I’d been tipped off by Jake Friese-Greene from Exeter band DEAD GROUND that it would be well worth attending The Apple and Parrot in Torquay on October 12th as there was an awesome band from Bristol headlining called SOEUR, I checked out their music and instantly liked it so I added the date to my filofax and waited….
Come the night, It was stormy, the seafront in Torquay had been closed due to waves breaking onto the road, in other words, it was a bit shitty! Despite this, I battled my way through driving rain and high winds and parked up and strolled down the hill to The Apple and Parrot which is fast becoming THE place to play in Torquay.
I was told that HYPOPHORA had sadly pulled out due to sickness (get well soon whoever was poorly!) but there were still 4 bands waiting to take to the stage and strut their stuff.
I soon realised that all of the bands playing tonight were trio’s, not sure if this was a sign or sheer coincidence but either way, it made me wonder if the future of bands lies with the number three!
Opening up the night was the Bristol based alt-rockers BLANK ATLAS. After a bass guitar malfunction during the opening track (he swore that it was fine in rehearsal) which was quickly remedied by the loan of another bass from Last Hyena (thanks guys!) they literally carried on from where they left off as if nothing had happened. Their music was raw, fresh and exciting and they all looked like they were having a great time on the stage. Being a bass player, I was pleased to see Chris slapping the hell out of the loan guitar, bringing back a sound that I thought had long since been filed under ‘Level 42’. All in all, a pleasing set which went down really well for all in attendance.
Keep up to date with Blank Atlas on Facebook
Next up were LAST HYENA, I didn’t really know what to expect from these guys and I will add that I was VERY impressed, they played a set consisting of instrumental math rock which was a sheer attack on the senses, you couldn’t rest for one minute, they jumped from one rhythm to another in a split second and their timing was spot on. Each of the band performed amazingly, the guitar creating some really solid soundscapes whilst the bass player drifted from funky repetitive grooves to something that Jaco Pastorius would have gladly exhumed himself to witness given half the chance. The drummer was on top form and with the bass player, provided one of the tightest rhythm sections I have seen in a long while from a 3 piece band.
Keep up to date with Last Hyena on Facebook
Exeter local heroes DEAD GROUND were up next and this show was a great opportunity to unleash their latest single “We All Feel The Same” which was released on the same day. They launched into their set with gusto and soon had people coming down from the bar to see what the excitement was all about. Ollie Harris is a tremendous frontman (can I say that anymore or do I have to refer to him as a ‘front person’….?) anyway, they pulled it all together beautifully and played a blinding set. The new track sounded as good live as it did on recording I played in the car on the way down. The track starts off slow and builds until around the 4 minute mark when all hell breaks loose, Ollie was on his knees paying homage to his amplifier whilst Jake and Ed thumped out the intricate backbone to the track. I’ll be openly honest with you and admit that I’ve had a soft spot for these guys since I first heard them about 4 years ago in Exeter and to see how they have developed since then is immense. I summed the new track up by saying that it sounded like MUSE might have sounded if they hadn’t disappeared up their own backsides and landed on Mars!
Keep up to date with Dead Ground on Facebook
The final act of the evening were meant to be hit the stage Around 11pm but due to a late start, didn’t appear until midnight, this was way past my bedtime and it took a couple of cans of a well known energy drink to keep me alert to enjoy their set.
SOEUR are from Bristol and are fronted by Tina and Anya on guitar/vocals with Jim on drums. They play a mix of grunge heavy tunes with elements of Math rock thrown in to keep things interesting. Influences including PJ Harvey, Pixies, Skunk Anansie and Nirvana seep through to their sound which delivers an instant hit to the senses. To see Tina and Anya up front, belting out the melodic guitar riffs and snarling their way through the set was immense, the power and confidence they amplified to the room was off the scale and the Torquay audience lapped this up. Their latest single “Fight” kicked off with Tina’s simple but effective guitar riff and Anya’s teasing vocals, this soon built to a crescendo paused for a second prior to all three members coming in together and literally ripping the roof off the place! This is a band that you need to be checking out NOW as it won’t be long until they are filling larger venues and the chance to see them in intimate surroundings will have passed.
Keep up to date with SOEUR on Facebook
To see four bands of such quality on the same bill was a pleasure, often, its a case of having to put up with a couple of mediocre acts before the headliner takes to the stage but not tonight, Torquay, you surprised me, I’ll be back soon!
Words and (rather lame mobile phone) pictures by Steve Muscutt