Heart In Hand

support Evita + The Valiant + Hearts Under Fire + Death Of An Artist
author BL date 23/05/11 venue Joiners, Southampton, UK

I can't say I enjoy exam periods, especially when I have to take part in them as a student. But if you have an opportunity to take a break from it all, then going to see some cool bands play near you is probably as decent an idea as any (although you should still work as hard as you can to pass your exams). In any case given that I had an exam in less than two days from that night, I could only afford to sneak myself out to see only just the main headliner and first support. But what little time spent going to see some bands before my last exam gave a sweet return as neither band disappointed (oh and the exam went lousy by the way).

Evita

Evita were once a part of Basick Records, home of UK metalcore and Southampton local heroes Bury Tomorrow, and had released a pretty promising full length called "Minutes And Miles" back in 2009. Showcasing an invigorating, more technical metalcore style with ambient melodies and big poppy hooks utilising lots of soaring clean vocals, the general critical reception was extremely positive and it came as a disappointment to hear that the band decided to break up during late 2009. However this didn't stay the case for too long fortunately as the band reunited the following April, wrote some new music and are now hitting the road again. Evita let their music do all the talking tonight and surprisingly their older full length material holds up well live even now two years after their initial release. Songs like "Willing To Wake" and "Thrown To The Wolves" showcased their knife-edge balanced fusion of ambient melodies over crushing fast rhythm guitars. The clean vocals handled jointly by Paul Perkins the bass guitarist and Mike Thomson the rhythm guitarist sounded really enjoyable live, in fact probably more so than I remembered on record with the added intensity from the live setting. Frontman and screaming vocalist Aaron Beider wasn't a slouch himself either despite not sounding as impressive as the clean vocalists, and still managed often to be the crux of the band's lively performance, engaging the crowd in a positive manner with his enthusiasm and stage presence. One of the new tracks the band wrote over the last year since their reunion found its way here tonight, "The Departure" while not as technical or heavy, seemed like a promising new direction for the band. The stronger involvement of the clean vocals and some nice melodic lead guitars made the song charming despite the screamed verses being a little basic. You could consider me actually interested to hear more new stuff as the band will move forward. As for tonight on the whole, I can't say the band did much wrong, Evita did a pretty decent job of getting everyone warmed up for the main event.

Heart In Hand

Since its Heart In Hand's release show for their first ever full length "Only Memories", I ought to make a quick comment about the album itself - its some really damn good melodic hardcore that people ought to check out (I suspect our album review should come soon). I had been a fan of the band ever since I listened to their previous self-titled EP and even managed to catch them at this same venue quite a few months prior. That show was not the best it could have been for the band as they had technical difficulties with the guitars that made it a short and troubled set. And despite the opening album titled song "Only Memories" sounding pretty awesome live as I expected when Heart In Hand got underway here, I found it amusing as a coincidence that there was a minor technical difficulty again towards the end of the song that cut the sound out of one of the guitars. However all things were running smoothly again as big numbers "Indelible Mistakes" and "Tunnels" kept the action going, vocalist Charlie Holmes delivering an engaging and enthralling performance and continued to throughout the night. His vocals translate well live because on record, that's just how he really sounds - those strained, slightly pained screams adding so much emotional depth to the rest of the music than it already contains.

Speaking of depth, the instrumentals which are full of captivating atmospheric guitar melodies both clean and distorted that breathe life in and around the chugging hardcore sections sounded fantastic when captured in front of you, especially in some of my later favourites "Ghosts" and "I'm Coming Home". Various people in the crowd and some of the members from other bands here tonight aided in the vocals from time to time to make the set experience seem ever so animated, most notably when Andrew Convey of Burn The Fleet came on stage to sing his parts in "Photographs". Everything seemed to finally in place as you looked onwards at the band on stage. You could hear the result of the band's hard work culminating in such a fantastic song being played the way it was recorded in every aspect, ending when Charlie falls to his knees during the final crescendo of the song still screaming the words "I can see a better day" - perhaps far more in store if this was anything to go by. Some of the older material from the previous EP were visited in the encore with "Give Blood" and "Rise Above", but the band that wrote those songs (as decent as they are, especially the former) had been far surpassed by the very same band just earlier tonight. Everything played from "Only Memories" just sounded worlds more mature, more thought out with more substance in the song writing. I can't help but feel like if Heart In Hand continue to deliver such solid performances backed by such a strong album, they might be opening a world of possiblities, and who knows where they will be soon down the line.

Photos courtesy of Lauren Harris. To see the rest of the photos check out Lauren Harris Photography's facebook page.

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