Seething Akira with Infirm Of Purpose and Only The Righteous at Satan’s Hollow: Live Review
Words: Anne Estella
Never judge a book by its cover, for what you see isn’t always what you get... Those are the words that swam around my head at Satan’s Hollow (a hell-themed venue with ironically excellent air-conditioning), when I saw Seething Akira on their first headlining UK tour, with Inform Of Purpose and Only The Righteous supporting.
Hailing from the Midlands, four-piece outfit Infirm Of Purpose (which is a Shakespearian quote from Macbeth) were previously unknown to me. Their musical genre encompassed a plethora of styles, including Trance, Metal, Rap, Dubstep and Hardcore and can probably be most accurately described as ‘Deathcore’.
Josh Blackshaw was at the helm, taking care of the turntables, synths and samples. Unleashing his big, powerful vocals, he screamed “1,2,3,4!” before ripping into the band’s opener with incredible force and conviction. The combination of musical styles really worked and Blackshaw’s impassioned (and slightly terrifying) screams blended very well with the heavy, rhythmic, electronic beats. There was a profusion of frenetic dancing and stomping around the circular stage by the band members, making this act really stand out from anyone else I’d seen recently.
Dressed in a black vest, hoodie and Nike’s, Blackshaw’s look was more Hip-Hop than Metal and I really wasn’t expecting such a muscular vocal from the young artist. Although I couldn’t really tell what most of the songs were about, one was apparently about abusive fathers and another song played was the recently released single, Assumptions.
It was a raw, energetic performance and for the last song drummer Oliver J-Babe switched places with Blackshaw, taking to the mic whilst the frontman took his place at the drumkit. The last time I saw that happen was between Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins! There were one or two mistakes made during the set, but it was such a casual, intimate gig that it really didn’t matter.
The second band to grace the satanic stage were Manchester-based Only The Righteous. Clean-cut, short-haired singer James Barnes, dressed in a plain black T-shirt, tight black jeans and blue denim jacket, immediately leapt up onto the stage railings, stood up and grabbed hold of a metal bar suspended from the ceiling, before urging the crowd to gather round closely.
His vocals were the biggest surprise of the night, for when this unassuming looking frontman opened his mouth to sing, he sounded like he could have been channelling the giant red Beelzebub that was staring at us from the corner of the room! The growling vocals were mighty and menacing, but the look of sheer delight in Barnes’ eyes was so incredibly endearing. He interacted confidently with the crowd and came across as a genuinely nice, good-humoured, friendly guy.
In his introduction Barnes claimed that all the band’s songs were love songs… I doubt that was true, although it was hard to tell as the words were indistinguishable, but it made no difference as it was all about the overall performance and sound, and that was quite epic.
Barnes’ charisma ensured that all eyes were on him as he spent most of the set crouched on the edge of the aforementioned railing, up close and personal, as if waiting to pounce! The intense, bone-crunching vocals that emanated from him were completely unexpected and I couldn’t help but wonder whether this was his alter-ego making a bid to break free! He looked like your average Joe, but was evidently anything but.
There was a song, we were told, about people who like to read and the vigorous head-nodding and foot-tapping that broke out in the audience told me that everybody was enjoying the strong, post-Hardcore sound that the band produced. The set ended with Barnes amusingly asking for a hand down from his perch.
Seething Akira, the Portsmouth-based five-piece who have just released their debut album, Sleepy Skeletor, came ready to take the energy through the roof! The Electronic-Rock crossover was delivered via shared vocals, courtesy of Kit Conrad and Charlie Bowes. Their sound encompassed hooking riffs flavoured with Metal, Rap and Dance and the band made a striking opening, after promising us that they were going to get really sweaty. Nice!
Conrad ran around the venue having shed his shirt, explaining away his fine, tattooed torso as the result of his love of sausages and dislike for the gym. He hurriedly explored the venue like an excited child in a toy store, leaping on every available surface, making each platform and crevice his stage and sprinting laps around the room. Both vocalists came out into the audience, performing in our midst, which is exactly what you want to see from a band in a close setting.
Whilst most of the musicians were going crazy, the drummer, by contrast, remained controlled and steady, as if trying to keep a lid on all the mayhem. There was lots of fun and banter between each song and the topic of conversation quickly moved to Conrad suggesting that we all get a house-share together with a load of cats! Light-hearted discussions concerning how many bedrooms we’d require and when we should move in ensued, although there was no mention of exactly how many cats we should get…
The band took their incendiary set down a touch with The Islander and the penultimate song was entitled I Am The Devil, which couldn’t have been more fitting given the nature of the venue. By now the audience were joining in the lively shenanigans, bouncing around and crowd surfing. Following calls for “One more song!”, Seething Akira closed with Firepower, which went down a storm.
Only The Righteous
Infirm Of Purpose