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On a very hot and sticky evening in ye olde Bristol town, The Exchange plays host to Red Seas Fire, a band which has been in and about the tech scene for a number of years now. This is the first show of a nationwide jaunt, which will fling them to all corners of this tiny rock of ours. Accompanying them on this voyage are relative unknowns Clockwork, a band who will no doubt pique a lot of curiosity once this tour wraps up.

First up are Hirondelle, who through no fault of their own sound like they’re playing inside one of those oversized Sports Direct mugs. It really makes it hard to differentiate between each layer of sound blasting you in the face, and thus the occasion is sullied a little. Undeterred however, they – the guitarists especially – make it quite enjoyable to watch.

The word ‘crabwalk’ is probably best to describe the antics that ensue: not content being confined to the tiny stage of The Exchange (or maybe because the stage literally isn’t big enough to house all six members), the action spills out into the crowd on more than one occasion. It’s a shame with the regards to sound, as for sheer entertainment value Hirondelle are head and shoulders above many of their ilk.

By the time Exilium hit the stage it’s like Mr Soundman has had a moment of clarity, and everything sounds like it should. Exilium are metalcore with sass, and this show cements their claim. Dual wielding vocalists – one guy, one gal – the band barely put a foot wrong, and if they did, it was absolutely minimal. They don’t take themselves too seriously, and in this day and age, it’s a rare and welcome trait. It’s simple: if the band are having a good time, then it permeates with the audience.

Exilium still have some work to get themselves up to the next level, but they should be able to make that leap with relative ease if tonight is anything to go by.

My body was not ready for what came next: Endeavour were so good I contemplated handing in a piece of paper covered in what can only be described as sticky white love piss, but due hygienic reasons, this will have to suffice.

If you’re into prog, at least just a tiny bit, then it may be worth taking note of a band which, a complete shock to me, have barely played outside of Bristol. Seriously, a band this good needs to be out and about.

The show itself consists of one half hair, one half prog faces, and I just realised I’ve run out of halves to use as an analogy,  but you get the gist. Endeavour are so phenomenal, it’s a struggle to find the figurative pieces of my jaw after it smashed into tiny pieces repeatedly during their set. Seriously: top drawer stuff.

Red Seas Fire’s tour buddies Clockwork were a bit of an unknown commodity before this tour, but it was pretty clear to see why they were asked to join on this merry little adventure. You like techy riffs and sheer intensity, right? Clockwork have you covered – tonight at least, anyway. They carry themselves like seasoned veterans, as tight as a gnat’s lady parts and as heavy as two planets colliding. Safe to say, they killed it.

Fronted by our very own William Young, who has the same boundless energy as a child who has ingested too may E numbers, has but one flaw: the set just isn’t long enough – or at least doesn’t seem so. That’s me just nitpicking however, as for a band just beginning to find their feet, they exceeding all expectations.

Red Seas Fire have been mainstays in the tech bubble for the past couple of years, and with Jon and Pete (bass and guitar respectively) are leaving the band once Tech Fest is all done and dusted, we expect emotion – buckets overloaded with emotion.

But it’s more a case of turn up, play, and leave; no harsh feelings there, and really it’s to be expected with journeymen like RSF. If anything, it’s one of the better times I’ve seen them, of the multiple occasions that I have, but it felt a little like they’re going through the motions.

It’s nice to see that Robin has stepped up however, nailing those clean parts; something he’d occasionally struggle with in the past, particularly come chorus time.

Although Pete will remain in the band in a studio capacity, it’s a shame that this is one of the last chances people will get to see them as they are. Nevertheless, better and brighter things await them should they continue to follow the same upward swing they have lately.