overshadowed by the same fuzzy sound, rendering the lyrics almost completely unintelligible. Saying that, it’s surprisingly easy enough to get over as it’s not exactly hard to be charmed by Athens’ buoyant musical style. A spattering of nodding heads here and there round the room lifted the mood somewhat but I personally felt Athens deserved more. While they’re not exactly original they borrow from the best in their field and I wouldn’t be surprised if this band went on to bigger things.
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As far as openings go I’m sure I’m not the only metal gig-goer who’s become accustomed to some flamboyant orchestral piece to start a show, so imagine my surprise when tonight’s headliners took to the stage to an intro more dance than epic. It was definitely odd (not to mention a refreshing change) but the first few notes of ‘Underdose’ quickly put paid to any strange notion I had that this band had gone strange on us. In fact, as they played I was taken aback by quite how rough and gritty they sounded, with far more power than on any of their records. InMe never really struck me as a moshing sort of band but I was surprised yet again tonight, this time by the crowd’s energy, especially when a wall of death during ‘Ferocity of Desire’ had a good portion of the now thankfully larger crowd involved. Whilst InMe continued to play with an unexpected intensity and seriousness this was broken, but definitely complemented by, vocalist/guitarist Dave McPherson having a cheeky little chat with the audience between every song. With heavier songs like ‘Just a Glimpse’ and ‘Raindrops on Stones’ making up the first half, the ballad ‘All Terrain Vehicle’ was a welcome little interlude. Getting back to business, ‘Cracking the Whip’ and ‘Nova Armada’ raise the mood before McPherson announced the next song to be the last…so long as you ignore the four encore songs that follow. This cheeky attitude shone through the entire show and even though he apologises for the often terrible jokes, they’re a nice little addition - I’d much rather have someone gabble on than stay silent for the whole show. The finale of ‘Faster the Chase’ provided a great anthemic end to the evening with everyone shouting the chorus in unison. A lovely moment of tonight’s gig and a fitting end to the show.
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