Hardcore band Casey’s sold-out London headline show with Rarity and Endless Heights was a textbook example of perfect performance.
Despite playing back to back shows since the 30th March, performing in Cologne the night before, the bands on offer still managed to execute one of the best shows that I have witnessed. The emotion and adrenaline of all the individual acts combined flawlessly, making each better than the last. All of the acts masterfully pulled off a perfect gig, leaving the audience longing for more.
The concert opened with Canadian support act Rarity, a highly acclaimed member of the hardcore community, who burst onto the stage with a heavy sound and strong presence. Despite boasting an incredibly impressive discography, this was Rarity’s first concert in the UK and, as they explained, within Europe as a whole. Their sound was almost pitch perfect and the songs mirrored those on their last album I Couldn’t be Weaker, with tracks Inhale and Orchid impressing both older and newer fans. Various pits within the crowd broke out throughout their set, only aided by the consistent presence of stage-divers. Among these were members of Rarity of themselves who sometimes went as far as to bring their instruments into the crowd with them.
The highlight of their set, especially for a long-time fan like myself, was a preview of one of their new songs. The track sat well with fans as only cheers and other such compliments were heard from the audience. This new track maintained the same punch as the rest of their discography and I am sure it will be a welcome addition to their musical database. Despite not having released any music since 2015, their sound and performance felt incredibly fresh while playing their older material. Their movement and energy on stage really made the songs come to life, with a colour and passion which burst through in each of their tracks.
Once Rarity’s set had ended, the audience was greeted by the remarkable performance of Australian band Endless Heights, an increasingly prominent band within the hardcore scene. Luckily, I was able to sit down with the band and have a chat which you can check out below. As part of their promotional tour for their newest album Vicious Pleasure, which came out in February 2018 (a review of which you can get here: https://wavebyte.co.uk/2018/02/16/endless-heights-vicious-pleasure/), Endless Heights took the stage with a mellow tone. Their set featured only their latest material which was tackled with a polished approach, helping them stand out from both Rarity and Casey’s performances. The bands sound has developed steadily over their almost decade-long existence, slowly integrating more melodic elements to their arsenal which gave it a balanced feel. I asked them about this during the interview – what drove this change? They explained “We have a lot of influence from bands like Citizen and bands like that. We went on tour with Basement a few years ago, and they were my favourite band for a long time. They shape where we’re at. I guess we’ve kind of got this weird thing going on where we can play super heavy songs like Run and then switch to softer songs. It’s incorporating the best of both worlds for us.” (You can listen to the full interview below.) Their songs maintained a clear mixture of heavy and lighter moments, giving the audience ample opportunities to both mosh and dance. Songs like You Coward and Come A Little Closer got some of the best responses from the audience, which caused leader singer Joel Martorana to upkeep more intimate interactions with the audience.
In hindsight, playing some, or at least a couple, of their older songs such as Teach Me How to Love or anything from their last album New Bloom would have been appreciated. However, the lack of the band’s older material did not take away from the performance. Hearing their new stuff only helped introduce the uninitiated fans to their tone and style, drawing them closer to the material they hoped to promote. From the friendly tone I received when meeting all the members, I sensed a confidence in their latest release and this may well be why it dominated their set. On stage, the band sang and danced with their music, embodying the emotional melodies which they played. Their performance was the perfect addition to Rarity’s opening, only exciting the room for Casey’s headline performance.
Casey’s arrival was perfect climax to the concert. Like Endless Heights, this tour was to promote their latest release Where I Go When I Am Sleeping. Also being released in February 2018, it is an emotional and atmospheric collection which they translated perfectly into their live performance (you can read all about it here: https://wavebyte.co.uk/2018/03/20/casey-where-i-go-when-i-am-sleeping/). The stage lighting shifted from a heavy purple to a dark blue which flooded the room, encompassing the melancholic character of their opening track Making Weight. The opening track set the precedence and only allowed the energy of the set to build with Phosphenes and Florescents which cemented the direction that the set would take. With only brief interludes with songs like Where I Am Going Sleeping, the show was centred on their heavier material. Notably tracks such as Teeth and Mourning all maintained the balance of the show, but also demonstrated the wider focus of the band’s performance.
Instead of wanting to showcase their new material, it was clear that they had built their set around the songs that would personify their emotion, excitement and energy. Although this is not officially confirmed by the band, it is a design which they implement in each of their albums. For example, with their latest release, frontman Tom Weaver told Rock Sound that the album was based upon the ‘his own physical and mental afflictions’, pinpointing a singular focus which persists throughout. With such a similarity in tone and energy between songs, it is likely that Casey meant to implement a similar pattern in their performance, placing all their most emotional and energetic music tactically to get the best reaction from their fans. The band finished with the poignant track Little Band which created a perfect climax to their emotive act.
By the end, each band made the effort to meet with fans and fulfil the promise they had all made on stage to thank them. Through conversions I had with each band, the genuine passion they have to perform and interact really spoke through in their character and actions. On most occasions, one could see members of each band within the crowd of each others set. making the effort to submerge themselves with fans, as well as support their fellow acts. For bands dabbling with emotionally infused music, interactions with their fan base is almost a necessity. Although this becomes harder to achieve, as conveyed by Endless Heights in their interview, each band clearly made the effort to interact with everyone in the room. As emphasised by both Joel and bassist Matt Jones, unity is one of the most crucial factors in this industry and this was upheld that evening.
George D. Knight
To anybody listening to the audio – unfortunately, towards the end, the support band started sound checking so apologies for any annoying fluctuation in volumes. Enjoy!
MJ = Matt Jones JM = Joel Martorana GK = George Knight
GK: What do you think is the message behind your album? If there even is a message?
MJ: Vicious Pleasure, to me, is a record about the language of the heart. Whether that’s romantic love, motherly love, fatherly love or whatever, the heart doesn’t – to me – distinguish between that. It’s a bit of a rollercoaster ride in all directions of just hurt and joy. Which kind of sounds generic, but the way I guess I’ve tried to paint that is through different moments of intimacy, and some songs are so raw, real, and heavy whereas others are heartbreaking at times. I think anyone who’s lived, (laugh) you know, or has gone through any form of extreme emotional experience, whether joy or pain or whatever, can connect with this. The hope is that this record is a look in the mirror, you know? We’re all human. We all make mistakes, and in the past I blamed a lot of other people for things, but this is about becoming a better version of you.
GK: Well I definetly think that came through, I liked the diversity you guys had in it. Just going onto the tour, how’s it been going? WE’ve already said it’s packed but it’s been day after day since like, March 30th?
MJ: Yeah March 30th, so we landed that morning, played a show everyday except one until now and will keep going until the 19th of April. We’re not used to that, but the drives are so short each day compared to Australia. And we usually drive ourselves, here we have a beautiful driver to help us out. We feel pretty good.
GK: Good luck on the rest of it then! It must be impossible, I can’t even imagine doing that sort of distance.
JM: And at the end of the day, this band started with just a bunch of best friends playing music we liked just for the fun and the heart of it. The fact we get to do that on the other side of the world, now as adults, it’s just really fun. I don’t wanna go home.
GK: Well you’re welcome to stay (laughs) What would you say is your biggest achievement? As a band? I’ve seen you guys play with major people like North Lane, Hands like Houses, Being as an Ocean.. things like that.
MJ: There’s so many.
JM: It sort changes each tour, like when we did the tour with Basement, they were my favourite band at the time so, I was so fucking stoked. That was our first ever tour. The only other thing we’d done is little weekends around Australia. That was in 2012 I think. We’ve played some pretty fucking cool shows, like we played a theatre in Sydney with Refuse, that’s pretty wild.
MJ: Yeah a massive one for me was we played a headline show in Bangkok a few years ago, my little brother was living there, volunteering teaching English to a small village, the show was psycho – it was so cool. But, I think in the most recent times, releasing this record… I’m so proud of it. In every way, anything I… it’s the record I’ve wanted to write since I was in a band. It’s like a whole new platform I wanna launch off from here.