Live Review: Exit Ten with A Thousand Autumns, Tomorrow We Radio and Fei Comodo at York Fibbers – 29 November 2011

By on Wednesday, 14th December 2011 at 2:00 pm
 

An actual conversation in Manchester between myself and ace Guernsey/Lincoln TGTF reporter John Fernandez, over a Harry Ramsden at the Arndale Centre:

Me: You’ll never guess who I’m seeing Tuesday night in York. [picks at fish and chips]
John: Who?
Me: Exit Ten.
John: Exit Ten? I didn’t know they were still going. I loved their first album…
Me: Yup, they just put out ‘Give Me Infinity’, their second album, in October.
John: Wow. I’ll be honest, I thought they’d be a bit too hard for you. For me and Luke, yes. For you, no.
Me: I dunno. The one track I listened to reminded me of Muse?
John: Wow, Exit Ten. Never would have imagined you would like Exit Ten!
Me: Oh John, there’s a lot of things you don’t know about me…

The one thing you should know about me is that depending on my mood, I can become a bedroom headbanger. This goes back to my formative years, when my brother and I would both be in the basement, me playing video games on an Apple II and him programming something or another on a then-state of the art PC. Being older, he had control over the music selection, and more often than not, I would get an earful (ok, two large earfuls every evening) of Metallica, Megadeth, or what became my favourite of all, Led Zeppelin. These days, I find it hard to locate any bands that bring the same kind of hard rock virtuosity with the pomp and swagger of Led Zep, so the number of hard rock bands I would actually go out of my way to see is a pretty small number. That and I’m a bit faint-hearted around mental crowds; I mean, look what happened to me at Roskilde watching (er, attempting to survive) Biffy Clyro. Still, the Exit Ten chaps were very nice to me on Twitter and suggested I come out and see them, so I did. And besides, I was eager to catch at least one show at one of York’s legendary venues.

The bill for the night was very crowded, so let me first divide the acts by labeling them “the haves” and “the have nots”. Having never seen any of the four acts on the bill before, I really had no idea what was in store. But it was obvious sound-wise (I imagine owing mostly to better equipment), Exit Ten and Fei Comodo were in a completely different league than A Thousand Autumns and Tomorrow We Radio. I would also say that Exit Ten and Fei Comodo also have a better command of melody, which was probably the last thing any of the punters that night cared about.

The sets by the first two openers blurred in my mind, as both featured loud, thrashy guitars and a cocksure lead singer who 1) seemed to be screaming and not to any discernable melody and 2) wanted nothing more than to get into the audience’s faces (a move welcomed by the more raucous punters down the front). Watching both bands’ official videos on YouTube, I’m really confused. Are these the same bands I saw? Maybe it was their equipment, maybe it was Fibbers’? Not sure. Either way, it sounds like both of these unsigned bands deserve a second chance in my books.

A blogger’s best discovery is to be blown away by a band that you weren’t expecting at all. Fei Comodo, who I’ve learned is from Chelmsford in Essex, have such a strange name, I was expecting them to go down just like the two acts before. Not well. Instead, they completely surprised me. Frontman Marc Halls really impressed me; yes, Fei Comodo is a hard rock band and yes, of course, there is some screaming. But dude’s got a very compelling voice and an amazing stage presence. Ooh, ‘Rival Tides’, I’m in love with you. I’m really wondering why they aren’t more famous. I was so impressed I bought both EPs they had on sale. Should I trade in my mirrorball for some ripped up t-shirts?

Of course, the crowd reserved their loudest cheers for headliner Exit Ten. I’m nowhere as familiar with their first album as I am with their second; as I stood there in Fibbers, I really wished John had been there with me, because he would have told me if he thought the new material stood up against the old. The crowd ate up songs new and old but I thought the new songs – and they started with ‘Life’, followed swiftly by ‘Curtain Call’ (official video below) – sounded fabulous. What a gripping way to begin a set; I wonder if Exit Ten had ordered the songs on their new album specifically for this purpose. The set went on of course but I was spellbound by the opening numbers. And I don’t know if this is an Exit Ten thing, or a York thing, or a Fibbers thing, but I was very surprised there wasn’t an encore. Leave them wanting more? I’ll say this: Reading/Leeds would be a much more interesting prospect if they’d book some of these bands for next summer.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

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