Up From Under: Asylum City Zoo & More @ Zombie Shack
Well, another Saturday night in Manchester and it was pouring it down. So, I couldn’t think of a better reason to go to a concert...like I need a reason!
There was a fierce line up on with four interesting local talents and a lot of booze this was already shaping up to be a good night. This was my first time at the Zombie Shack and I have to say it’s a pretty nice place and even though it’s a little dim and the sound system is a bit muddy it’s still a cool place. Hell, I’ve certainly been to worse places. Yet, when all is said and done I had one hell of a banging night.
First up to bat was the alternative metal act known as Mescina and boy oh, were they a treat! Immediately you could tell they were going to be good. With their fun and smooth bass grooves and heavy riffs they really put on a cracking show with a lot of energy. They were sort of like a heavier form of Amplifier. These lads had a bunch of personality and really sold their performance. Since the crowd was quite thin there weren’t enough people build a great atmosphere but people were interested enough to make it feel like a good gig. As the openers they probably had the best job, they had to warm up the crowd and set the bar for the night. To be honest, they just have to do their best and Mescina certainly set the bar for the evening. Their songs were simple but really effective and their performance was entertaining enough. Ending on a Deftones cover (don’t ask me which song because I’m not that big a Deftones fan, and if they hadn’t said it was a cover I wouldn’t have even noted it) the band finished up. Awesome band, definitely check them out, they’re really worth it.
Next was a bit of a dip in quality. After the blistering set from Mescina, False Hope took to the stage and as you can probably tell they weren’t as good. Maybe someone who is more versed in groove/thrash metal might be able to find something to like about them but I just couldn’t enjoy them at all. I can appreciate the skill on their respective instruments but I couldn’t feel anything in their performance. They just had no enthusiasm and no energy making it difficult to care about their set. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, the performer doesn’t care, then why should the audience? You could really feel the energy levels drop as more people just switched off. There’s definitely a lot of potential as they are talented, but they just didn’t sell themselves at all. I felt relieved once they had finished.
After some technical issues while setting up, it was finally time for Natusro to take to the stage and boy was this needed. They immediately had this amazing energy that transcended through the crowd. Strong riffs, a brilliant sense of tone and some really well written songs. Singer Rob Derbyshire really put on an extremely entertaining performance his mixture of singing and screaming was well worked and fit in the structure of the songs. They had some hardcore type element to their music and they kept a decent balance between heavy and melodic. Chris Farron put on a spectacular performance on the guitar Will Potts got some amazing bass grooves in and Tom Farron was crazy on the drums. It’s pretty safe to say that the Atherton lads did a pretty damn decent job here. I can’t really say much other than they were great I would really love to check them out again. Fantastic stuff
Finally we get to the main event of the evening and Asylum City Zoo sold themselves fantastically. These guys had been hyped up for me over the last few months, so I was eager to see them live. Let me tell you now, they didn’t disappoint for a single second. Their set was completely filled the brim with great riffs and fantastic bass grooves. The band had such a great vibe to them and had it have been a slightly bigger crowd it would have sent them into a frenzy, with the bassist spending the entire set on the floor. Overall the band brought a cracking energy to the Zombie Shack. The Manchester boys brought a certain charisma and served their purpose well for the night, to be fair there is nothing like a man in a kilt and a native american headdress rocking on the floor with the fans. Their songs flowed well, one into the next. However according to a fan that was in attendance the band wasn’t completely on form that night…. You could have fooled me they sounded fantastic and I was certainly impressed.
This was a cracking night of music. Well maybe that was the rum talking for me because I don’t really remember much of it. I just remember that I had fun. The Manchester scene is alive and well and it’s nights like this where we get to see the beating heart of it. Local talent and alcohol. A dangerous but wonderful combination.
Words: Mick Birchall | Photos: Anthony Firmin