RavenEye - Exchange, Bristol
Nowadays, whether you are at the top of your game or just starting out, bands never seem to do in in-depth tours anymore. What mostly happens is a band hitting key cities with an expectation that ardent fans will travel to come and see them. Sometimes this works for the likes of mega-bands like Metallica or Iron Maiden but not necessarily for smaller bands.
RavenEye, on the other hand, buck this trend having recently announced their 'It Ain't Over Till It's NOVA' tour celebrating the tour cycle of their debut record, NOVA. Hitting no less than 15 dates across the UK, including the likes of Norwich and Stoke On Trent. And bringing out the cream of the crop in terms of up and coming bands is also a great show of support for new music.
First up in the sweatbox that is the Exchange in Bristol is the first of three power trios of the night, the all female rock 'n' roll machine, iDestroy. With a mix of Britpop, Blondie and the Ramones the band make a hell of a racket with a great big dollop of syrupy harmonies and backing vocals to boot. Next up are meat and potatoes rock 'n' roll scrappers SKAM, with a mix of Thin Lizzy and a backbone of Alter Bridge, SKAM play hard and in drummer Neal Hill have one of the hardest hitting sticksmen in the game, with new single 'Iron Cross' a particular highlight.
Headliners RavenEye finish the night off with a bang, playing a variety of songs from their debut album and their sole EP to date. The hard hitting 'Hate' and the classic-in-the-making 'Inside' are played as if there is no tomorrow. Drummer Adam Breeze can't help himself and jumps from behind the drums at multiple points to energise the crowd, like Lars Ulrich of Metallica used to do 20 years ago. The set is slowed down with a three guitar acoustic 'Eternity' with all three members hitting sweet high harmonies before the pace picks up with bass player Aaron Spiers taking lead guitarist/vocalist Oli Brown for a wander around the crowd on his shoulders AC/DC style.
A new song is revealed, maybe called 'You & I', and is reminiscent of Soundgarden showcasing the vocal prowess of Brown as he sings without his guitar, simply bellowing over Spiers' squealing bass and Breeze's thunderous drums. If this is a mark of the second album to come, we're all in good hands, a triumphant night for all involved. For anyone leaving the Exchange tonight, when RavenEye are massive and playing arenas in their own right, you can say you were here and the band left every drop of energy in the room.
Photography by Louis Du Toit