Empire + Chapter and Verse + Ember Weir + Monkey Bone + November Plot @ Sunflower Lounge, 15th March, 2017


Opening the show for Empire this evening were local bands Monkey Bone and November Plot who had both clearly bought a lot of their own fans to the Sunflower Lounge, made more obvious by the vacant space created by the time that Ember Weir took to the stage. Having recently supported Fatherson, its Ember Weir’s melodic take on rock with a whiff of indie that clearly resonates with the room this evening with the crowd’s reception getting warmer as the performance continues on. Currently receiving plays on Kerrang Radio, it’s obvious that the band are very new to the live environment however the songs are great and the performance shows a great deal of potential. Surely a band to keep an eye on.

It’s then time for London’s Chapter and Verse to take to the stage, giving an all encompassing performance as both vocalist Josh Carter and bassist Jonny Hopwood spend as much time off the stage as on it. Sharing a lot in common with tonight’s headliners, the bands performance is well received and I believe earn the band a headline slot of their own upon their return to our fine city.

Forming in 2012 Empire have been bubbling under the surface for a while following the release of their mini album ‘Where The World Begins’ and EP ‘Our Simple Truths’. In part lead by the vocal talent of lead vocalist Joe Green, the band create accessible and catchy pop rock songs that are clearly meant for much bigger rooms than the band find themselves in this evening.  However whether this could be considered an intimate show or in fact the size of venue that the band are deserving of  is debatable due to the poor turnout they find themselves with. It also doesn’t help that the band seem clearly fatigued and tired that sometimes turns into an atmosphere of not wanting to be here at all. Which on the way back down from success may be excusable, but for a band seemingly on the way up to not show a hunger and excitement for the performance is disappointing. That said however the band sonically sounds incredible and at points surpass the quality of their recordings providing much more bite to their songs. Green’s vocals also astound all those present and reach heights that some would consider not possible for a male vocalist. Tracks such as ‘Black Heart’ and ‘Future, Past and Present’ get the crowd moving and singing however there always remains an awkward air throughout the venue. Whether it’s an off night or a regular occurrence I could not comment, but the potential of this band can surely only be met once the live performance and song writing talents are met in unison.


Reviewer: Dan Earl

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