RavenEye are one of the most exciting bands to come out of the UK in years. It’s bands like this trio and Stone Broken that re-assure people rock is alive and well. It’s been some time since RavenEye have played to a Glasgow crowd and with their recently released debut album, Nova, people are out in their droves to witness something special.
Opening proceedings a little after doors open are Animals to Creators. Unperturbed by their short slot, they rattle through every song with barely enough time to breathe. It’s a dark and gritty set with a stoner vibe to it and it seems a lot of people have turned out early to see them, slowly winning over the crowd and warming up the people who aren’t perusing the merchandise stall or the bar. It’s not particularly to my taste but they lock in tightly as a three piece and are out to impress. One early track featured an eerily similar drum track to a song I’m very familiar with and whilst drummer Mark Waters worked just as hard as his colleagues, it felt at times he was more focused on flashy tricks with his drumsticks rather than his drum work itself.
Up next are Anchor Lane and they waste no time in making themselves known. Before they’ve even finished the first song, they’ve got the crowd eating out the palm of their hand. The gritty hard rock is a good fit for tonight but here, Anchor Lane aims for a more melodic slant. What really impresses me is the professionalism and the polish on the live set. You can tell they’ve put the effort in and are revelling in the adulation they’re receiving. They know how to command a crowd and whilst it may be the kind of rock that many new bands are pushing, these guys do it far better than most. Definitely a band to keep an eye out on.
Pariah Soul follow and with a job on their hands to follow Anchor Lane, it’s one they accept. More laidback than the preceding bands, there’s a more Southern tone here but what they do have in common is their tightly-delivered performance. They’re eager to get the crowd to join in with several times asking for your usual rhythmic clapping which they oblige them with. They’re more keen on chatting between songs but it hits wide of the mark, mostly. That, combined with a grumpy-looking bass player who looked like he didn’t want to be there (or maybe looking mean and intimidating is his thing), ultimately holds them back from being so much better than they could be.
RavenEye burst onto the stage just after nine and with a short set for themselves, they grab the crowd as a collective and pin them to the ground and the wall of bluesy, distorted guitar sounds from Oli Brown kicks things into life. Immediately, the familiar grungy tones of “Inside” start and the audience springs to life and Oli and bass man Aaron Spiers refuse to stand still for any length of time as they weave across Stereo’s stage and Oli’s legs bend in a way no man’s should.
Following that and the up-tempo “Hate”, Oli surrenders his guitar and allows a pure bass and drum driven track called “Nobody’s Soul” play out. Having free reign, Oli climbs on top of newcomer Adam Breeze’s drumhead before jumping off it and then make his first wander of the night into the crowd. After having “talked shit” and “Madeline”, the band bring it old school which goes down rather well with “Breaking Out” and somehow, it seems even heavier than before. As they hammer through the remainder of their set, comprised of Nova, they hit all the marks which are to be expected. Then comes the finale of “Eternity”; more soulful, fiercer and more passionate, the hairs on the back of my neck are standing to attention and you can feel something stir in the audience. They’re experiencing the same thing too.
Always an energetic band, there’s a freshness to it; the trio are eager to play some fantastic songs from an amazing album. Don’t mistake their self-belief for arrogance for these guys know they’re a good band and rightly so, deserve every opportunity to be bigger. The chemistry between Oli and Aaron is palpable as they jump around the stage, occasionally bumping into Stereo’s pillar on the middle of the stage. Then, there’s the new blood of drummer Adam Breeze. Though I think I’m just going to call him a machine. Because that’s what he his. He’s effortlessly slotted in with his newfound bandmates to up the ante the power trio can deliver. Despite being so far back from the audience, his onstage presence overcomes this and feels like he’s up front and centre with the guitar and bass.
There’s flawless playing from both Oli and Aaron as they finger pick their way through their respective roles. The chunky grooves from Aaron are turned up nice and loud and add a richness to songs which are quickly turning into old friends. Meanwhile, as I’ve said before, Oli proves he’s one of the most exciting and frankly, brilliant guitarists out there. There’s no straining to hit his marks, in fact, quite the opposite and whilst he may be hitting pedals and switches constantly on his board, it builds into the character of the songs, rather than for the sake of it.
The encore of “Hero” and “Hey Hey Yeah” pulls out the big guns for the finale. The latter has everyone singing the song’s title back at the band before Oli jumps onto Aaron’s shoulders and they wander into the crowd once more before Aaron retreats to leave Oli playing his guitar in people’s faces. Triumphant, the band leave the stage and there’s an atmosphere of knowing; that this effervescent performance, was something that doesn’t come along all too often.