Date: April 7th, 2019
Venue: The Deaf Institute, Manchester
Support: Parting Gift / Oxbloods / Grief
It’s been just over two years since Dream State released their single ‘White Lies’, a song that soon went viral (its video is currently sitting at over 9,000,000 streams on YouTube) and catapulted them into the spotlight of many, including Australian label UNFD who snapped them up nice and quick.
Their second EP ‘Recovery’ followed a few months later, and with a host of songs to back their live sets, 2018 saw them dominating festival slots and the tour circuit for most of the year. Now, in 2019, it looks like a yet-to-be-announced debut full-length is on the cards, but not before a UK tour to warm themselves up.
Opening up at the Manchester date are fresh faced locals Grief , who are actually making their live debut this evening, but you could barely tell. Melodramatic and emotive, these post-hardcore newcomers nestle somewhere between the likes of Casey, Pianos Become The Teeth, and even some hints of Heart In Hand chucked in there too.
Drummer Chloe Griffiths gives it her all, nearly collapsing on the kit a few times between songs, and though a lot of Reece Banks‘ cleans get a little over-encumbered by the rest of his bandmates in the mix, songs like ‘Dormant’ show that there’s definitive promise in this young band.
Also representing the Manchester scene are Oxbloods , who are definitely the odd ones out on this particular bill, and at times it kinda shows. The alternative rock quartet pick up the tempo and spirits a little bit, and their injection of some subtle elements of electronica and chants are very much in the vein of contemporaries Don Broco.
It’s hard to not bounce along or at least tap your toes to songs like ‘Clinton’ or ‘Stockholm’, and guitarists Chris Horrocks and Matt Lunn even leave the stage themselves to join the crowd on the floor and in the steps at the back. One thing that can’t be disputed is their enthusiasm.
Flying the Manchester banner high lately are Parting Gift , who after a couple of years of one-off singles and establishing their sound have finally dropped their debut EP, ‘Ensom’, and the fresh cuts sound as ethereal and haunting live as they do on record.
Frontman Zac Vernon packs one hell of a voice, and through the likes of ‘Vein’ and ‘Rensing’ his emotion is shed and bears through abundantly. George Barnes batters the kit as we’re drawn into ‘Pale’, and guitarist Jack Dutton is clearly passionately enveloped in the surge of their work in set closer ‘Asleep’.
With only two EPs to their name to date, Dream State  only have so much to work with to make their statement as tour headliners, but with material like set opener ‘New Waves’ in their arsenal, they’re more equipped than most. Notably bassist Danny Rayer appears to be absent from the stage this evening, but the band press on unfettered.
Admittedly a venue like The Deaf Institute is far more spacious and open than the more compact clubs that the band are used to, even on the remainder of this run, but the Welsh post-hardcore lot manage to adapt. CJ Gilpin is an undeniably great vocalist, switching from impassioned cleans to primal screams with ease, pouncing onto the bar for a good chunk of new single, ‘Hand In Hand’.
The old school fans are treated to ‘Rebuild, Recreate’, ‘In This Hell’ is like a little baby anthem, and by the time we reach the band’s launchpad track ‘White Lies’, the room spurts everyone into one body of energy, bouncing in unison and screaming back at Gilpin, who at this point is surfing the crowd and being carried by the band’s already adoring fanbase.
The most remarkable thing is that the quintet have acquired such a following and they haven’t even released a full-length album yet. Still, with the additional showcase of new cut ‘Huel’ sounding towering and almost monolithic live, nights like this will be just a minor footnote in the story of what Dream State can become.