All photos by Rachael Griffiths @ Black Lotus Photography
Watching several punters searching around for the venue makes it clear that tonight’s show is a bit removed from the metal punters’ usual safe haven of Camden Town. Our venue instead is but rather at our beloved familiar, Boston Music Room. The vibe is busy but relaxed, most likely due to it being a Wednesday night, as pointed out by Bad Sign vocalist/bassist Joe Appleford during their set.
Bad Sign have become a staple of any heavy alt rock gig punter in London, supporting the likes of Arcane Roots, as well as Heck and Black Peaks in this same venue not a month ago. The band blend ballsy yet emotive rock with flourishes of technicality, not dissimilar to tonight’s headliners.
The trio has a distinctively British tone throughout the majority of their songs, rounding the sound off with huge and heavy riffs clearly inspired by the band’s love for acts like Every Time I Die and Cancer Bats, with massive sounding drums and powerful choruses also common; almost like a severely pissed off Mallory Knox. Joe’s vocal range is also notable with surprising falsetto sections that emphasise their more emotive influences. Definitely one to check out if you’re into your heavy rock with flairs of emotion.
Second on tonight’s bill are the somewhat super group, Counting Days, consisting of ex-Heights & The Hell vocalist Thomas Debaere, ex-TRC guitarist Charlie Wilson and ex-TRC drummer Lasselle Lewis and recently having recruited ex-Bring Me The Horizon guitarist Curtis Ward – but despite their collective historie,s the band manage to maintain a strong sense of the DIY feel about their composure and presentation. They instantly bring a much more upbeat approach clearly influenced by both thrash metal and hardcore.
Their energy seemed to translate to several fans in the front row who know all the chants that Thom screams out. Thrashy passages build up into big punchy riffs akin to While She Sleeps that get the majority of the now-packed room bobbing their heads at the very least. They also manage to whip up a sizeable mosh pit for their closing riff that really energises the crowd.
Having taken the year out from their intense touring schedule to focus on their personal lives, which included having to pull out of their support slot with SikTh last year, the anticipation to see Feed The Rhino’s explosive live shows again feels overdue already.
Any qualms about them gathering dust in the absence are quickly brushed off upon the first note. Blazing in with their debut album track “Caller Of The Town” sends the crowd into a frenzy and the band bounce off every inch of energy from the crowd. They are as tight ever and vocalist Lee Tobin is in top form, manipulating the crowd with chaos but chatting to the crowd between songs in a humble, relatable manner. It is clear that he’s taken notes from Frank Carter’s book in doing so, especially when throwing in his cockney sense of humour and the band match up to this by being constantly in motion throughout.
The band throw in their most recent tune “Featherweight” - whose release was accompanied by a full 360° video which one can only imagine was not the cheapest of options – which fits perfectly alongside their existing material. During the intro to “The Burning Sons” Lee manages to split the majority of the small hall in two for a wall of death which succeeds in displacing most of the audience across the room.
The well known “Tides” gets the entire room singing as heartily as it did before the band’s break. Ironically, FTR close with the opening track of their recent album “New Wave”, which features more of the band’s signature jarring guitar riffs that spark a stage invasion of crowd surfers and that concludes with the members dismantling parts of Chris Kybert’s drum kit.
Having these boys back on the live circuit is certainly worth noting and definitely something that the UK scene has missed despite it only being one year. If “Featherweight” is anything to go by for what they have in store it won’t be surprising to see them back on the big festivals next summer.