“You guys are going to be massive” were the words of former Diamond Head frontman Sean Harris as Tooth & Dagger left the stage following their stellar headline performance for Live & Loud presents at the Mitre Inn, Stourbridge. The legendary Mr Harris was part of a sell-out crowd that danced and moshed non-stop through a blistering three hours of top-quality underground music.
Tooth & Dagger were joined on the bill by the hugely popular cover band Keg Deep; indy-rock high-flyers Finding Bella and the heavier-than-heavy metal machine that is LifeAfter. Keg Deep kicked off the night with a killer set of crowd-pleasing covers from their vast catalogue including Ozzy Osborne’s Mr. Crowley and everyone’s favourite F-bomb laden Christmas no.1: Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine, during which lead vocalist Celina Hodges expertly whipped the crowd into an energetic frenzy for the song’s finale. The band even managed to soldier on when bassist Jake Ratcliffe’s amp suddenly died during the final song of the set – guitarist Lee Guest solved the problem in the way most guitarists try to solve anything: with an outrageous solo.
Up next were Finding Bella, whose latest single Good Right Now made its debut on BBC Introducing just as they took the stage at The Mitre. The lads, easily the best dressed band of the night, delivered a consummate performance blending their own upbeat, Britpop-inspired originals with some anthemic covers. “One more song! One more song!” chanted the crowd at the end of their set – lead singer Oli White slung his guitar back on without hesitation and the band fulfilled the crowd’s demands with one more rip-roaring tune.
LifeAfter made light of the Mitre’s economical stage design by squeezing themselves right in amongst the crowd throughout their set. In fact, synth player Nath Evans was so close to the audience that he could regularly be seen bouncing around wildly in the mosh pit or prowling around the crowd as an in-your-face hype man – his instrument abandoned. Their brutal sound was a powerful mix of metalcore and hardcore punk with obscenely downtuned guitars and bass and savagely harsh vocals. Ryan Hale stole the show with some spellbinding drumming.
Tooth & Dagger had tough acts to follow, so got right down to business with the first live airing of the four songs that comprise their upcoming release ‘The Embers EP’. During the performance of debut single Heaven Made, the band treated their fans to a sneak preview the song’s music video, most of which was filmed in the Mitre’s downstairs bar. The crowd loved it – not surprisingly since most of the video’s cast were in the audience! The band offered a live stream of the gig, giving fans all over including Norway, USA and Japan free access to their show.
The biggest online reaction of the night came in the next song, Sinking Feelings – Tooth & Dagger’s upcoming second single. Singer Dante Efemey unleashed his inner pirate for this dark journey into paranoia and mutiny aboard a ghostly galleon, building to a crashing crescendo in the song’s drum ‘n’ bass inspired breakdown. After a trip through a few songs from the band’s back catalogue, the crowd were treated to one last foray into the mosh pit as Efemey roared for them to come closer and closer for the final bars of Glass Town Cowboy’s epic outro to cap an awesome night of live music from an exceptional crop of unsigned bands.
The event was expertly staged by the master of all things audio-visual Alex Bulmer as part of Live and Loud presents. Visit our Events Page for our upcoming live performances