LIVE: Giants / Create To Inspire / Kid Brother / Darko @ 02 Islington Academy, London

By James Davenport

It’s Tuesday night in Islington, London and set right in the middle of a small shopping centre is the venue that will be playing host to the second date of a co-headline tour between two Essex based outfits, Giants and Create To Inspire. Both bands have recently signed with indie labels, CTI to Basick Records (Devil Sold His Soul) and Giants with Holy Roar (Rolo Tomassi / More Than Life), so it’s important things go off without a hitch.

Opening up the show this evening is Darko, a skate punk / hardcore band in the vain of early AFI or The Offspring with an undeniable English charm to the vocals think Gnarwolves / Hindsights. Mixing up traditional hardcore chord progressions with slightly more metallic guitar riffs isn’t anything new but Darko pull it off with their own unique style and finesse. It’s a shame the room isn’t full as a result of the early start but Darko prove themselves to be a band that show promise.

Next up are Kid Brother who unfortunately get off to a shaky start with some minor technical difficulties. Once they get going, the band meanders through a set reminiscent of some of the earlier releases by Basement or Title Fight. Some of the songs are a little hollow sounding and fall slightly short of the mark in grasping your attention. Although they look the part, Kid Brother appear to still be finding their feet, so here’s to hoping they can progress and don’t chose style over substance like so many other bands travelling the pop punk / emo route.

Create To Inspire burst onto the stage with an instant and explosive start. Holding their own throughout their set providing catchy hooks and choruses it’s not long before the steadily filling room are singing along. For some people closer to the front, not singing along is no longer an option as Sean Midson leaves the stage to play at eye level and thrusts the microphone into the hands and faces of of the front few rows. Sadly the crowd are slightly less interactive than one would hope for and it feels a little too late by the time people start to wake up and move around, but that doesn’t reduce CTI’s energy levels for one second as they race relentlessly through a set of their own brand of metalcore it becomes clear why these guys have just been snapped up by Basick Records.

If ever there was a band that represented a DIY ethic and hard work its Giants. Having perfected their trade now for many years, the Holy Roar newbies deliver a sterling performance. Playing through some new songs from their debut album, it seems a majority of the crowd are willing to sit back and take in the breath of fresh air that is being blasted towards them in the form of hardcore / skate punk. As soon as they start to play some of the better known and more familiar tracks from previous releases it’s only a matter of seconds before fingers are pointing towards the stage as people sing along, connect with the band and feed off the their energy. With their sound spot on and stage presence on top form, Giants prove once more why they deserve everything they’ve worked so hard for.