Manchester Academy three, host to Gibraltarian metallers Breed 77, at first has the kind of atmosphere you’d expect to find at a regional stare-out competition, maybe it’s just me, but there’s something distinctly disheartening about that. Opening act, Symphony Cult seem positively undeterred by this.
Throughout their set, vocalist Charlotte Lubbock croons over her full-metal backing, pouting at individual members of the audience, beckoning punters at the bar to step towards the stage (they don’t). There has been more movement at an over 80’s bowls final but Symphony cult seem to be having a great time here tonight, especially towards the latter parts of their gig when ironically – their songs begin lose their impact but the venue starts to fill.
Much to the joy of second support act; Our Malevolent Tyranny (O.M.T for future reference in case you have trouble chanting it.) They have as much promise and purpose as any up-and-coming metal band around at this era; titles like ‘Blood-Stained Society’, ‘Our Evil Ruler’ and ‘Blue Eyed Love’ leave a little more to be desired but each and every component of their set-list tonight is delivered with conviction and brutality.
Goliath frontman Stewart Ferguson occupies the miniscule stage with expertise – stomping around and bellowing his guts out, then he addresses the audience and sounds like he could belong in the Mitchell family. I almost expect him to tell us to git ahhhtaaa his pub, but he doesn’t.
Now it is an important day for tonight’s headliners, their long-awaited album ‘Insects’ is released today and the air is buzzing (no pun intended) with anticipation.
Vocalist Paul Isola takes the stage donning a gask mask as an eerie intro precedes new single ‘Wake Up’ which has a verse almost impossible to even enthusiastically ‘nod your head to’ but when the chorus kicks in, Breed 77 demonstrate their capabilities to combine memorable hooks with gung-ho vocals which at the end leave the crowd undoubtedly woken up. (Did I even see a mini mosh pit there?)
Despite a few problems with sound, they immediately stamp their mark on a stage which is (arguably) way too small for them. The twin guitar dynamics of Danny Felice and Pedro Caparros are reminiscent of 80’s guitar duos (minus the poodle hair and glitter), and bassist Stuart Cavilla is as precise as ever. Crowd pleasers like the Latin-tinged ‘World’s On Fire’, and climactic ballad ‘Empty Words’ are mixed entirely with new material.
The new additions (whilst sacrificing the ethnic touch of a lot of their older tracks) are complete with rhythmic percussion, harsher vocals and more technicality than anything the band has ever performed before. Title track ‘Insects’ influences ants-in-the-pants movement, and the galloping verses of ‘Revolution On My Mind’ doesn’t quite see the crowd swarming around the place (I’ll stop with the insect puns) but with arranged interludes between songs and an impressive drum solo from Ozzy Preciado, their set list has never felt more complete.
Paul’s huge personality and stage presence ultimately make up for the small stage they occupy. He commands the crowd with ease – ordering the audience to jump in time to their cover of The Cranberries ‘Zombie’ and the classic set closer ‘La Ultima Hora’ shows off the energy these boys deliver at every opportunity.
‘Without you we’re five very small guys.’ Paul states ‘We’re not huge. We don’t make the front of magazines. But all that will change!’ We hope so indeed.