Professors of their craft. Arcane Roots flawlessly showcase a sensational collection of masterpieces (on a bloody Sunday!)
Epic Studios has played host to a variety of gigs, as a result of this you never quite know what you are going to get. The room seems to change shape and size every time I go to the venue, depending on the act gracing the stage on the night, however, it always seems to deliver. The heavy, mood-setting black curtains marked off the area of the venue that had been selected for this show. The stage was decked with a plethora of intricate lighting displays and set the ambience perfectly. With the ales in full flow and the beards looking extra straggly, it was time for the night to commence. I had been lucky enough to see Arcane Roots before and was prepared for what was to come. Or, so I thought…
Walking into the venue was made very pleasant by being greeted by these guys. It is apparent that the band have bundles of talent. The three-piece appeared to transcend genres with angelic vocals and a blend of indie-alternative, atmospheric ear porn. I don’t feel like I managed to catch quite enough of these guys to warrant giving them a ‘byteage’ however, it must be said that they were great. It was clear to see the reason behind Arcane Roots hand-picking this band to support them on this tour. Be sure to check them out.
Press to MECO:
Sometimes a band comes along that surprises you and on Sunday night, that band was Press to MECO. I knew of PTM before this performance, I was aware of their proggy, math rock style likened to Muse, Biffy Clyro and Arcane Roots themselves. Yet, I was still utterly captivated by this impressive live set and I think it’s fair to say so were a large proportion of Sunday night’s crowd. The SE-based trio masterfully recreated just a handful of songs that from start to finish were executed perfectly note for note. The musicianship was mesmerising and their energy infectious.
Overall, they have an unconventional sound, with vocals reminding me of early Lower Than Atlantis records at times whilst also producing a rhythmically and melodically diverse dynamic that keeps the listener engaged throughout. Their stage presence also ropes you in, whether it be the energetic between-song audience participation or the simple notion of witnessing a band that is clearly having fun, smiling throughout. Highlights came from their most recent singles, If All Parts Don’t Make A Whole and Here’s To The Fatigue that really showed this band have great credentials to go on and light up the alternative UK music scene.
I’d love to see Press To MECO again, they got me going and were a brilliant warm-up to the Arcane Roots headline set. If you’d like to see them too, check out Don Broco’s upcoming UK tour in February that they’re supporting for a number of dates. Alternatively, crack their first album and recent singles a listen on Spotify or streaming service of your choice; they’re brill.
Words by Euan Dickson.
Where do I start? Both support bands did a fantastic job in setting the ambience of the room, but it was time for the baton to be passed onto the main event of the evening. There was something special about the feel of this one, the crowd was not a group of hormone-fuelled angst, waiting to throw their weight around to some ‘heavy music’. It couldn’t haven’t been further from this, it was a collection of attendees who had brought their ticket to experience the opera. It seemed that the only common ground between all that filled the room was the admiration of Andrew Groves’ incredible beard (an ‘in Pictures’ post will be up on the website, be sure to check it out if you are part of the fan-club).
Up first was one of the band’s leading singles from their 2017 release, Melancholia Hymns. An incessant ticking relentlessly bounded from the speakers and that could only lead into one track, Off The Floor. Immediately, I knew we were in for a treat. As soon as the first note left the frontman’s mouth it felt as though a thousand hairs on my body stood on end. The stage detonated in light and musical prowess, it was hard to focus on one of the many tiny moving parts. Not a note or beat missed. A flawless opening.
Sacred Shapes and Second Breath were great additions to the set, reminding everyone in the room of the calibre of the band’s first full-length Blood and Chemistry. The band relished in the energy of these tracks, throwing caution to the wind by launching their limbs in every and each direction. The breakdown of Sacred Shapes was particularly immense and when it kicked in, the room was electric. I am so glad the band made the choice to include these absolute bangers into their schedule for the evening. Curtains and Solemn were further welcome additions, featuring incredible musicianship from each member of the band. I was sceptical about how their latest releases would stand up against their killer material released prior. I can assure you that it is as monumental as the rest of their discography.
For me, the highlight of the set was undoubtedly the new music that the band showcased. Landslide commences with the velvet tones of Groves’ laid over his accompanying guitar. Just as I had become settled with being serenaded, the three-piece exploded with the force of a million instruments. Groves effortlessly slipped from his falsetto into his second realm of comfort, a gritty growl to rival anyone in the hardcore scene. It was as if I had been punched clean in the jaw. This track is going to be huge, with the band hinting that they would be announcing some “brand new” material in March, it is definitely worth keeping an ear out for this one.
The show could not have finished in a better fashion. Slow Dance, Curtains and If Nothing Breaks, Nothing Moves made for the perfect crescendo. The first of the hat trick was Slow Dance, infectious in nature and powerful in execution. This is one of my favourite Arcane Roots songs, seeing it live without a doubt cemented this. Curtains was spine-tingling, blending a plethora of instruments into one huge personification of musicianship. Finally, to close was the most mammoth of the lot. If Nothing Breaks, Nothing Moves was utterly flawless. The band gave it their all for this one, hitting every note with passion and the energy of three children who had consumed one too many E-numbers. It was incredible. This song is such a treat live.
I struggle to use mere words to describe the ability of this band. The fact that they are playing venues where tickets are less than £15 pounds baffles me. The quality of their performances warrants a hell of a lot more, luckily this isn’t what the band is about. One thing that is clear is their absolute love for playing music, the passion accelerates from the stage. I struggle to remember a Sunday evening where I have had as much fun as this. I can confirm that Arcane Roots can do it on a wet, windy night in Norwich. The band continue their tour of the UK and Europe in March, be sure to catch them then. You will not regret it.
Big thanks to Matt from Devil PR for sorting the show, Euan Dickson for the words and Megan Foxen for the incredible photos.