LIVE: Senses Fail @ Thelka, Bristol (20/05/2013)

Date: May 20th, 2013
Venue: Thelka, Bristol
Support: Handguns / Marmozets


Senses Fail have been around for over ten years now, so whether they like it or not, they’re now veterans of the music scene. The band you’ll see today however is a very different beast from the one that released ‘Let It Enfold You’ back in 2004.

It’s an awfully disappointing reception for Handguns (**) to open proceedings. The sparse crowd seems uninterested in their basic pop-punk songs and the silence is more than deafening in between blasts by the five piece. There’s something horribly perverse about witnessing Brandon Gepfer singing the lyrics of ‘A Year In Review’ of “I’m still the happiest I’ve ever been” whilst staring blankly at the ceiling. Hopefully, Handguns will go down better at Slam Dunk in a week because they’d be a damn good band on the correct show. Whoever booked them onto this tour needs a slap.

Marmozets‘ (****) reputation has proceeded them as an exciting live band, and they certainly live up to that billing during their brief tenure on stage. When ‘Onemanwolfpack’ is played on the second song, you know there’s something good to follow, and that comes through various crowd invasions by guitarists Sam Macintyre and Jack Bottomley. Becca Macintyre‘s banshee vocals are a harsh juxtapose to her shy stage banter that makes being misogynistic a terrifying challenge. With the whole band on their A-game, it’s up to Josh Macintyre on drums to get himself noticed, and he does that on set closer ‘Vexed’ by moving his entire drum kit into the crowd. It’ll certainly be interesting to see what Marmozets plan to do next, leave the building completely maybe?

Dressed exclusively in no-brand black t-shirts and jeans, Senses Fail (*****) are out to prove that their colourful career is nowhere near complete. Buddy Nielsen on vocals exudes experience with comparisons to Henry Rollins rolling in. His dive into the crowd during third song ‘Renacer’ explodes the pit into life and it doesn’t stop for the duration of the 17-song set. Despite having such a different style on each album, Senses Fail manage to blend old and new songs together seamlessly, like between ‘Rum Is For Drinking, Not For Burning’, ‘Bonecrusher’, and new songs ‘Closure/Rebirth’ and ‘The Path’.

The between song banter is a particularly entertaining product, as the whole band participates in discussing random subjects, like if Wales is a country (apparently it’s not) and how English people all write in script. The pit erupts once more for ‘Mi Amor’, one of the highlights of new record ‘Renacer’, before being followed by ‘Calling All Cars’, ‘Can’t Be Saved’ and finally ‘Bite To Break Skin’. Buddy Nielsen is a true professional; as soon as the final notes sound out, he heads to the merch stand to take a flurry of photos with fans and to sign albums. Any doubts that Senses Fail had lost it are well and truly dead in the waters.

Written by MG Savage

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