Its my first time at Mama Roux’s and I’m suitably impressed, Its a super cool, quirky venue with painted frescoes and hanging plants, like the outside inside if you catch my drift.
Up first are Welsh boys Casey . I’ve been really enjoying their debut record ‘Love is not Enough’ which I stumbled over after seeing the striking pink album cover popping up on friends instagram feeds. People were singing their praises and I was definitely looking forward to seeing them play. Its always hard being the first band on a bill but Casey certainly proved they could more than handle it putting in a solid, emotive performance. Their lead singer certainly seems a bit shy as he slumps himself over the microphone stand but he has a presence and a sound voice that makes up for it. Their sounds are certainly pretty dark and ‘Ceremony’ sees him jump into the crowd handing the microphone over to a fan to finish it off which is a pretty cool move. I’m glad I came down early to catch these guys.
Next up are Capsize, by no means a bad band but I’ve seen them before and wasn’t exactly too fussed over seeing them again. The lead singer seems a bit frustrated with the crowd at first urging them to get closer and even remarking on the fact that he had been told ‘Birmingham is a slow and quiet one’. I’m not sure whether to take offence at that statement but I’ve certainly been embarrassed for the crowd on numerous occasions… There are a fair few circle pits that open up during the set though so we can’t be that slow and quiet right!?
Their guitarist who was on double duty for both Capsize and Casey has certainly saved some in the tanks for this performance, providing the screams and rocking out on his guitar. Early on in the set I get the impression that the lead singer is just going through the motions but maybe he just needed a few songs to get into the swing of things as he is certainly trying his darn hardest to get the energy he is expressing into the crowd and even has a go at scaling the speaker stack. He remarks on the fact there’s no barrier and demands stage divers which disappointingly only gets one slightly pathetic attempt and a slightly awkward mic grab.
4 bands is a lot of bands on one bill and I’m kind of itching to watch Being as an Ocean but I’m pleasantly surprised by Burning Down Alaska. The band hail from Germany and by no means are doing anything amazingly original but what they do they do well. They have 2 vocalist, one who’s just a straight up hardcore vocalist but then they throw in a curve-ball with their enigmatic clean vocalist who is an absolute pleasure to watch. At first I thought he was just guesting on one song as he would do his part then leave the stage but then I realised that he was more than that. He was certainly enjoying himself on and off the stage and his passion just seemed so genuine. The crowd seemed to enjoy them too and with some more speaker stack scaling and a classic sit down to jump back up again perfectly executed its safe to say I thoroughly enjoyed their set.
I think I have my Spotify discover weekly playlist to thank for getting me into Being as an Ocean and I was totally stoked at the prospect of seeing them live for the first time. The room is plunged into darkness as they take to the stage and they head right into their new single ‘OK’. The lighting is sweet if a little blinding but it certainly adds to the atmosphere. Its a strong set from start to finish and Joel Quartuccio is one hell of an imposing front-man and is almost like a preacher up on stage giving off as much forceful energy as the crowd is giving back to him.
The drums sound huge and the tone is so very good. He touches on Trump before launching into the huge ‘Dead G-D’ plowing his way through the pit in what is a pretty poignant moment. ‘Little Ritchie’ is a huge cathartic release and see’s Joel take a little venture up onto the balcony, orchestrating the crowd from the back of the room before falling into the crowd where he is caught, resting on the crowds shoulders before being taken back to the stage. He comes across as an incredibly humble guy, making a huge effort to interact with his fans by really getting into the thick of things. They close with ‘The Hardest Part is Forgetting…’ and Joel stands and say ‘Remember simply as you are human you are worthy of love and compassion’, an important and heartfelt statement to make especially in the current state of world affairs. The pleas from the crowd for one more song don’t go unanswered as the band take to the stage for ‘This Loneliness Won’t be the Death of Me’ which is a slow burner but picks up before slowing down again to almost a spoken word performance. At the request of Joel the crowd is asked to ‘Let everything go and just be in the moment and I certainly try my best to enjoy the moment and be thankful that live music is the ultimate method of escapism.
Reviewer – Hannah Sebestjanowicz
Photographer – Adriana Vasile