Britrock Must Be Destroyed @ Digbeth Arena, 5 May 2018

Britrock Must Be Destroyed @ Digbeth Arena, 5 May 2018Britrock Must Be Destroyed @ Digbeth Arena, 5 May 2018Britrock Must Be Destroyed @ Digbeth Arena, 5 May 2018Britrock Must Be Destroyed @ Digbeth Arena, 5 May 2018Britrock Must Be Destroyed @ Digbeth Arena, 5 May 2018Britrock Must Be Destroyed @ Digbeth Arena, 5 May 2018Britrock Must Be Destroyed @ Digbeth Arena, 5 May 2018Britrock Must Be Destroyed @ Digbeth Arena, 5 May 2018Britrock Must Be Destroyed @ Digbeth Arena, 5 May 2018Britrock Must Be Destroyed @ Digbeth Arena, 5 May 2018Britrock Must Be Destroyed @ Digbeth Arena, 5 May 2018Britrock Must Be Destroyed @ Digbeth Arena, 5 May 2018Britrock Must Be Destroyed @ Digbeth Arena, 5 May 2018Britrock Must Be Destroyed @ Digbeth Arena, 5 May 2018Britrock Must Be Destroyed @ Digbeth Arena, 5 May 2018Britrock Must Be Destroyed @ Digbeth Arena, 5 May 2018Britrock Must Be Destroyed @ Digbeth Arena, 5 May 2018Britrock Must Be Destroyed @ Digbeth Arena, 5 May 2018Britrock Must Be Destroyed @ Digbeth Arena, 5 May 2018Britrock Must Be Destroyed @ Digbeth Arena, 5 May 2018

This is the first concert in a series to be held at the Digbeth Arena and as it is an outdoor venue, thank the Lord that it is one of the warmest weekends of the year so far.

The three bands on the line up are all performing for an hour and they switch positions on the bill every evening plus there are special guests Dodgy before the main three.

So first up tonight it’s Terrorvision’s turn. Despite being considerably more mature in years, since the last time I saw them, Terrorvision bring a vibrant energy to the stage with lead singer, Tony Wright, demonstrating the exuberance of an over-excited puppy as they enter the stage to a backing track of Tequila and then belt out Discotheque Wreck.

Throughout their set, the vivacity remains which invigorates the audience who are lapping up each song, noticeably by jumping up and down with their hands in the air and singing those big catchy choruses at full pelt.

These Bradford lads always did have the skill for churning out a rock singalong track with hits such as My House and Alice What’s The Matter that, back in the 90s would get most people on a dance floor joining in with their simplistic chorus line; and it seems like these songs still have that ability twenty years later.

Terrorvision were also masters of the tempo change to heighten the optimism of their music and this is demonstrated with the penultimate track, Pretend Best Friend, that sees the majority of the arena showing appreciation in some way or another. Mid-set my interest wanders slightly as there is only so much I can digest of upbeat, cheerful rock even if they are playing “songs from the last millennium when music was loud and nothing fucking mattered” but they end the set on a high with the ludicrously memorable Oblivion. Doo waps are resounding round the concrete shell, Tony is leaping off the monitors and the sun is shining which sums up the alacrity of Terrorvision.

The Wildhearts have taken the middle slot which Ginger assesses as perfect because the audience are getting drunk and he can relax earlier.

Despite their pop sensibilities, The Wildhearts are far grittier and more punk than Terrorvision as you can tell from song titles such as My Baby Is A Headfuck which makes an appearance halfway through the set.  I Wanna Go Where The People Go starts off a run of old Wildhearts classics which include T.V. Tan, Caffeine Bomb and the Motörhead inspired SuckerPunch, all of which could have done with being louder so you could feel the full impact.

Ginger is clearly in his element on stage and, to be honest, it is hard to imagine him having any other career as his attitude towards music and other musicians has meant that the band have had a turbulent history. However, tonight, he genuinely appears to be appreciating playing.  Danny McCormack’s return to the band is welcomed too even though he now has to play seated, the bass wonderfully complements the rough guitar riffs of CJ and Ginger and the connection between the members is evident especially during Everlone with its rhythmic changes.

Closing with 29 X The Pain and Love U ‘Till I Don’t, The Wildhearts have produced a solid hour of dirty punk inspired rock and sound far more cohesive than they did way back when.

Reef complete the trio of headliners and noticeably the quality of sound is far greater than for the other two bands; it has a richer depth not just increased volume. As the sun has gone down, they are the first band to be able to exploit the lighting rig and as they release Higher Vibration the stage is swathed in blue lights.

Surprisingly for many, Reef unleash their most famous hit, Place Your Hands, very early on in the set but plays to their strengths as it draws the crowd in closer and engages their full attention.

Gary Stringer’s raspy and rugged vocal style penetrates through the arena and reminds me of how unique his voice is, especially during a more sensitive song such as Consideration where he can truly demonstrate his capabilities. Add Stringer’s voice to the guitar playing of Jesse Wood and the groove that the rhythm section of Bessant and Greensmith create, then at times Reef begin to feel more like The Black Crowes especially during How I Got Over which, in my opinion, is a bonus.

Stringer moves around the breadth of the stage, making the most of the monitors at either side to connect with as much of the audience as possible and this is appreciated more as the commercially successful tracks, such as Come Back Brighter, are played.

Reef finish the main section of the set with Naked but are the only band of the night to be persuaded to return for an encore, possibly because they are no longer under a tight schedule regarding time or maybe they are feeling the audience’s appreciation, either way Yer Old and End get a play. I have never been a Reef lover as I didn’t appreciate their hits so never bothered to investigate their music further, however, this evening’s performance has won me over and I have been tempted to take a look at their back catalogue.

Reviewer: Toni Woodward

Photographer: Chris Bowley

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