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It’s a little quiet as Rolo Tomassi come on stage, and it seems that the majority of the audience that are here so early have come from school, not work. Which is a real shame, as a band like Rolo are really wasted on these kids, with epic soundscapes, insanely technical guitar work, brutal screaming, and pure un-tamed ferocity this band put in more energy than all the kids in the room together.

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Eva Spencer is a true darling to look at, but looks are deceiving – “Like watching a kitten bite the head off a Rottweiler” says a certain Mr Gerrard. They play such technical music, and so tightly, even when bits fall of the drum-kit the band know what to do, it’s truly astonishing. The fingers of the guitar are a blur for most of the night as he taps and shreds his fretboard. It’s just a shame the audience is too young to really appreciate a band like this.

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Up next are the southern rock influenced metal troupe, Every Time I Die, who really get the crowd warmed up. The pit opens as they walk on stage and it all kicks off with the first chord, oddly though the pit is too big for the diminished crowd so it all seems rather sparse and tame. Not so on stage however, as the band brings chugging chords and some great rhythmic metal to the ears of the kids.

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While the vocalist seems to struggle with the clean vocals, his aggressive growl still packs a dirty punch. The band play a solid set of heavy rock and the audience seem to enjoy it, but for this reviewer there’s nothing special going on. Good, but not great.

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The room has really filled out by the time Gallows hit the stage, and it’s clear from the cheer that goes up that only one band matters tonight. The pit re-opens and the kids get started, but with Gallows playing their songs from new album Grey Britain there’s a lack of enthusiasm, and a slight feeling of ennui in the crowd. Frank Carter may be suffering from swine flu, but his nature is not subdued, his responses to heckling are crude London genius, and raise a smile from most (except perhaps the target of his retorts) but it’s clear his voice is suffering throughout the set.

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The few songs from Orchestra of Wolves that are played go down amazingly well, it must be disheartening for the band to see audiences react so much better to their old songs. The band still have it in them to inspire anarchy though, encouraging the crowd to circle pit right around the sound desk was a visual highlight, as was the amount of shoes left behind after the show.

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The final spectacle was seeing the lead singer of Birmingham punk outfit (whose name I have forgotten) taking over from Frank for a song, surprising that a man so proud of his band would relinquish his position so easily. Overall the band play a tight set and the crowd react well, but it is clear that the new album hasn’t got quite the punch of Orchestra and as such things aren’t quite what they used to be.

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Review – Terra Duff
Photos – Steve Gerrard

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