Gig Review by Kirsty Hillyer with Gig Photos by Lee Allen

I am the avalanche  (8 of 22)

As soon as we knew Avalanche was doing a decent UK tour the only question was “which one are we going to?” The “we” being the photographer of tonight Lee Allen, me and my boyfriend.

As soon as we knew who the supports were we were triply excited. A line up of four solid bands, of which 3 were from the US and the one UK, set us up with high expectations.

Mooseblood (2 of 17)

Moose Blood are a British band that are now signed to No Sleep Records in the US, having just recorded a full length stateside due to drop in the Autumn. Personally No Sleep and Topshelf records are my current fave labels, it feels like we are going back 10years to a time when you bought everything from a label, as you trusted the signing team before even hearing the band.

Mooseblood (3 of 17)

With a couple of 7″ out I was crazy excited to see these guys. If you love proper emo with jangly guitars and shoe gazer sway action then these guys are for you.

My excitement to check out Moose Blood made me temporarily forgot I was finally going to see Avalanche. The fact that their name wasn’t on the Rock City website listing had my party tonight worried they weren’t supporting when we booked tickets. This prompted a Facebook bombardment for confirmation and rechecking of the tour poster photo. A big phew was shared upon seeing the merch, and now we have team matching hoodies. Yeah, we’ll co-ordinate our wearing of these or have back-ups ready at all times. They were too good for us all not to own.

Mooseblood (15 of 17)

As they step up onto the stage they are a bunch of very polite, kind of bashful and shy young men. Singer Eddy Brewerton must have his jeans sprayed on they are so tight. Remaining members Sam and Mark are polar opposites, the second guitarist and vocalist is hiding with beanie and hood up and in contrast to the layers of cloth we have over in that camp the bassist is rocking shorts. Meanwhile on drums is Glenn Harvey, rocking a tie-dye Thrasher shirt is a man who must have his sweat glands removed. How he drums like that with all that hair and its not stuck to his face continues to boggle my mind. Plus I’m a sucker for a Thrasher tee.

Mooseblood (11 of 17)

Never mind their outfits, Moose Blood ticked all the boxes for me and their new album track Sid is reminiscent of early Brand New. Which is probably a reflection of their influences. The illustrated artwork for their stickers and a tee they once had sees a person lying on their bed with a Deja Entendu album poster.

Mooseblood (4 of 17)

With 4 bands on it was early doors for these guys as the first act. Having an audience was a point of gratefulness to them. As Major League and Avalanche pointed out, as a talented homegrown act we should get behind these guys and they deserve it.

Mooseblood (5 of 17)

With synchronised swaying and a hypnotic drummer they are fun and annoyingly for them, pretty sweet and endearing on stage.  I felt like I should be back in the late 90’s early 00’s with a rucksack on my back with my black-rimmed glasses brethren. I love them! Can’t wait for their full length and neither should you.

majore leauge port (5 of 5)majore leauge port (4 of 5)

Major League are a band I’ve got an album by. It was bought as it has nice artwork and packaging and I figured, that whilst on the first listen I found it to be a bit generic pop-punk for my tastes, the other half would probably like it.

majore leauge port (3 of 5)majore leauge port (2 of 5)

I was tempted by their shiny merch but I couldn’t remember my thoughts on what I’d heard, albeit briefly, to date until I saw them. Nick Trask is an enthusiastic singer prepared for some hard playing and love for the other acts. He is a great warm, open and friendly frontman for banter and crowd engagement. Guitarist and vocalist Brian Joyce provides bolstering harmonies to some straight up, fast rocking pop punk.

majore leauge land (4 of 4)

As I’ve always wanted to be a drummer I love to watch them play and this was where Major League fell down for me. Much debate ensued between us as to whether it was just intense concentration or rather my perspective of a drummer going through the motions. No definitive conclusion was made on Luke Smartnick.

majore leauge land (3 of 4)

Overall they were fun to watch, but sadly I’m not the 18 year old girl that loved a couple of  The Ataris’ albums. If you’re a fan of said band or A Day to Remember then check them out, you can’t go wrong and they have a new album out in autumn. Solid support that sadly just didn’t do it for me, as I couldn’t find the thing that was distinctive enough or catchy enough to hook me in, maybe on the next album.

turnover land (5 of 11)

Turnover were the band on the bill that I couldn’t remember the name of for the life of me in the run up to the show. As the acts changeover the members step up on stage with their pedals and cables in tatty Tesco carrier bags. As a girl with two tote bags on my arm I kind of wanted to rearrange my shit and hand one over to them. The fact that the singer, Austin Getz, has arms like tree trunks and has mastered the unimpressed, nonchalant look of Raylon Givens from Justified (just in the younger body of Timothy Olyphant) didn’t hurt either.

turnover land (6 of 11)

As soon as they started playing I was very happy. Reminiscent of 90s emo and quite a Husker Dü, Catherine Wheel sound. Austin is all aloof and just wants to play. Not the most charismatic front man but hey, that sullen look works for Josh Homme after all.

turnover land (4 of 11)

Strong harmonies are provided from the second guitarist, who could be called Casey, Alex or Kyle as the Google is failing me and their record tells me nothing but lyrics. An added element of movement is provided from Danny Dempsey. Their really, really tall, hair swishing bassist. As my eyes travelled to the drummer it reconfirmed to me just how much the passion, skill and energy he put into his playing was lacking in Major League’s performance. A compelling band to watch.

turnover land (3 of 11)

There was a good showing of support and sing-a-long for these guys and deservedly so considering the gig wasn’t a sell out. T-shirt and album was promptly bought and I can’t wait to give these guys a more focussed listen.

I feel it is a disservice to mention The Movielife when this previous band of Vinnie’s and Avalanche has the same back catalogue but a fan’s journey has followed on from then. With previously limited UK dates either as support or headlining I’ve always managed to fail at seeing I am the Avalanche. I caught singer Vinnie Caruana’s solo show in Birmingham last year and interviewed him for Gig Junkies; so I’m a little bit excited about tonight. The last time I saw Vinnie with a full band was The Movielife tour that saw them leap from small venues like The Flapper up to Birmingham Academy level, which was probably 8 years ago plus.

turnover land (11 of 11)

All of the band are on stage and I stare enviously at the second guitarist’s Grade tee only to be distracted by the level of cool exuding from bassist Kellen Robson; toothpick between the teeth, quiffed hair and a wide playing stance, not to forget the black band uniform.

turnover land (9 of 11)

The drummer preference debate continues, as you can’t help but marvel at the stature and bear-ness of the Brett “The Ratt” Romnes, I definitely think bear is more appropriate. On the far side of the stage is lead guitarist Brandon Swanson. Everyone is band uniform black, except for Vinnie of course.

Appearing from the back of the room Vinnie is on stage and the last minute checks between the band builds an air of tension before the explosion of first track ‘The Shape I’m in off new album Wolverines before playing ‘Holy Fuck’ off the killer second full length album Avalanche United.

turnover port (6 of 6)turnover port (5 of 6)

Cans of Stella are a go, much to the dismay of the crowd over the scientifically proven wife beater qualities of the drink.  Cans are raised and thanks given to the previous acts and to sue for turning up and supporting.

I am the avalanche  (21 of 22)

Vinnie is ever the energetic frontman I remember seeing in the early Movielife days, arms are swinging and he manoeuvres back and forth from the barrier to the stage with ease. From the go the room is completely awash with excitement and passion and the small numbers soon create a push with arms in the air and finger pointing action. Please note I hate finger-pointing action, I am not a finger pointer unless I have a foam hand.

I am the avalanche  (20 of 22)

The set is a bit different to previous nights and with the perfect mix of tracks of all three albums. From ‘I took a beating’ off the first album straight to ‘177’ off the latest, we are treated to the storming tracks of ‘Gratitude’ and ‘Amsterdam’ from too. Wolverines branded pics are sent flying into the crowd and collectively the rousing, anthemic harmonies are screamed by the whole band for us to return back to them.

I am the avalanche  (19 of 22)

‘Green Eyes’ is always a solid song in rotation form the self-titled first album, however I have to say I prefer the acoustic rendition. I was happy to they included ‘New Disaster’ from the same album as it is my favourite track off that album. ‘Save Your Name’ and ‘New Runaways’ conclude the treats form the new album, and as I haven’t had chance to really immerse myself in it yet (sorry it’s been a struggle getting new Gameface off rotation), I’m happy to feel the urgency off Wolverines to carry me through my next proper listen to the album. Wolverines covers subject matter from Vinnie’s injury and the devastation reeked by Hurricane Sandy, which left their hometown devastated. The only omission form Wolverines I would have loved to have heard was ‘Young Kerouacs’, maybe, hopefully, fingers crossed at Slam Dunk.

I am the avalanche  (17 of 22)

Much banter was had with the crowd from gaming, to of course football and Vinnie’s desire that Liverpool FC win next year, what has happened since they were last in Nottingham, from hair growing and babies. I am the Avalanche are a band you want to get drunk with, hang out and chat shit and they make you feel that way from their openness and willingness to engage with their fans from the sweaty moment they step off stage. The show ended with ‘Brooklyn Dodgers’ a song they will never be able to escape from but is truly a incredibly well crafted, heart touching, gang chorus of an anthem.

I am the avalanche  (15 of 22)

The one thing about this show, regardless of whether all acts were your cup of tea or not, you can’t deny the quality that was onstage and the support they provided each other; watching all the other acts even though we are several dates into the tour.

I am the avalanche  (12 of 22)

If we could have seen more shows we would have done, sadly it wasn’t possible, until Slam Dunk and man have they left us excited for that one.

I am the avalanche  (4 of 22)

(See the complete photo set on our Flick page)

One Response to “I am the Avalanche + Turnover + Major League + Moose Blood at Rock City, Nottingham, UK – 15th May 2014”

  1. lee allen Says:

    I dont normally pipe up (I prefer my pictures to do my talking 😉 but I have to say this was by far my favourite show this year!! As Kirsty said all bands turned in such a good performance but Mooseblood and Avalanche were just ace. When Avalanche come back in the autumn make sure you are there!!!!

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