Friday nights make the week worthwhile, but Friday nights at KOKO going to see Bury Tomorrow make the year worthwhile. The venue itself, majestic on many levels (literally) radiates atmosphere and energy, and the hype surrounding the epic rise of Bury Tomorrow meant the place was packed. Thank god for a bar on every floor!
We got to the venue in time to catch the support from Hands Like Houses, a 6 piece outfit from Australia signed to Rise Records. A punchy and upbeat kind of band, they incited plenty of sing along’s from the fans that were there. It all started a little bit “poppy” for my liking, kicking off with Shapeshifters which was sweet but reminiscent of emo bands of my teenage years. Seeing as everyone was here to see Bury Tomorrow, it just didn’t quite sit well. They did, however, get heavier throughout the set with fast clean drumming moving things along. As the heavier songs kicked in, the keyboardist seemed to become a little redundant – so he assumed the role of backing dancer! They are clearly a band who does not take themselves too seriously, and their enthusiasm was catching. When they finished with “Introduced Species”, everyone was moving, fist pumping and singing along. I’d be very interested to see them at their own show, as I think the range of their material would make for good ebb and flow in a longer set.
The playlist in between Hands Like Houses and Bury Tomorrow is definitely worth a mention- it seems like the crowd loved the mix of cheesy chart music and older hip hop! It did help keep everyone lively and buoyant, which meant the energy instigated by the support wasn’t lost. By the time Bury Tomorrow were ready for the stage, the crowd were gagging for it and ready to get moving.
The opening strains of “Man on Fire”, therefore, set the room off. The classic double tap drumming from Jackson was lifted by the bruisy atmospheric vocals of Bates, and the peaks and troughs of the songs offset by rousing choruses that were shouted and screamed back to the band by the crowd. A menacing sound underlying the next few songs were offset by Bates’ medieval story telling between the songs, engaging with everyone in the crowd. This is a huge part of why the band is of keen interest to so many fans- they have a great technique of making them all feel part of the group. Although I have to say, the “Fuck you Simon Cowell” and slightly too long rant about the corporate music industry got a bit dull.
Despite this, their songs speak for themselves. The Slipknot-esque tones of Knight Life always work well, and the head banging breakdowns are clever when interlaced with beautiful guitar runs. In every interlude the tensions were building, in every song the crowd didn’t seem to tire. Literally smashing people’s heads together, Bates was fully involved and they actually managed to instigate a circle pit around the middle pillar of KOKO. If you have been there, you will know that this essentially means the entire bottom floor were involved.
The full set was well considered, and their two song encore of You & I and Lionheart really left everyone dying to continue the party. It is no surprise, therefore, that their album “Runes” made it to number 34 in the album chart- an incredible feat considering. Their fans are happy to fork out for the album, and recommend it to their friends, which is one of the traits I do love about the metal scene. A great album it is, so I’d recommend picking it up. I would recommend more, however, going to see them at a show- they are a band that I think work better in a venue as opposed to a festival. They are supporting heavyweight Caliban on a European tour, so we will wait with baited breath for when we can see them back in the UK!