Date: November 11th, 2008
Venue: The Sugarmill, Stoke-on-Trent
Support: DissolvedIn, Shadows Chasing Ghosts
Bands split up all of the time, whether it be a highly profilic band, one only just breaking onto the scene, or even just a small club band. When Finch announced their split back in 2006, many fans felt the void that the post-hardcore group imprinted for the genre since their establishment and rise in 2002. Now it’s November 2008, and after their reform last year they’re back on UK soil again, showing just why we should give a fuck when a band of their calibur leaves the spotlight.
Opening band DissolvedIn (***) are the closest neighbours to Stoke on tonight’s bill, hailing from the Reading area. Though their a young band and there’s room for some improvement, DissolvedIn‘s pop-punk offerings are ones that have the forumla to entice some serious dancing, warm-up the crowd, and ignite some energy for what the audience are to endure for the rest of the evening. They put the effort in onstage too, with bassist Jamie acting like a toddler overdosed on Lucozade all over the stage, and frontman Dan bouncing and prowling around during Blink 182 cover ‘Pathetic’. They’ve laid their foundations as a band, but just need that extra push to take it to further and better places.
Ten minutes or so after they’ve cleared up, Shadows Chasing Ghosts (***) take it a level higher in terms of heaviness, producing a sound somewhat similar to the previous act of the night, but with the inclusion of beatdowns and harsh vocal work. Vocalist Trey Tremain bobs up and down throughout most of the set whilst screaming and singing from the top of his lungs, and guitarists Matt Jones and Rich Jones compliment one another’s efforts effectively. The odd full-body swing of a guitar is thrown in here and there for good measure too, just to improve the visual factor of their performance. It seems though that maybe a bit more effort could be made for encouraging crowd participation, with the random appearance of the band’s manager shoving a microphone into the crowd doing little to nothing extra then before.
It’s clear from the chants since Shadows Chasing Ghosts disappeared who the crowd have come to see – Finch (****). From the moment they take to the stage ’til the second they walk off, they kick in to song after song pulled-off flawlessly. You can tell they’ve been greatly missed – and greatly thanked for their reformation – the crowd setting off mosh pit after mosh pit like terrorist detonations blowing up. The post-hardcore superstars are ones to get involved with the crowd a little bit too, with Randy Strohmeyer standing on the crowd rail and falling onto the crowd on one or two occassions, and vocalist Nate Barcalow pacing in every possible area of the stage. A man of very few words, Nate rarely introduces any song on the setlist, and hands out the occassional “Thanks” to the audience, but from just watching you can see the emotion he pours into the songs. They have a comical side within them too, as Randy and Nate return after a short encore singing the infamous ‘Day-O’ song, before kicking back into the rest of their set. ‘What It Is To Burn’ finishes their set off perfectly, after having many shout-outs across the whole night for them to play it. The mosh pits become a complete frenzy, with the fans along with the band givingi it their all before the returned Finch leave the stage, and Stoke for the evening.
Written by Zach Redrup