Live Review: Arcane Roots with Emp!re and Verses at London XOYO – 26th November 2013

By on Monday, 9th December 2013 at 2:00 pm

We were treated to the Sound of 2014 announcement last week but 2 weeks ago, revellers in London were treated to arguably the sound which has epitomized the new era of British rock music over 2013. Arcane Roots may just be on their first headline tour – in support of their impressive debut album ‘Blood and Chemistry’ – but after support slots with Muse and Biffy Clyro, they’ve honed their space-age inspired stage show into a formidable beast.

Before the Kingston three-piece took to the stage at XOYO we were treated to Emp!re, who did their best to rouse a reaction in the slowly building, Tuesday evening crowd. There was energy in abundance on show from frontman Joe Green as the band drew material from recent mini album, ‘Where The World Begins’, though Green’s Daron Malakian-esque wail wasn’t entirely well received by the early punters. Whilst even their chest pounding anthem ‘Black Heart’ struggled to rouse the crowd, as many decided to hang by the bar with a pint, instead of jumping in to the pit. They’re a band in their infancy though and in Green they have a frontman with levels of energy bordering on the hyperactive that any crowd will warm to.

In stark contrast to Emp!res, Verses were a less-than-striking mix between You Me at Six and We Are the Ocean. The main issue being that with both of those acts, you’ve got tub-thumping songs with soaring choruses the entire audience can shout back, whereas with Verses there was a lack of any real hooks for the crowd to grab on to. To that end, Verses set fell slightly flat, as Jason Danzelman’s voice got lost in to the roar of fenders which accompanied him.

A shortage of hooks to drag in the punters was not a concern that headline act Arcane Roots had to worry about, as they drew material from their debut full-length album ‘Blood and Chemistry’ and last year’s EP ‘Left Fire’.

As Andrew Groves, Daryl Atkins and Adam Burton arrived on stage and plucked the first chiming chords of ‘Energy is Never Lost, Just Transferred’, the slightest of grins was already etched across Groves’ face. “Forlorn your heart / this scratch will leave a mark” and with a screech, all hell breaks loose in a melee front of the stage, limbs fly as Groves and bassist Burton throw themselves around the stage, unleashing a tirade of Marr-inspired riffage on the capacity XOYO crowd.

Chaos ensues as the band’s latest single ‘Resolve’ evokes a mass singalong, with the audience roaring back, “Am I ever worth the wait? / Will it feel like I was never there / As I cannot live with what I’d say to you / If I save me, will you heal yourself? / As my bones grow old from needing a resolve”. Fans who’ve only just discovered the band will have been pleased by the ‘Blood and Chemistry’-dominated beginning of the set. However at the midpoint, Groves with the sheer enormity of the support in front of him, almost tearfully dedicated the furiously frantic ‘Million Dollar Question’ from ‘Left Fire’ to the fans who ‘have been there since the start’. If that wasn’t enough for the hardcore Roots fans in the crowd, this was followed by a sped-up version of ‘In This Town Of Such Weather’.

By this time, with the frothing mass of writhing flesh moshing in front of the stage having hardly relented, you’d expect there would be an element of tiredness amongst them – however, that was as far from the reality – as the one man got a bit carried away and got on to the stage, prompting the band’s tour manager to unceremoniously nudge him back in to the arms of the rousing crowd.

Groves shows off his incredible ability with a guitar on ‘Triptych’ as he is joined by Danzelman of Verses, as the former proceeds to not miss a note throughout the complex song. To finish of a rather splendid evening we were treated to the spellbindingly beautiful ‘You Keep Me Here’ – a perfect mix of power and loveliness – as Groves laments, “love, you’re better for me”.

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3 Responses

2:00 pm
9th December 2013

Live: Arcane Roots @ArcaneRoots w/ Emp!re @ShoutEMPIRE and Verses @versesband at London @XOYO_London: 26th Nov 2013:

2:01 pm
9th December 2013

RT @tgtf: Live: Arcane Roots @ArcaneRoots w/ Emp!re @ShoutEMPIRE and Verses @versesband at London @XOYO_London: 26th Nov 2013:…

9:01 pm
9th December 2013

Arguably one oif the best gigs this year – via @tgtf

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