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Blade Factory 27/6/15

On entering Blade Factory, one can’t help but notice the shrine of F.O.E.S-themed merchandise arranged just so on a table nearby. Among this veritable temple of goodies is the reason Bido Lito! are here tonight: Fall Of Every Sparrow’s (to elongate the acronym) new EP Antecedence. Sleek copies of the record await those whose appetites for the headliners aren’t satiated by tonight’s gig alone.

For starters, we’re treated to a dose of ENAMEL ANIMAL. Although their name may sound like a CBBC character that never left the drawing board, they’re actually an alternative rock band with an exciting sharpness about them. Their self-contained rockers have edges you can really cut your teeth on, each song lingering just long enough to leave you wanting more. A bold opening act who are well worth checking out.

In a six-course billing, it’s up to CARBON to take the second slot. The band grow more confident as the set progresses, and seal their impressive performance with a hard, dark finish in the form of Bonfire: a real cruncher of a tune made distinct by the band’s rock-yodel hollering. Their intriguing guitars and door-blasting drums appear to be at odds with the chic, flat-pack surroundings of Blade Factory, but then again the entire line-up seems in juxtaposition to the venue. Truth be told, it imbrues an exciting tension into the entire evening.

BLACK DIAMOND come next. Having supported the likes of Motion City Soundtrack, this youthful foursome look assured in their own abilities and rightly so. They’re a band whose acidic psychedelic stylings sound like they were cooked up in the desert under the heady auspices of Josh Homme. They’ve also got a real asset in the vocals of Daniel Byrne, who threatens to add a few storeys to the building thanks to his remarkable range.

Again, it’s the vocals that stand out with next act, PAVILIONS. Clearly channelling transatlantic influences, singer Tezz Roberts leads from the front with energy and feeling. Hard to categorise, this Wirral-based group are very much carving out their own sound. All we know is we like what we hear.

Enter the penultimate act, three-piece outfit, BAD SIGN. From note one, there’s absolutely no let-up or dip in energy from this trio. It’s a rambunctious performance, with guitarist Jonathan Harris and bassist Joe Appleford taking advantage of their wireless capabilities by marauding among the crowd, thus bringing a new meaning to the phrase ‘taking the bass for a walk’. Strutting about like bulls in a ring, Bad Sign scatter the crowd in front of them. A dangerous set in all the right ways.

When asked about Antecedence, the group’s second EP, F.O.E.S frontman Chris Mackrill has talked about the need to say something specific through their music, to articulate real emotion. The focus of their new output is centred on the raw, not-so-passive aggression that can pervade relationships. Three of the five new tracks bear reference to monarchy in their titles; all is unfair in love and war, and for F.O.E.S there’s not much difference between the two. The music complements Mackrill’s bitter lyrics perfectly, particularly in the outright attacks of Rival Thrones and Crown Antler.

It’s apt then that the band are on such belligerent form tonight and a delight to see their striving for meaning translate so well in a live setting. Renditions of the new material are no less thrilling in the flesh than they are on the album. In contrast to the full-throttle power tracks already mentioned,  F.O.E.S are also able to display their versatility in haunting melodies such as No Sleepers Verse, which rattles about the brain for days at a time. In this band, Liverpool has an act who know when to go hard and when to go soft, who also look the real deal topping a bill. It’s no wonder the likes of Kerrang! are sniffing around. With this successful EP launch, this up-and-coming quartet are getting their just desserts.

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