2016 has been a busy year for Ashestoangels who released their fourth full length album How To Bleed earlier this year as well as the 4 track Winter Split EP with As Sirens Fall but not content with just these two new records, the Bristol Goth Punks put out a digital EP The Unreliable Narrator free to attendees on their final three date tour of 2016. We went along to the Bristol show at the Louisiana to see the conclusion to this highly productive year.
We arrived at the venue just in time to see Bath based pop punkers Montroze take to the stage, their energetic performance was exactly what you wanted from an opening band, warming up the crowd with their bouncy feel good tunes, “Somewhere I Belong” was a particular stand out and drew several of the audience into singing along with its catchy chorus. The two guitars were somewhat overpowered in the mix by the driving drums but were able to overcome it on occasion with chunky, heavier riffs I just wish they would stick with them for longer as after a couple of bars they tended to sink back into the background, the bassist went in the other direction pushing his way into the crowd for their closing song, exciting the audience and losing his strap in the process, always a fun move and bonus points for the Dead Kennedys shirt.
As Sirens Fall
With the crowd suitably warmed in the stuffy upstairs room of the Louisiana, As Sirens Fall were next up and charismatic front man Mikey Lord wasted no time in encouraging crowd participation. In fact barely a song went by without some form of clap-a-long or sing-a-long section, a more cynical crowd may not have gone for it, however As Sirens Fall know this audience well and it went over a treat. Their sound is very reminiscent of the Emo scene that dominated rock music back in the mid to late 2000s with clear influence from My Chemical Romance and A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out era Panic! At The Disco. With a confident powerful performance there’s no clear reason why As Sirens Fall couldn’t reach similar heights if the mainstream press were to swing back in that direction, there are very few up and coming bands that do it better. The energy never dipped throughout the performance but spiked in their closing song ‘Smoke’ as Ashestoangels front man Crilly joined them on stage. The dual front men dominated the stage and brought the set to an end with a bang.
Following a short break and dramatic pre-recorded intro, Ashestoangels came out singing “We are the Horrorcult”, this made for an anthemic opening and was quickly followed up by “Find Hell”, both tracks taken from this year’s album How to Bleed. Next up was “Tragic Songs”, released as a single on YouTube just six days before the show, it’s a testament to the loyalty of the Ashes fans that the entire room seemed to already know the lyrics off by heart. The song was also part of the new EP recorded in the run up to this show and emailed to all who’d purchased tickets two days before the gig. The performance of Ashes singer Crilly is hard to explain if you haven’t experienced it first hand, it’s like watching lightening in a bottle strewn across a stage, never still for a moment and always captivating, his energy is contagious and the crowd respond in turn. The sing-a-longs overpower the band at times as Ashestoangels play hit after hit of their own brand of what Crilly on stage calls ‘Aggressive pop music’. The fan base and band refer to themselves as the ‘Ashes Family’, a term which is evident throughout the whole night, and there is something so joyful about watching a band that clearly love to play music perform for a crowd that loves to watch them.
We caught up with a slightly alcohol enhanced Crilly after the show to see how it was for him:
“Great! Its lovely coming home it’s been like a year since we did a hometown headline show so it’s awesome; I’m fucking so happy... and drunk.”
What inspired the idea releasing this EP for the tour?
“I don’t know man, it’s always cool to have something new to promote when you’re out and playing, and also I’ve got a short attention span and I assume everyone’s like me because I might be a sociopath, so if I’m bored of the tunes we’re busting out 6 months later I assume everyone else is so away we go.”
What does 2017 hold for Ashestoangels?
“Hopefully a whole bunch of touring, bunch of new music we’re actually all having a good time which is a weird state for us to be in feels very positive, very exciting I just wanna keep going man.”
How do you feel about the current state of British Rock?
“There’s a lot of nonsense but also a lot of people who are just doing what they love, all you’ve got to do is look at Enter Shikari selling out arenas in the UK fully independent that’s a good state for the country to be in even if only one band’s doing it. Everyone else has got, maybe not something to aspire to because if you only aspire to be as good as someone else you’re only ever going to put a bottleneck on your progression, but the fact they’ve done it really does spur the rest of us on.
It’s cool man you don’t need a label, which is lucky because none of them will talk to us.”
Any final words for readers who may not be familiar with Ashestoangels?
“Don’t worry about us, what they need to worry about is them if they really love music they should write some and go play it!”
Photography by Donna Coombs
Review by Hena Larkin