It may be a few weeks earlier than usual but the annual Chaos end of summer party took over The Fermain Tavern on Saturday 6th September with From Bedrooms To Backseats, Static Alice, The Doomsday Project and Stone Em All taking to the stage.
First up were Stone Em All and following what was certainly the best show I’ve seen from them at Chaos 10 they continued in much the same form. While they may not be doing anything too original with their particular brand of thrashy, heavy metal the current line up seems to be the strongest yet, altered as it is slightly since Chaos with past guitarist Aleks Ward taking over bass duties.
Frontman Robert Hotton is certainly more at home on a bigger festival stage and there were moments tonight where his particular schtick didn’t quite translate, but its safe to say his performance is heading in the right direction – though constantly telling us the crowd they had in Jersey a few weeks ago at Jersey Dead were more energetic became a little repetitive and probably didn’t win the band any friends.
That said, with a continued focus on originals and the great guitar sounds being made by Lee Oliver and Bobby Didcott, Stone Em All seem to be finally getting their act together and becoming a much stronger proposition.
Another band focusing more on originals here, though with a few covers still in the mix, was The Doomsday Project.
Starting their set with more speed and power than I have ever seen from them added a lot to their performance as it felt like much more than a band just playing songs by rote, as they have come across at times in the past.
This added something of a rough around the edges feel to the performance that helped make for a more convincing pop-punk proposition and, combined with George Russell’s growing confidence as a frontman (especially as some of the audience started getting involved), is starting to build on their evident potential.
As ever they were joined for a couple of numbers by Sophie Mahy and, while Evanescence’s Bring Me To Life still feels like a holdover from their early days, their run at Blink-182’s All The Small Things was a great fun version of the track.
Much like their last Chaos gig at the Jam, they added more originals to the set, including one semi-acoustic number that again saw the young band growing and, while their youth makes them stand out, The Doomsday Project have the potential to be a band worth keeping an eye on – though they should probably drop Electric 6’s Gay Bar, it wasn’t funny in 2004 and it still isn’t in 2014…
Having seemingly become the Chaos guys’ go to band for their gigs, Static Alice were all high energy pop-rock from the off.
Once again Dominique Ogier’s off-kilter charisma carried the performance and, while it can be divisive, it worked for me tonight, while it also struck me what a good bass player Scott Michel has become since his early days in metal bands as, while I’m sure he can still do metal if called for, his playing with Static Alice shows another side that demonstrates a broader musical palette.
With a debut album in their near future it was Static Alice’s songs that really drew my attention here as, while they are all good and in places nicely varied bits of cross over rock, it struck me that they don’t quite get stuck in my head the way these sorts of tunes should, but I got the feeling they are very close to it. That said as soon as each song gets going it’s clear they have a certainly familiarity after a few listens.
While the crowd had shrunk a bit by the time Static Alice took to the stage those that were there began to come to life and they certainly showed why they’ve become favorites at both these gigs and on the local pub circuit as they were called back for an encore and treated us to their take on The Sweet’s Ballroom Blitz.
With the crowd having shrunk even more, From Bedrooms To Backseats took to the stage in front of only around 20 or 30 people, which is a shame as this was one of the most coherent sets I’ve seen the band deliver.
While I don’t think I’m ever going to be a fan of their particular brand of crossover metal, tonight, for the most part, their performance seemed to be one of their more focused, despite being yet another slightly different line-up to past gigs, with Mike Le Huray joining them on bass.
For me the highlights of their set came in a pair of tracks from their recent Bow Down EP, the title track and The Dark Passenger, as well as a slightly odd, drop-A tuned, version of New Found Glory’s My Friends Over You.
This, along with a few more covers from the likes of Enter Shikari, went down well with those down the front with a good amount of bouncing and singing along happening that, despite the lower number there than earlier in the night, brought the evening to end on an up, even if it wasn’t the night’s highest point.