LIVE REVIEW: Night Verses @ 229, London (13/02/2020)

Credit: Promo

Date: February 13th 2020
Venue: 229, London
Support: Temple On Mars


It’s been nearly two years since Night Verses reinvented themselves with ‘From The Gallery Of Sleep’, an album which took the progressive elements that were always a part of the picture and thrusted them into the fore.

With London being the large hotspot that it is, a multitude of tasty-looking gigs can take place on the same night, as is the case this evening. With this in mind, it’s arguably all the more impressive that tonight’s show is a sell-out. It’s time for the basement room of 229 to lose itself in a myriad of sounds.

The sole support act of the evening are mainstays, Temples On Mars [7]. When there’s a dramatic organ intro and an Eastern-inspired guitar riff, we know they’re setting the scene. The band suffer from a few sound issues to start with, but things thankfully improve. Their progressive take on alternative rock proves to carry plenty of weight and then some.

With comparisons to be drawn with Karnivool as well as Muse‘s better offerings, and James Donaldson‘s vocals not too dissimilar to Andrew Groves of Arcane Roots, they take us on a journey across different sounds whilst offering up memorable melodic hooks to grab on to. All in all, this serves as a solid, enjoyable warm-up.

The room has filled up considerably by the time Night Verses [8] take to the stage. Tonight will be the first time many will see them without their now ex-vocalist, Douglas Robinson, but with talent dripping from the remaining trio left, right, and centre, there was never really going to be any doubt as to whether their instrumental guise would be a roaring success.

Unsurprisingly, virtually every song is taken from ‘From The Gallery Of Sleep’, bar some interludes and jams that will take place later. With some visuals helping to set the scene, ‘Copper Wasp’ and its insane intro gives us no time to brace ourselves. We’re reminded of how the band can offer up a hyper-charged clusterfuck of a sound and then pull off lighter, atmospheric sections with the same aplomb.

For ‘Trading Shadows’, bassist Reilly Herrera gets some brief time in the spotlight with the slap-bass sections, and Aric Improta also gets a chance to showcase his mighty chops, as well as Nick DePirro‘s domineering guitar lines sounding powerful for ‘Vice Wave’. Instrumental shows normally run the risk of the musicians having more fun than the audience who stare off into space, but there’s something of a party atmosphere. When the heavier sections drop, there’s plenty of pogoing and head banging from the devotees down the front.

As the band continue to plough effortlessly through songs like ‘No. 0’, some visuals showcasing characters continue to provide a perfect visual accompaniment. The visuals also move to various film clips, including the famous tunnel scene from Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.

As the set approaches its close, drummer Improta gets up from behind the kit to make a speech to reciprocate the devotion down the front, letting it be known how much the band love to play in London.

With that, it’s time for the grand climax of a closer in the form of ‘Phoenix IV: Levitation’. As the penultimate number on ‘From The Gallery Of Sleep’, everyone in the band is firing on all cylinders, and a small mosh pit even breaks out down the front. Proving that they’re just as adept at switching dynamics in an invigorating way in a live setting as they are in the studio, it ends extremely powerfully. You’ll want to head bang and lose yourself when they amp things up, and let the atmosphere take over when they go to their Tool-esque lighter sections. A rapturous reception greets them as they leave the stage.

After some changes, the band have more than proved that they can command a solid fanbase, and tonight feels like this new era of Night Verses has truly arrived.