Sunday, 31 July 2016

Emp!re - The Vic Swindon, 27/07/16

On Wednesday evening, I managed to drag myself away from Pokemon hunting for a few hours, and with that time I decided to head down to The Vic to see local band All Ears Avow supporting Emp!re. I've never been disappointed by one of their sets, but I hadn't seen them since their headline show at The Vic over a year ago - it had been far too long.
I hadn't actually heard about their new EP, 'Reach (Side A)', so half of their set was new to me. Both 'Getaway Car' and 'Reach' can be found on the aforementioned EP, and I enjoyed both songs so much that I bought it at the show; I'll definitely need to give it a proper listen (and keep a closer eye on the band!). 'Weight of the World' is also a new song - one that the band have been playing on their recent tours - and while I liked the All Ears Avow that I've been seeing over the last year, this is an entirety new beast. There's been a noticeable shift towards the rock side of their pop-rock category, and while there are still tracks that you can dance and sing along to, it makes the set more emotionally involving and a whole lot more effective.

Waiting Games
Weight of the World
Better Now
Getaway Car

I hadn't heard of In Dynamics before the show, but their set ended up being my favourite of the evening. With a cleaner sound than All Ears Avow, their sound definitely leans towards pop-punk - the easy to dance to beats and catchy lyrics make it impossible not to enjoy them when you're listening to them.
Physical copies of their debut album, 'Everything I See', arrived on the morning of the show following its release two weeks ago, so I had to snap one up, and I've been listening to it constantly since. There's something very special about these guys, and when vocalist Beau Boulden thanked the crowd and said "we've never even been to Swindon before, so it's amazing that some of you guys know the words" and it's testament to the fact that this band are making waves.
I want to say more about In Dynamics, because I'm so excited about them, but other than saying that their set was pretty much perfect there's nothing else to say. I'm going to be keeping track of these guys, though.

A String of Losses
Another Minute
We Are Liars
The Weight of Wait
Existence Precedes Essence
Waking Life

(I couldn't find the title of In Dynamic's fifth song, please contact me if you were at the show!)

The first time I saw Emp!re they were supporting Tonight Alive and they had to fight with everything they had to stand out: they were opening, while second up were the captivating Zoax, and it meant they were completely forgotten by the end of the evening. I was excited to see them again, but I don't know if I would have bothered if All Ears Avow hadn't been on the bill.
I was pleasantly surprised by their set and they ended up really impressing me. It seems as though the last two years have done very good things for the band. Whereas before I complained that all of their songs sounded the same, now the subtle nuances of the songs are brought to the forefront, and Joe Green's stunningly high vocal is the cherry on top of a musically delightful cake.
However, I did still find myself getting a little bored. I hate to say that, because it was a brilliantly performed set, but I could feel my attention drifting. It might have been my desire to return to the Pokemon hunting, it might have been the fact that I'd had a long day at work as was looking forward to going to bed, but I just didn't enjoy the last half of their set as much as I did the first half, or the two other bands who performed in the evening.
I do have to congratulate the crowd on their reaction, though. Midweek gigs are never as successful as weekend shows, so to have such a notable turn out at a show on a Wednesday night? It was rather impressive. I've been to Wednesday shows in Swindon before that have had a mere handful of people in the room. It helped that All Ears Avow were on the bill - they can always draw a crowd, and are quite a success in our little town - but the crowd swelled again for Emp!re's headline set: not many people went home after seeing the band that they liked, so it gave the others a chance to perform to new faces.  
It was exciting when Emp!re decided to perform an encore - not many bands who come to Swindon have enough material to be able to come back after that "one more song!" chant, but the chanting was so raucous that it would have been rude not to reappear! However, it just didn't seem necessary at this stage. I'm holding out hope that the band will keep writing and releasing more varied music - they're missing that something special that will elevate them to bigger venues on their next tour.

I couldn't get Emp!re's setlist, because while Joe's voice is very impressive it can also be quite indecipherable. If you were at the show and know which songs were played, please comment down below!

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