LIVE: Svalbard / The Tidal Sleep / Maths / Fall of Minerva / Earth Moves @ Birthdays

By Dave Bull

Tonight’s eclectic evening of bands, sponsored by Holy Roar Records and delivered through Justine Jones of Employed To Serve, whips up a tasty menu of acts that personify the hard work required to be successful in the scene. It is a an absolute tour-de-force, and showcases the very best in alt/math/hardcore/punk inspired music, and it would be great if this kind of mega lineup could be replicated more often, as it’s also astonishingly good value for money, with so many acts taking to the stage.

Earth Moves are first up, but in their own right could headline an event like this – they possess a gripping energy that sends shivers down your spine. The band could easily work as an instrumental act, the delicately delicious licks coursing out over the venue, sounding like the lovechild of Deftones and Mono, but Jordan Hill’s vocals perfectly enhance the musical backdrop and provide a fitting start to the evening.

Fall of Minerva take the place of the absent Up River, which proves to be no bad thing at all. The band, who have just moved to London from Italy (presumably because of being more able to do show like this) show why they are hot property. Despite some mic issues, the band sound crisp, fresh, and full of energy. They mostly sing in English, apart from during ‘Traume’, which ends their set in ballistic fashion. This band mean business, and are certainly ones to look out for.

Maths play their first show in over two years after a sabbatical. Though not to everyone’s taste, they are visceral and raw, and produce an amazing amount of noise considering they’re a three piece. The crowd are bathed in appreciation throughout, as vocalist Zen thanks everyone for their continued support. The crowd picks up some energy throughout their set, and it becomes clear that this band are slicing a groove for themselves, if they choose to stick around.

The Tidal Sleep are another non-UK band on the bill, which can be seen as a positive; there is such a strong, home-grown scene at the moment that we don’t need to rest on the backs of our brothers and sisters from elsewhere. However, it is nice to have The Tidal Sleep who, in their own words, are the oldest act of the bill, but with that comes an assured and responsible set that showcases the bands excellence. Sounding like a mix of La Dispute and Touché Amoré, the potential of this band is huge. The crowd response is subdued, but it ebbs and flows at energetic intervals, and many down the front are simply bathing in the warmth of The Tidal Sleep.

Svalbard take to the stage with the world on their shoulders. They possess the potential to become something truly groundbreaking. The quite timid inter-song voice of Serena Cherry is replaced with a cacophonous scream as the band tear through tracks from ‘One Day This Will End’, with ‘Disparity’ receiving the greatest reaction of the night. There is even a new one thrown in, as Cherry declares the follow up to the aforementioned will drop in early 2018. ‘Unpaid Intern’ is a song about the impossible financial demands put upon people who are essentially forced to do unpaid internships for lack of anything else, but who cannot afford to live on nothing. Thus the whole process is designed for the privileged; those with money. This, as Cherry states, is unfair, as she screams ‘fuck unpaid internships’. The band are a wonderful melting pot of hardcore punk, heavier metallic riffs and even darker, scream-based vocal work. The release of their new album cannot come soon enough  and tonight leaves us like forlorn puppies waiting for the next meal.