Gig review and photography by Ken Harrison

Digbeth bound, heading towards the O2 Institute, on a cool autumn evening, and the queue is stretching down Digbeth as far as the old Irish Centre. Its a busy night at the Institute, as Feeder are playing in one room, and Canadian Goth Rock band, The Birthday Massacre back in the UK for a short tour are in another. Both shows are sold out, so the Institute is packed out, not bad for a midweek night.

The first of the two supports this evening are London based “Electropunkers” Stereo Juggernaut consisting of Ben Main (Lead vocals/Guitar), Phil Roadkill (Guitar/Backing Vocals), Dominic Winchester (Bass/Backing Vocals) and
Reuben O’Donoghue (Drums/Backing Vocals).

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Their website describes the band as; “…have landed with a high-octane sound from the future…the London-spawned band are mesmerising crowds with their dark & romantic industrial alt-rock & roll. Gritty yet graceful, their live show is full of melancholic menace, with singer Ben Main’s schizophrenic vocal style breathing fresh air to a cold scene”

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The band play a loud, fast and wild set, albeit a short one, with screaming metal guitar work, but also some melodic synth in the mix too, with the final song “Shutdown” described by Main as “its about f******* c****!!” Stereo Juggernaut are the soundtrack to your very own personal nervous breakdown and it’s never sounded so beautiful…

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Next up it’s a home town show for Among The Echoes (ATE), a Synth-Rock/Darkwave band formed in 2012, in Birmingham. The line up and band’s sound has been constantly developing over the last four years, and has been bolstered by new guitarists and drummer in recent months. Among The Echoes are; Ian Wall (Vocals), Steve Turrell (Keyboards), Dave Hennessey (Bass), Wayne Page (Guitar), Si Ng (Drums) and recent addition Steve Gibbons (Guitar).

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The band open up with “Freak”, “Sin”, “Control” and “Midnight” from their 2014 album release “Fracture”. The vocal is a little low to start with, but the sound man soon gets up to speed. Wall reckons he can hear Feeder playing upstairs, and is encouraging the crowd to get louder. “This Is A Love Song” a new track, gets an airing and is appreciated by the crowd. Given that the “Fracture” album is now two years old, its time for ATE to build on it’s success and get to work on the follow-up.

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Ever the salesman, Wall is still pushing “Fracture”, you can still get a copy” before the band launch into the title track. Wall comments that he can still hear Feeder before announcing another new song “Breathe” Wall continues, “London and Bristol loved it. Birmingham, please love it too”. ATE close the set with their cover of Gary Numan’s “Pure”. Whilst many of the fans are there for the headline, ATE distinguished themselves with their performance and put on a good show for the home town.

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The Birthday Massacre (often abbreviated to “TBM”) formed in Ontario, Canada, in 1999 and were originally known as “Imagica” (after the Clive Barker novel), but to avoid confusion with another band, an Imagica song was reappropriated for the band name. The band are currently based in Toronto. The current line-up of the band consists of Chibi (vocals), Falcore (guitars), Rainbow (guitars), Owen (synthesizers), Nate Manor (bass guitar) and Rhim(drums).

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The band hit the stage at around 9:30 to an eagerly awaiting crowd and open their set with “Broken”, “Lovers End” from 2005 album “Violet” and then more recent track “Destroyer from 2014’s “Superstition”. The band have a great sound, lots of very catchy rhythms with face melting guitar, coupled with melodic and catchy synth hooks and Chibi’s vocals range from the sweet to a dark and satanic growl.  The audience are with them from the start, many of whom have been following the tour around the UK, cheering, heads banging and waving, and clearly much loved.

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“Looking Glass” is introduced by Chibi as “an oldie but a goodie” to lots of cheers, followed by “Imagica’s” “Playdead and then “Diaries”. The crowd are impressing Chibi, “You guys are awesome!” “Superstition” is dedicated to the support acts, and “Forever” ” slow song, a love song” is dedicated by Chibi to Lizzie and Crystal.

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“Alibis” causes a bit of amusement on stage as Chibi cracks up part way through, but quickly composes herself and get on with the song. “Blue” from “Violet” shows Chibi’s vocal at its extreme with growling vocal, than instantly switching into sweet mode. “Sleepwalking” closes the main set and the crowd begin chanting for an encore. They are not kept waiting for long as the band return to the stage for “Red Stars” which is “dedicated to Set and Rach for their wedding anniversary” and finish with ‘Midnight” from 2010’s ‘Pins And Needles”, with Chibi “You guys are awesome, this has been so much fun” as she makes a heart to the crowd.

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The Birthday Massacre have put on a great show this evening, a well established band with clearly, a loving and devoted fanbase. If you like your music dark, these guys are for you. Tonight’s show drew tracks from across their career to a great reception from the crowd. The tour ends on Saturday at a sold out Glasgow, so we will have to wait a while maybe, for a return UK visit.

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Setlist

Broken
Lovers End
Destroyer
Goodnight
Shallow Grave
Looking Glass
Playdead
Diaries
Falling Down
Superstition
Forever
Pins And Needles
Leaving Tonight
Control
Alibis
In The Dark
Blue
Sleepwalking

Encore

Red Stars
Midnight

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Discography

2002 Nothing and Nowhere
2005 Violet
2007 Walking With Strangers
2010 Pins And Needles
2012 Hide And Seek
2014 Superstition
2016 Imagica

Links

Web: http://thebirthdaymassacre.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheBirthdayMassacre
Twitter : https://twitter.com/tbmassacre
Web: http://amongtheechoes.co.uk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amongechoes/
Twitter : https://twitter.com/amongechoes
Web: https://www.stereojuggernaut.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StereoJuggernaut/
Twitter : https://twitter.com/StereoJuggernaut

One Response to “The Birthday Massacre + Among The Echoes + Stereo Juggernaut, O2 Institute, Birmingham 4th October 2016”

  1. Adam Says:

    The guitarist from Esprit D’Air (Kai) was on bass duties for Stereo Juggernaut at this gig :)

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