It’s rare that every band on the bill is as satisfyingly entertaining as each other, but in this case the night was in full flow by 7.55pm. An impressive crowd had gathered to see the opening band Toska, who carry an established reputation online as proficient and versatile musicians and approachable guys. Those who came early enough to see Ben, Dave and Rabea were treated to half an hour of instrumental madness, mixing the clarity and musicality of Karnivool with the technicality of Periphery and adding in some truly thrilling instrumental virtuosity. Their sound was also the most focussed of the evening, resulting in one of the most dialled-in sets I’ve ever heard.
When In Dynamics took to the stage, considering the rest of the bill, I was taken aback by their distinctly indie-vintage uniform. As it turned out their particular brand of Biffy Clyro-core, spilling into pretty heavy territory in the live setting, was immensely compelling. Frontman Beau Boulden impressed with his vocal acrobatics and got a crowd that was obviously made up of a great deal of Arcane Roots fans moving and even thrashing around to the heavier sections. An interesting break from the hard rock surroundings.
Arcane Roots commanded awe from the audience as soon as they began, exploding out of the gates with “Over & Over” and an overwhelming strobe-light show. Every song was received as a fan-favourite, most of their set being drawn from their two most recent releases, and there was moshing and chanting of “ROOTS” aplenty. Though only a trio, Roots’ dynamic sound filled every corner of the room, underpinned by Adam Burton’s huge bass tone. Highlights were “Sacred Shapes” and “If Nothing Breaks, Nothing Moves,” as well as the mostly solo rendition of “Belief” frontman Andrew Groves sung with the audience to close the set in a touching show of intimacy and gratefulness. Between these three bands, this evening was a display of the very best in mixing melody, musicianship and volume into compelling and exciting music without compromising the ability to interact with the crowd. The crowd in question was certainly appreciative.