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Acoda end their UK tour Upstairs @ The Garage

Acoda tour poster

It appears that since I last found myself in the smaller, upstairs room of The Garage there has been a bit of a re-fit. A fresh lick of paint on the walls, and unconfirmed rumours suggest that the PA from downstairs has been brought up here. I don’t know if they really have taken the kit from the 600 capacity room and plonked it into one a quarter of the size, but that certainly would explain why tonight’s show is potentially the loudest I’ve ever witnessed in the place.

Acoda are one of the bands that quietly impressed me during the blur of Tech Fest 14, but I hadn’t quite gotten around to checking them out further until now. Sweetening the deal further is the support being provided by two of my favourite up-and-coming bands.

First up are Brutai, and having placed them on my list of bands to watch this year, I made sure I was there in good time to see them open the show. With the PA flexing its muscles, the quintet sound beefier than I’ve ever heard them, short of their impressive main stage appearance at Euroblast last year.

Despite starting the set to a relatively sparse crowd, it fills out respectably as they play, and this crowd is treated to a performance from a band whose confidence seems to be growing with every show. They seem tighter than ever, and Felix is becoming a more assured frontman, and his vocal harmonies with keyboard player Adam increasingly successful.

New(ish) song “Relapse” consolidates the progression of the band over the last year and gives plenty of positive indicators for the material they have in the pipeline for their next release. Ending their short set with “Flood“, potentially their heaviest track, it is a punchy and invigorating start to the evening.

Fellow Londoners Exist Immortal open their set with new song “Delirium“, which will soon see the light of day on the expanded deluxe re-release of their debut album Darkness of an Age. It is slightly marred by some minor technical issues, but there is no masking of the fact it carries a big and tasty chorus.

As they storm through their set of highlights from Darkness Of An Age, it is clear that the PA really suits their brand of modern metal, and the tracks sound really thick and crunchy, with guitarists Tom and Kurt’s solos cutting through cleanly.

Vocalist Meyrick takes up his standard spot out in front of the monitor line, and makes for a commanding presence. This also frees up valuable space on the diminutive stage for Tom, Kurt and bassist David to indulge in their improbably deep headbanging and impressive array of rock-god poses that are quickly becoming their trademark. The L’Oreal endorsement can’t be far away.

Exist Immortal clearly throw everything they have into their performance, and the net result is a band that puts more effort into their last song of the evening as many of their contemporaries put into their first.

With tonight effectively serving as a bit of a warm up for a two week tour, and the re-release due shortly after that, I certainly hope that this activity helps them get the bump in profile they now patently deserve – and judging by the reaction in the room, there are few who would disagree.

And so it falls to Acoda to wrap up the night. The Corby quartet represent a bit of a change of pace from their supports, building their sound on more of a hardcore framework than a metal one, but there’s certainly no appreciable drop in energy, and some sections carry a bite that is more than a match for their more overtly heavy predecessors, buoyed by some impressive dynamics.

Their angular riffing is given a greater breadth of variety by virtue of everyone except drummer Jay handling some of the vocals, be they pleasing harmonies or lead parts, both sung and screamed. A new song is aired, drawn from their soon-to-be released album, showing particular promise and carries a really great chorus, convincing me to check it out when it drops.

The band chuck themselves into their performance with gusto – probably given an extra boost by an apparent contingent of their local fan base travelling en masse to see them. Despite the early curfew for the night, these guys are clearly in the mood to party – with at least a couple having what can only be described as a messy night. But while it does go a bit school disco by the end of the set, it’s a refreshing change to not be stood amongst a crowd of jaded Londoners, standing with their arms crossed.

At the end of the set, the security staff waste no time in clearing the venue – presumably to prepare the venue for its second shift of the evening as a nightclub, bringing the night to an abrupt end. I expect there will be an especially raucous minibus heading out of the capital shortly afterwards.

But all in, tonight is a particularly high quality showcase of three of the brightest up and coming hopes of British alternative music. With all of the bands delivering sets they can be proud of, there is much to be enthusiastic about. Good work.