Emarosa + Skyes + Grumble Bee @ o2 Institute, 29th September 2016

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Grumble Bee is the solo project of Jack Bennett, this evening opening up for Emarosa at the O2 Institute 3 in Birmingham. In the live environment Jack is complemented by live bassist Zach Phelps and drummer Callum Connell, who both add an element of heaviness to the music that perhaps isn’t as prevalent on the debut EP ‘Disconnect’. It’s personally noted that upon first discovering Grumble Bee at 2000 Trees festival, there was an immediate comparison drawn between the band and the headliners for this evening so I was very pleased to see them billed together on this tour. Grumble Bee are an excellent band both on record and in the live environment, even with Jack stating he was suffering vocally after being on vocal rest all day previous. This doesn’t reflect in the performance at all, although it would sometimes be nice to hear Jack’s voice showcased more prevalently. Performing tracks such as Sky Writer and Francium from debut album, these complex tracks are well delivered live and it’s clear that fans are being won over this evening. It should also be noted how humble the whole band come across both during the performance and afterwards, which is something that you can only hope remains as the band grow and grow. Grumble Bee have an upcoming headline show at The Sunflower Lounge in October.

Skyes have recently come off touring around America on the Warped Tour after befriending organiser Kevin Lyman, which perfectly explains why the band have found themselves on the bill this evening. However once they take to the stage and begin performing it proves quite confusing how the band fit into this evening. Sonically the band could easily be compared to the likes of PVRIS and Chvrches, support slots for both of which you can only imagine would most certainly help the bands career no end. That’s not to say the band are no good, they are excellent at what they do and provide a pop edge to the evening which is more than welcomed. Although the audience seem slightly hostile towards something a bit different, the band put on an excellent performance and are most a certainly a band to check out in the future.

Emarosa are an American post-hardcore band, who after a series of significant line up changes find themselves on UK shores for the release of ‘131’. This is the second release from vocalist Bradley Walden, however it’s the first time that the band have toured the UK with Bradley in tow. He’s an excellent front man and outstanding vocalist, even performing tracks such as ‘Truth Hurts Whilst Laying On Your Back’ and ‘Set It Off Like Napalm’ from before he was present in the band. It could be argued that these are performed better in fact, than they would have been if previous vocalist Jonny Craig was performing them, most certainly in the live environment. The rest of the band put on a great show as well, with new tracks such as ‘Cloud 9’ and ‘One Car Garage’ getting as good a reception as any. There’s no sign of tour fatigue as the band blast through the set, stating they won’t leave it as long until their next return. 131 has seen the band move on from their roots and strive to reach bigger and better places, and if this tour was considered as a stepping stone in terms of their career then their next return to the UK should be glorious.


Review: Dan Earl

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