Gig Review: TesseracT / Unprocessed / The Callous Daoboys – Rock City, Nottingham (20th February 2024)

The weather is wet and the sky is gray as we find ourselves drawn to Rock City for a night of some innovative bands, with the UK’s almighty TesseracT at the helm.

The Callous Daoboys (c) Jayne Slater

The Callous Daoboys opened up the night for us. I have heard many praises for this American mathcore band as of late, but left myself to be surprised by a live show before checking them out. The band came equipped with a violinist, I wasn’t expecting that. The vocalist has great soft vocals, reminiscent of 2000s nu-metal band vocalists. The harsh vocals had this great high pitch to them that almost made them sound like a demon trying to get out. The guitarist would add to the harsh vocals, adding his own lows and growls.

The venue wasn’t filled out yet for the band. But that didn’t stop them from addressing those here already. Assuming the crowd wouldn’t be starting a circle pit anytime soon, they dedicated their heavy songs to those who will be in one later. When the breakdowns would come, the members on stage would be jumping, moshing and in some cases two-stepping. The band made the stage feel smaller than I remembered. I don’t know if it’s because there were 6 members, but I’m genuinely surprised by how small the stage looks with them on it.

As the band warmed up the audience, they managed to convince a small group of men to start a small pit circle. The vocalist then started throwing out some pig squeal type screams. The men in the pit were pushing each other and throwing up their hands singing the lyrics. One lyric I swear was “meow”, but maybe I went into psychosis for a brief second, I’m unsure. The band wrapped their set with a promise to return soon and encouraged people to come say “hi”.

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Unprocessed (c) Jayne Slater

Unprocessed were next. I was excited to see this band, I’ve been witnessing their growing popularity first hand and they might be the band I’m most excited for tonight. Following on from our opener, the boys look young, giving the impression they may be shy and fresh. Their interaction with the crowd however was great. They introduced themselves and would constantly be telling people “circle pit” or “make some noise”.

The crowd was vibing, to the 4-piece German band. I could hear people exclaiming “holy shit” at the barrier, as I stood in the photo pit. The harsh vocals of the singer come out of nowhere, accompanied with some guitar playing like that of Polyphia. The vocalist would casually be striking some intricate melody and then scream with immense grit or simply just roar lyrics down the mic. I could hear people in the crowd cheering as the vocalist hit the notes. Truly a sight to see.

All the members held their own on stage. The guitarists would be changing places, even the vocalist switching places with a guitarist at one point, as the latter screamed into the mic. All members on the front lines would be jumping and moshing their heads, at one point doing that in-unison-moshing that takes me back to the 2010 days (in a good way). I wish the bass on the speakers was turned down a tad because I swear I was hearing that more than the singer at times. But regardless, it’s such a great thing to see when a band incorporates so many different elements into their music. The contrast between vocals, guitar melodies and the kick of the drum creates such an intense atmosphere.

I like to look around the crowd during the intermission and see what other music fans of the headliners listen to. We have some Sleep Token rep (a standard at gigs now), Bad Omens, Knocked Loose and some Architects shirts sprinkled in there. The age of fans was one of the most diverse I’ve seen in a while. I could see a lot of older men lining the barrier, eagerly waiting for the headliner to come on.

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Tesseract (c) Jayne Slater

TesseracT are a 5-piece East Midlands based band. They released their latest album War of Being in 2023, which has been the catalyst for this current tour.

The band of the hour, TesseracT, make their entrance. The lights dim down as two guitarists go either side of the stage. The light halo-ing them from behind. The drummer sits behind his station. Then on comes another guitarist, this time he wears a hood and no shoes. Then the vocalist comes on adding to the already uproarious crowd. They get straight into their set, not stopping till about the 4th song to address the crowd, commanding them to “make some noise.” The crowd obliged gladly.

I’m assuming the band has their own light tech for this show because the lights were popping. A nightmare for some, but it adds so much to the stage presence when the lights are matching the vibe. The breakdowns seemed that much heavier with the flashing and deep red vibrancy blinding you in the eyes or the pink and blue lights during the more mellow parts creating that almost deep space atmosphere.

It was only really the vocalist and guitarist with no shoes that were constantly on the move. The latter brought a vibe of his own as he seemed to go trance-like during the slow beats of some songs. The vocalist would move from side to side, I could tell he was feeling the music, as he would bang his chest to the beat and I’m pretty sure he was closing his eyes everytime he stopped for a second to hit some of those notes.The harsh vocals felt raw and the contrast from the soft vocals really pull you in.

Though there wasn’t a solidified circle pit that formed throughout the set, that didn’t stop the crowd below from moshing and jumping. TesseracT brings a vibe with them on stage that means you can’t help but be brought along for the ride. The band will be touring the UK til the end of February before heading out to tour internationally.

Photos by Jayne Slater

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