SUPPORT: Skywalker, Revealer
REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
PHOTOS by CORRINE ROWELL
Above the stage of The Hairy Dog, fast becoming the go-to place in Derby to check out some great rock and metal, was a sign saying, “If We’re Going To Do It, We’re Going To Do It Loud!“, and that was exactly what post-hardcore quintet Canvas, accompanied by Czechs Skywalker and Leicestershire metalcore outfit Revealer, had on their agenda.
There were supposed to be four collectives on the bill, however, just a few days before, Essex melodic hardcore band Create To Inspire had to pull out, understandably, due to a unforeseen family emergency.
However, despite their absence, it still promised to be a good evening.
Revealer kicked things off by going hell for leather with a set abundant in brutality and intensity, which perfectly complimented their sound.
Frontman Alex Griffiths, was particularly menacing throughout, screaming himself hoarse with a deep, growling vocal delivery, and constantly looked as if he was going to jump off the stage and pick a fight with somebody in the crowd.
However, he broke from this persona for a moment when he took the time to dedicate one of their songs to a close friend of the band, who had sadly passed away recently.
Alex then pulled his coat hood up and stared down at the floor for a few seconds, before launching himself back into full flow as the track kicked in.
Judging by their stage presence, and the reaction to the music from the audience, it surely won’t be too long before Revealer are playing on larger stages to bigger gatherings.
Having chatted with the lead vocalist of Skywalker, Jay Kutcher, prior to the gig, he came across as a calm, polite, softly-spoken young man, but he was anything but that while his bandmates were playing.
This was a good thing, though, because it better enabled him to really do the frank lyrical matter, along with a combination of post-hardcore and subtle pop-punk, justice.
It was clear whilst I was watching them that the Prague five-piece had a natural enthusiasm for performing live, it seemed that everybody on that stage was really living in the moment, with Jay confidently engaging in witty banter with the crowd, telling everybody to be 100% positive in 2018, and it offered a concrete explanation for why they have such a stellar gigging reputation in the UK and much of Europe.
With no offence to the other bands, who had put on brilliant sets in their own rights, it was obvious that Canvas were the guys everyone had to come to see, with many in the crowd wearing a T-shirt adorned with an eye shedding lots of tears, the collective’s logo, which also took pride of place at the back of the stage.
They played an impressive set, with each of the five members on top form, showing exactly why they had gone down so well on their European tour last autumn.
Unlike Jay and Alex, who had both given animated performances, Canvas’s frontman Ricky Clarke elected to stand in front of the microphone, tilting his head to one side so his long locks covered one of his eyes, and just scream the lyrics out with much angst.
They must have worked very hard on getting every aspect of their live set right, but they did it with such professionalism that it seemed, in a good way, that very little effort had been made.
Overall, it was an evening in which, despite the rather low turnout, all three outfits playing brought everything they could to the table, resulting in a show that was loud, brash and entertaining.