Call the Midwife? Poldark?....NO, The Cavern in Exeter is fast becoming THE place to be on a Sunday evening, we’ve been twice in as many weeks and each time, a healthy throng of fans have been there to worship at the altars of their favourite bands who have kindly agreed to grace the hallowed stage that has played host to so many acts over the years.
On this particular cold Sunday evening, we were to be treated to a triple header, yes folks, three quality acts all converging at the Cavern to peddle their sonic wares to anyone who gladly parted with their money. The acts were local Exeter band ‘Witterquick’, followed by the awesome ‘Twin Wild’ before the evening’s headline act ‘Nothing but Thieves’. The venue was filling nicely, I took my usual position towards the back of the main room where I could stand and scribble notes with the added bonus of some twinkly Christmas lights that I found below the counter.
‘Witterquick’ took to the stage to open up the proceedings with a great track called ‘Radio’ which was executed well, proving that this local 5 piece had what it took to satisfy the near sell out audience. If forced to ‘pigeonhole’ this band, I would file them in the ‘heavier side of melodic punk pop’, there songs building nicely, allowing some great atmospheric guitar work to shine through. They went on to play their current single ‘The Other Side’ which they said they had been busy in Wales recently recording.
They played a song that they currently have no name for, I think they said it was a toss up between ‘Rise’ and ‘Beneath a Spinning Light’, before kicking off, they asked the audience to vote on Facebook and they would announce the winning choice in due course. I really enjoyed their set, they’re a tight knit unit who look good together on stage, they looked like they were having fun which is great to see these days as so many bands seem to take themselves very seriously and forget to smile! The singers ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ T-Shirt made me smile too!
Up next were London based 4 piece Twin Wild, who took to the stage and made it clear from the off that they were a top quality band with bags of charisma, style and energy (oh to be young again….) They played their current single ‘Another Stranger’ which has a brilliant, driving rhythm, allowing the guitar melody to sit nicely over the top, you can check out the video to this track below;
The singer announced a song (which I didn’t catch) but it was a big ‘fuck you’ to his ex, the song was awesome, complete with some great diving fretboard slides. They set a new world record for the slowest ‘clap-a-long’ ever, I have made a note to call Norris McSquirter from the Guinness Book of Records….
They ended their set with a track called ‘Fears’ which really set the scene for Nothing But Thieves, I was a little concerned that they might not be able to match the energy shown by Twin Wild, this has happened before, granted, not too often but there’s always a chance.
I’ll finish up with Twin Wild by saying that if they’re not headlining their own shows in 6 months, I’ll eat my shoes! I really do think that they have something special and looking at their upcoming gigs, they are set to become a firm favourite with fans up and down the country very quickly.
After their set, I was invited into their tour bus to conduct an interview, something I was not planning on doing but thanks to Facebook and some emails that I kept from PR companies, I was able to cobble together some deep and meaningful questions for the guys to consider, you can read the interview HERE. After this, we shuffled back into the venue where Nothing But Thieves were just about to take the stage….
Their opening track ‘Itch’ really showcased Conor’s vocal ability, his falsetto style really bought back memories of Jeff Buckley and later, the talents of Matt Bellamy from MUSE. ‘Wake Up Call’ was full of stabbing guitars and driving bass lines, again, Conor’s vocal catapulting their sound to a while new level.
Conor interjected between tracks by saying that the last time they played at The Cavern in Exeter, there were 4 people in the crowd, compare this to the fact that they were now facing a full house and it tells you something about how their name and reputation has been spreading like wildfire across social media to all corners of the UK.
Whilst Twin Wild going for the slowest ‘clap-a-long’, NBT went for a very technical double clap that had some of the audience confused, it was a Sunday night after all, maybe the thought of missing some primetime TV was too much and their concentration levels were dwindling! New track ‘If I Get High’ was played, out came the phones to replace lighters and the stage was literally lit up for a few minutes, a beautiful sight.
They always play a cover version and tonight was no exception, I thought for a moment it might have been ‘Holding out for a Hero’ by Tina Turner (they recently recorded it for the new series of TV show ‘Vikings’) but I was wrong and instead, they burst into a stunning version of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Immigrant Song’ which saw some awesome synchronized head banging on stage and WHAT A SOUND, it just gelled so well together, heavy as thunder and with Conor easily mimicking the vocal wailings of Robert Plant, it ended up sounding pretty damned good!
It was good to see a singer being a singer, I am referring here to the fact that 90% of the time, the singer ends up with rhythm guitar duties, not a bad thing at all but look back to any ‘power’ band, Queen, Led Zep, OASIS, do you see a guitar around the neck of Mercury/Plant or Gallagher (of the Liam variety), no you don’t….Granted, Conor did don an acoustic guitar for one track later in the set but otherwise, he was busy leading the band and getting properly involved in his role.
Before long, their time was up and it came to the last track of the set, no surprises when they launched into the juicy tones of ‘Ban All The Music’ which has received an unnatural amount of airplay on Radio 1 as well as being picked by Zane Lowe as his ‘Hottest’ record of the week on his show before he decided to move to California and join the Apple team! Ban All The Music is a real 4/4 rock behemoth and it sounded as good live as it does on record, the audience went wild, there was much jumping about and after approximately 4 minutes of guitar pleasantry, peppered with Conor’s pitch perfect falsetto, it was all over. I was hoping that they had just left the stage to grab a drink and cool down (it gets HOT in the Cavern folks), sadly, they didn’t and looking back over their 11 track set, I was more than happy that they had played pretty much their entire catalogue. These guys are going to be HUGE, it was amazing to see them in such intimate surroundings and you can bet your bottom dollar they won’t be playing at the Cavern again. Expect to see these guys at festivals throughout the season and if you get a chance to see them in a club, make every effort to get yourselves along, you’ll be glad you did.
Wake Up Call
If I Get High
Immigrant Song (Led Zep Cover)
Ban All The Music
As for ‘Call the Midwife’ and ‘Poldark’, I’m sure they’re available to view on some ‘watch again’ system so don’t go getting too upset!
Review by Steve Muscutt