BBC Introducing In Hereford and Worcester came to the Victory Pubin Hereford on 31st January 2016. If you are not familiar with BBC Introducing….in a nutshell; local unsigned bands upload their music, the BBC crew listen, and select four bands to play a set in a local venue. They bring recording & lighting equipment, making a real show of it. The sets are then played on BBC H&W’s Introducing show, giving much needed exposure to the acts.
I popped along to see what they do, how they do it and to see a couple of bands that I’ve got into over the last twelve months from my time in Hereford Live, namely Atlas and Last Tree Squad.
It was the latter of these bands, Last Tree Squad – normally a seven piece, but tonight an eight piece dub reggae band, that kicked the event off. Front man Loftie is well known on the Hereford music scene, a man that works hard not just for his art and his comrades, but for all those making music in the city.
Last Tree Squad
The stage area at the Victory is pretty snug at the best of times, so as you can imagine getting eight on to a stage was some feat of engineering. After the introduction by Andrew Marston, the band kicked off with “We don’t want it”, which has quite a roots reggae feel to it, and a strong anti-violence message.
Last Tree Squadreally mix it up as they go through “Oh, Oh” and “Streets” before finishing up with “What you gonna do”. As you would expect with such a large band, there is loads going on in the sound, with the heavy bass lines that I love, leading the songs’ grooves.
The eighth member tonight was Jenny Frost, who sings in the Hereford Soul Choir, and brought some more depth to the vocals that was a bonus. I could go on all day about Reggae – coming from the West Midlands, bands like Steel Pulse are part of my younger days soundtrack – and what a great band Last Tree Squad are, but really you just need to look them up and go see them.
Next up were Sin Eso from Bromsgrove. A new band to me, they play a great brand of melodic metal – their band page says a “mix of romantic Rock and love Metal”, and there’s definitely some Evanescence in their style, but Toby Bowett, lead singer & guitarist, has a voice reminiscent of Ed Kowalczyk, the ex-singer from post-grunge rockers Live.
‘Eye of the Storm’ was a particularly catchy (sorry to use that awful word) track and just to prove they are their own sound, they chuck in some rap vocals from Matt J Owen, keyboard player for the band. I suspect there is a great future ahead for Sin Eso; they have a cool aura about them.
They’ve already played at the O2 Institute in Birmingham and I can’t see that being the end of it.
Thank The Academy
Third on the list were pop punk band Thank The Academy, hailing from Birmingham. Absolutely in the mould of Blink 182 and Sum 41, they have honesty, a humble nature and the fact they had just completed a four date tour of the country with Never Hill, meant they played a pretty tight set.
Love to see a bit more originality from their song-writing, there were hints of it – Navigation for example – but in a pretty busy genre scene I think they will be doing their damnedest to show they can be different from the crowd. Their EP “Navigation”, a follow-up to their debut EP “Worth A Try” is due out any minute.
Finally, local rock trio Atlas took to the stage. Well, they say rock, I say down-tuned riff chugging monster Metal. I loved their set – part Mastodon, with some Bolt Thrower guitar and a bit of James Hetfield on the vocals thrown in for a pretty full on sound.
Lots of latent menace before an all-out onslaught of grooving terror and if you listen to their album MMXV you’ll know what I mean from tracks like Breaking Under and Isolated Clone. A great end to the night.
The sets will be played on the BBC H&W Introducing show throughout February, so keep an ear out for them.