We’d officially overdone it! Having attended a photoshoot and completed a video interview with them a couple of weeks before the show, we were starting to think that we were part of their crew! One thing I did learn from spending an entire day with them was just how much FUN they had whilst doing what they do, I can’t recall one moment during the day when none of them had a massive smile across their chops. Fast forward a couple of weeks and we rocked up to The Phoenix win Exeter, made our way back stage to check out the rider and bumped into a few friendly faces along the way. This was the first time (outside of a rehearsal room) that I had seen the new LOTG lineup so excitement levels were high as the evening wore on….
The venue was filling up nicely by the time the opening act took to the stage, The Tuesday Syndicate hail from Woolacombe in North Devon and I’d seen them a few weeks earlier at The Loft Live Sessions in a small idyllic village called Cheriton Bishop where they supported the superbly talented Gavin James back in April. Another act who have recently gone through a small lineup change, they sounded great, their country tinged rock stylings really lifting the audience to a new level.
This was the first time that I had seen them play as a ‘full’ band, by this I mean the last time they played, they performed a stripped back set without a drum kit, favouring a cajon instead, which, don’t get me wrong, sounded incredible but I was yearning to hear the guys REALLY let loose, which they certainly did tonight!
Sam’s voice was incredible, as was the performances from each and every band member on the stage and I can see these guys having a VERY successful career. Imagine Mumford and Sons minus the corny waistcoats, the cheesy banjo’s and the pork pie hats and you are pretty much on the same wavelength as TTS.
In-between songs, Sam did a great job of keeping the audience in touch with what the songs were all about, what influenced them and even managed to remember to plug their website and other social media sites. He apologised to the room for having some issues with his ‘G-String’, which I can only assume he meant on his guitar rather than inside his jeans, this prompted a heckle of “Just like the Loft Sessions all over again!” (he snapped his G-String when they supported Gavin James), this alone proved that they have a very strong fanbase who are super keen to follow them around the live circuit!
They really do have it all folks, the looks, the attitude and the music and by the end of their set, the audience were screaming for more, sadly, an encore wasn’t on the cards so until next time….
Catch these guys before they explode, mark my words, it won’t be long!
After a short break to charge glasses and empty bladders, the stage was filled with so many instruments, you could hardly move! This must mean that ANTIMATADOR, a 16 legged Plymouth based Electronica, Soul, Hip-Hop, Rock. Jazz & DnB collective were about to kick off….
From the off, it was apparent that these guys were going to have the place dancing along in no time at all, their blend of funky guitar riffs, stinging horns and a tighter than tight back line meant that it was the perfect recipe for a party!
I thought after the first song just HOW Land of the Giants were going to follow them, I mean, they’re very good but are they good enough to slip in at the top spot, I guess we would see….
I was told midway through the set that the usual guy who provided MC duties (MC Vegas) was absent for the evening and was replaced by a young lady called Elani who stepped up to her mic during track 2 and set the place on fire with a brutal rap attack that had me watching in awe.
They’re a very ‘busy’ band, you honestly don’t know where to look and every few minutes, you get a different taste of their music, be it a funky guitar riff backed by fat pounding drums, maybe a slice of prog rock noodling via the superb keyboard player or a spell of brass delivered perfectly from their 2 piece horn section.
The stage was awash with dreads, skate shoes, hair and baseball caps, it was a sight to behold and one that really made you want to kick back, loosen up and swing along to their eclectic blend of music.
Right at the front of the crowd was Andy Quick from LOTG along with most of his band, I know that these guys are very close and have played together a lot over the years, great to see that both acts are happy to support each other, a real show of solidarity.
So, what do you get if you cross Electronica / Soul / Hip-Hop / Rock / Jazz & DnB with a shit load of quality musicians, a blistering stage presence and a firm knowledge in what people want to hear, you get ANTIMATADOR, now go check them out for yourselves!
Another break ensued, cigarettes were smoked, drinks were refreshed and after a short while, Land of the Giants were ready to take to the stage, just how were they going to manage to win the crowd back from the clutches of ANTIMATADOR who had done a fine job in warming everyone up very nicely indeed, well, keep on reading to find out!
By the time the lights dipped and the roar of the audience went up, the room was full…..and I really do mean full, the band took to the stage and launched straight into ‘Bangkok’, lifted from their latest EP which sounded amazing with Cy treating his guitar to a near death experience on stage. Summer and Gaz did a sterling job of providing some racy brass notes, Ted and Tom on drums and bass respectively held the back line whilst the band leader, Andy Quick delivered his trademark smoky vocals with a hint of ‘Northern’ charm which tends to drive the ladies wild (didn’t do a lot for me though….only kidding Andy, love you!)
‘Crazy Lady’ was delivered perfectly, a blend of upbeat reggae and tight riffs just set the place alight and it wasn’t long until the front few rows were jumping to the awesome sounds that boomed from the speakers. i know I doubted just how LOTG could steal their crown back from ANTIMATADOR after their amazing set but it was soon apparent that they had bought with them a massive fanbase who were really up for a great night out and dropped everything to respond to what they were being delivered.
Andy introduced a new track that they hadn’t played much, this sounded tight with some great guitar work and a solid backbone courtesy of the rhythm section, a ship needs a good skipper and with Andy Quick at the helm, you know that you’re heading in the right direction.
One of the highlights from the set for me was ‘Holy Funk’, again lifted from their latest EP, it sounded even better live than it does on the CD, unsure how that is even possible but I swear it did! They followed this up with ‘Surrender’ with it’s almost calypso beat and summer reggae vibes, it lifted the room, providing a small slice of paradise at the same time, like a can of Lilt or a Bounty bar (can you still get them?)
They were saving the big guns until the end of the set and when they launched into the opening bars of ‘The Drop’ the place went off, EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE was dancing, even I had put my notebook down to skank along to the sweet sweet music that they were belting out (and believe me folks, that doesn’t happen often!)
Finishing off the set, they launched into a tremendous version of ‘Jump Around’ made famous by ‘House of Pain’ a few years back, I’ve never heard a Northerner rap and I must say that Andy did a brilliant job of it!
Throughout the set, I looked up at Summer and Cy who both had the biggest grins on their faces, being 2 of the 3 ‘newbies’ to the band, it was great to see them having so much fun! Gaz was leaping about the stage like a man possessed, threatening to take heads off as he swung his trombone and dreads about the place. It really was a roller coaster ride of a set, they took us up high with some of the most amazing guitar and horn work I’d heard in a long while, they drove us through the lowlands with some tight bass and at times, almost tribal drum beats, all this whilst Andy soared over the top of the lot of them, looking down from up high at all of the people that had congregated in Exeter to see his band taking to the stage and ripping the roof off the place.
All in all, an amazing evening of music from three superb bands, made even more epic by a capacity crowd that provided an absolutely killer atmosphere for all present.
Words - Steve Muscutt
Photography - Rhodri Cooper