InMe / Dead For a Day / Brigade
You've got to hand it to him - Dave McPherson (lead singer of the successful-in-the-UK-but-wildly-underrated band InMe) knows how to put on a great show. Despite suffering from leukemia during the making of their second album, "White Butterfly", which has, among other things, caused him to lose all his hair, and generally have "a sh*t year" and after amiably losing the bassist who played on both their current albums, things weren't looking too good for this Essex three-piece. However, when Dave's brother, Greg, joined the band, it seemed like their fortunes were about to change.
The two brothers are awesome on stage, and create such electricity
that you can't help but join in with their passion-fueled riot of a
They set the scene for their "Punisher Tour" show with an atmospheric opening; with the lights dimmed and the venue in complete silence, the voice of the Punisher (the marvel comics character on which the tour is based, for those not in the know) comes on the PA system, and when he ends with "Who am I? I'm the Punisher", all hell breaks loose. They open with Otherside, probably one of the most technically progressive songs of the set, but also one of the ballsiest, singalong, lighters-in-the-air choruses of the evening. Next, after ten seconds of feedback and guitar-related squealing, the opening riff of their first single, and arguably their best song to date, Underdose comes forth and blows everyone in the room away. By the end of the song, everyone's heart was beating a little bit faster, feeling just a little more giddy than they should be, and most importantly, having the time of their life.
And so it goes for the rest of the evening, with the band playing most of their back catalogue of heavy, passionate songs about love lost and found, losing friends (White Butterfly was written for and dedicated to James Austin, a friend of the Dave's who died after they released their first album) and being angry with life in general that held some relevance to everyone in the room, no matter how old or young. Definite highlights were 7 weeks, a blend of grungy, effects-laden guitar breaks with the energetic riffs of the greats like Metallica and Iron Maiden, and the teenage angst of newer bands like Bullet For My Valentine; Firefly, usually a little quieter than the rest, was played with so much ferocity and energy, you wouldn't think that two hours previously the same guy had been chatting about chips and cream buns, and arguing with fellow bandmates about which was the best bakery in Essex. This was one of their "last" songs (they clocked up an impressive five encores) and to make it that little bit more special, after a quiet guitar break, Greg came back in with a short cover of Back In Black by AC/DC, possibly one of the finest rock songs ever written, and obviously a very happily received singalong. When Dave ended the set by repeating "It's all over now/You've killed me", there wasn't one person not singing with him, or at the very least clapping their hands at Greg's command.
One unexpected highlight was the short unnamed acoustic song that Dave played on his own, while the rest of the band went backstage. With the amount of energy flowing round the room after Firefly, this seemed a welcome change of pace for Dave, obviously completely wrecked from the previous one and a half hours. Everyone who had a lighter or a phone was waving it in the air, and were all one cheesy key change away from punching the air with their fists
The two support groups, Dead For A Day and Brigade definitely knew how to put on a good show, but I couldn't help get the feeling they felt too overshadowed by InMe, and rightly so in DFAD's case, the sort of generic, over-commercial "emo" whiney band that you would expect an eleven year old girl to listen to once she had grown out of McFly. You would have thought the same of Brigade, seeing as the singer is actually the brother of a member of Busted, and I have to say I was feeling pretty sceptical when they walked out in their matching clothes and matching hair. But when they played the opening chords of "Queenie", you could tell that these guys are definitely ones to look out for in the future; not only because they write entirely original, inventive, almost progressive rock songs, but because they feature possibly the best bass player that I've ever seen: Naoto Hori. And that is high praise coming from a bassist who hates the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea with a passion. However, they didn't quite have the same copious amounts of ferocity and general ballsiness that InMe have become masters of.
Having not really been much of an InMe fan, I wasn't expecting much from this band; from what I heard they could easily be put into the same category as the many emo bands that are clogging up the charts with their teenage-girl-friendly emotional verbal diarrhoea. But seeing them live has challenged my preconceptions about them. They have a host of incredibly well written, melodic, sometimes beautiful, sometimes dark and haunting, mostly powerful, fiercely performed songs that has put my faith back in the current alt rock scene, and that has also led me to gain a new favourite band, and them a new biggest fan