LIVE: Milk Teeth / Employed To Serve / Wallflower @ The Borderline, London

By Dave Bull

This tour is a real breath of fresh air for the scene. It provides punters with the rarity of a diverse lineup: rock, pop punk, and intense technical hardcore all in one night. All the bands are from our fair shores, and it works incredibly well.

Wallflower are quite something and deserve a look within a UK scene that is overflowing with talent in 2017. With delicate melodies, the vocal dexterity of Jesse Lacey, rock riffs that are deep and penetrating, and an energy that seems to come very naturally, there is a perfect slot for them in the scene.

They offer something unique and are the perfect starter for what’s to come tonight. With a new EP out soon, we are treated to ‘Splintered’, which highlights all those qualities in spades. The beat is intoxicating, the vocals dreamlike, the riffs and chorus vocals reminiscent of Brand New’s ‘The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me’. They’re certainly for fans of the band, and a genuinely exciting proposition.

Employed To Serve are not to be messed with — they are grabbing their limelight and showing everyone why they shouldn’t just be noticed. They’re proving why they should be taking more and more plaudits for being one of the best technical hardcore bands around, and from tonight’s performance, one of the best bands around right now. Period.

They destroy the Borderline. Justine’s timid and humble pre-performance appearance is replaced by a raucous frontwoman who owns all in her sight. It is quite something to behold. As the opening riff spills out she shouts “what’s the fucking point of going to a gig and standing at the back?”, a sentiment repeated by guitarist and crowd surfer extraordinaire Sammy Urwin.

The 20-30 strong pit rarely lets up. The band flow through a range of new tracks from their incredible ‘The Warmth Of A Dying Sun’, including ‘Never Falls Far’ and the mesmerising ‘I Spend My Days – Wishing Them Away’. Then they treat everyone to ‘No One’s Perfect, This Includes You’ which is the most frenetic the band are all night.

The crowd responds with hoards of additional pit supporters and crowd surfers, including guitarist Urwin who is having so much fun doing so. He then delays proceedings by having to tune his guitar, but no one cares one iota. This band have just laid down the gauntlet for a heavy, technical live performance and they should be warmed by the prospects of their bright futures. There is no dying sun today — just spades of sweltering appreciation for a special band and a monumental live performance.

For lots of bands, following the previous two performances would feel difficult, but not for Milk Teeth. They are systematically breaking down every hurdle in front of them, and very soon should be a household name across (and more than likely beyond) the alternative music scene. They possess something unique: an ability to write incredibly catchy songs that stay in your head, whilst writing riffs that are aggressive in both musicality and sentiment. Even ‘Owning Your Okayness’ sounds heavy live and this is their most pop moment on new EP ‘Be Nice’.

Their increasing confidence as live performers is greatly enhanced by guitarist Billy Hutton and he revels in the crowd’s appreciation. ‘Prism’ is reminiscent of an ’80s pop tune merged with a grungy edge. Becky Blomfield’s vocals are intoxicating, as is her live persona — she owns that stage, and the crowd responds in euphoric waves. The venue’s energy lifts to impossible highs tonight, and the bulging crowd becomes a sweaty feast for the entirety of their set.

The sky is the limit for for Milk Teeth. If you want to catch them at a small venue then do so soon, as it cannot be long before they start headlining the larger venues. Their global domination continues, and it was a pleasure to see. Hopefully, such diversity in tours will also become commonplace, as this was one of the best shows of the year.