It was another midweek gig at the Exeter Phoenix Arts Centre, we weren’t originally due to cover the show but owing to availability in our calendars, we decided to head down and see what was happening. We heard that Bury Tomorrow were making big waves on the ‘metal’ scene and are up for ‘Breakthrough Band’ at this year’s Metal Hammer Awards, if they had told me at the start of the night there would be stagediving pigs, I’d have been on board a LONG time ago!
So, we entered the venue, only to see there was no pit barrier, I thought this a little strange as the band are, as my father would say ‘a little lively’ and seeing as it was called ‘The Stage Invasion Tour’, one would have thought that the powers that be at the venue might have put 2+2 together to foresee exactly what was going to happen later on…..
For a Thursday night, the venue was well attended, I would say it was knocking on ¾ full with at least 275 people in the auditorium, not bad seeing as there is still a week to go until payday, or pocket money day if you went by the average age of punter on the front row (oh to be young again!)….
Christening the stage were local Exeter 4 piece post hardcore/metallers ‘Pillars’, they played a blinding set, the vocalist James Burton pacing the stage from one end to the other, looking pumped up and ready for action, Matt Young displaying some impressive noodling on the guitar whilst Callum Griffin kept order on bass and Adam Copeman did a damned fine job of producing the beat that held it all together. For the first band on stage, they had real presence and managed to get the crowd whipped up into a light frenzy where a small circle pit had formed in the crowd. This was too much for Callum to bear and he jumped down from the stage (with his bass) to join the revellers for a mosh prior to dragging himself back on stage to finish the track!
Throw in a bit of audience participation, plenty of melodic guitar followed by some super heavy breakdowns and you have the perfect recipe for a band who I am sure will go far on the local scene and further afield, having completed their first headline tour in August last year. They are midway through writing their album which they hope will be available to hear soon. You should definitely check these guys out, as an incentive, head over to their Bandcamp page where you can download their debut mini album for FREE…..
Up next were Southampton 5 piece Creeper, they took to the stage over a backdrop of ‘Casper the Friendly Ghost’ which was blasting out of the speakers at 100 decibels….From the off, it was clear that these were more punk orientated than metal, doesn’t bother me, I love a bit of punk rock and when you’re able to see a couple of genres on the same bill, it shows that not only can different styles be fused together, it also brings the fans together and allows the metal-heads to see what the late 70’s were all about!
I felt underdressed in my casual slacks, Adidas trainers and T-Shirt, I think the next time I attend a show of this ilk, I’ll try some skinny fit black jeans and VANS skate shoes and maybe get a bunch of tattoos and grow a beard, then I’d feel a little more at home. Despite my aging years and lack of fashion sense, I did what I always do and immersed myself in the music.
So, they’re a punk band rather than a metal act, they did a sterling job of getting the crowd warmed up, they played a new track called ‘Honeymoon Suite’ followed by a blinding cover version of an AFI track that sent the fans mental, causing the circle pit to crank back up to full effect. Their last track saw Ian Miles playing guitar with Will Gould singing, I thought this was going to be a nice closing to an awesome set, Sina Nemati (guitar), Sean Scott (Bass) were stood with their backs to the crowd, sharpening their weapons (tuning) so it was inevitable that they would soon come crashing in to close the set, when Dan Bratton re-joined them on stage, you knew that any minute, the place would once again be lit up by their presence. When they did, the dynamics of the track changed completely, gone were the fragile vocals and raw guitar and in came a fuller sound, that wrapped up their evening perfectly!
Bury Tomorrow are a 5 piece metalcore band from Southampton that formed in 2006, to date, they have released 3 albums, ‘Portraits’ in 2009, ‘The Union of Crowns’ in 2012 and most recently ‘Runes’ in 2014.
This was, as mentioned at the start, Bury Tomorrow’s ‘Stage Invasion Tour’, which concerned me somewhat, just how many fans would the stage hold, we were about to find out as come the third track, they said that they fully encourage stage diving, crowd surfing and circle pits, you know, the stuff that the security team relish…..NOT! Midway through the song, they invited every man and his dog up onto the stage to have a dance and meet the band and just about everyone did get up there, the security team were powerless as the hoards climbed up and then took it in turns to leap back into the throng, luckily being caught by the front 3 rows, ensuring a nice soft landing!
Their set continued, this being a chance for them to play some more recent material and also songs from yesteryear that have been under wraps for years, Daniel Winter Bates announcing that much of the earlier material was only available on ‘MySpace’, do you remember this social media platform, I think it’s still going….just!
Some of their tracks verged on the more melodic side, the guitars doing their ‘thang’ whilst the vocals hit the spot, other times, the music turned full on ‘metalcore’ with some breakdowns that were quite honestly, ‘heavier than heaven’, causing the front few rows to join together in one huge sweaty throng, bouncing to the beat but still managing to sing back every word. I saw my very first crowd surfing pig at this show, then later on, the same pig made it onto the stage and had a go at stagediving, who said that pigs can’t fly?
Towards the end of the set, the band decided it was time for a ‘Wall of Death’, now, if you’re not familiar with a ‘Wall of Death’, check out the following video, which, granted was filmed at a huge music festival in the States but, you get the picture….
They played an amazing track called ‘Crown of Thorns’ which was one slab of heavy shit, the bass and guitar players whirling about the stage, I am surprised they didn’t fall over…. By this time, it transpired that the flying pig had a ginger beard, things were indeed getting weirder by the minute!
If you were wondering when new material is planned to be released by Bury Tomorrow, they are putting the final touches to their 4th studio album, admitting that it was only the rhythm guitar to lay down and after a bit of jiggery pokery, they should have something to put out to the masses.
The final track fired up, the guitarist wandered past me where I was stood side of stage and decided to venture out into the bar area (as one does…), before climbing back onto the stage to wrap up proceedings. As the final chord rang out, drumsticks were launched into the crowd, fans again mounted the stage for ‘selfies’ and stage diving opportunities and after a few minutes, the room was clear, just as Katy Perry started playing through the PA! Our work here was done, it was definitely time to go…..
If you'd like to vote for Bury Tomorrow in the Metal Hammer 'Breakthrough' category (and who in their right mind wouldn't), then click HERE
Review by Steve Muscutt
Photography by Julian Baird