Kicking things off at the Crowndale tonight are alternative rock group Brightlight City. Their set is certainly better than one expects from the opening band of a small gig – that is, when their instruments are working at least. It does feel like they need to develop their style into something more unique, as it does not produce anything striking enough to stick in the mind. They certainly demonstrate clear talent though; we look forward to seeing them develop.
Second to take the stage are The Guts, and one could not fail to notice their set. Two of their members take to the floor, constantly moving, jumping on sofas, knocking microphone stands over. Their style matches their actions; it could be quite accurately described as something like Korn mixed with System Of A Down on speed. Their vigour is impressive, but could make things seem a bit haphazard at times. It’s not altogether clear who the lead singer is, and feels a little like anyone who can scream is given a microphone – with three of them going simultaneously at times. The performance is certainly memorable, and appears to appeal to their niche in the crowd.
Playing their first set in London tonight are Welsh female-fronted post-hardcore band Dream State. They instantly have a noticeable amount of stage presence. Lead singer Charlotte puts enough energy into her performance to draw the attention of the crowd without being overpowering. Her powerful harsh vocals are striking, and are well matched with equally talented backing vocalist Sam. The crowd give an increasingly enthusiastic reaction after every song played, with some standout ones being Rebuild, Recreate and Relentless. We certainly hope to see them return to London again.
Headlining are Leeds alt/pop-rock band Vexxes, who are making the round trip to London and back in one day just to play this show. Their sound is more relaxed than the previous bands, making for a nice variety in tempo throughout the night. They could perhaps do with a little more enthusiasm in their movements – when lead singer Tom enters the crowd it feels a little more like he is aimlessly wandering around the room – but their overall set is pleasing. They produce some catchy hooks and intricate riffs from songs such as Everything I’ve Ever Known and Lead Us Home. Plus we certainly approve of any band whose merchandise stall has a banner saying ‘Fuck Trump’.