Exit Ten

support Lost Boys + Echoes + Wide Awake
author BL date 06/08/11 venue Joiners, Southampton, UK

Tonight's headliner Exit Ten, who have been off the radar somewhat for the last 24 months, had to once again rearrange the show for Southampton. Originally planned for the 29th of July, their stop here originally included Burn The Fleet in their lineup. As such the date was moved to tonight (6th August), and the entire bill changed unfortunately. Burn The Fleet were no longer scheduled to play, and instead Echoes were now the only other known band for me, though Lost Boys seemed like a familiar name somehow, which might explain why they got the nod ahead of Echoes for first support. There were certainly more people here in Joiners than I had anticipated. It wasn't easy to know if and how the fanbase for Exit Ten may have slightly dwindled since their 2008 album "Remember The Day", which seemed like so long ago. The band are on the verge of a new album though, out in about a month, and on the verge of perhaps picking up their promising career where they last left off.

Wide Awake

Kicking the night off are what I presume are some local boys in Wide Awake. There isn't a whole lot to say other than that as endearing it is to see local talent play on the stage, there's a long way to go for these kids before they can make the next level. The music wasn't really terrible, but it was fairly simplistic and too repetitive, putting up a sort of out-of-fashion 2003-2004 era screamo front with a few hints of more modern scene music (i.e. a single breakdown to be precise). Not only that but It gets really distracting when you're trying to hear their own music, and their guitars are struggling to stay in tune in a live setting. Could have sorted it out mid song, or inbetween songs, but it seemed to last the entire latter half of their short set which was a shame. There was some lukewarm reception for them from the crowd, which was nice to see. Though you got the feeling perhaps the cheers are from just their friends and the odd fan here and there only.

Echoes

It would be second time seeing Echoes here in Southampton, and interestingly since then their clean vocalist Dan Gilliver had left the band. Echoes were now solely a five-piece and their clean vocals were shed entirely and the band must be trying to move in a new direction. Comparisons to the now defunct Rinoa and in some ways Devil Sold His Soul are still fairly strong however with their big ambient layered melodies and somewhat sombre but powerful atmosphere. While the music was certainly a better showing by this point in the night, it remained to be seen whether or not Echoes truly have what it takes to break out of the local scene. The vocals from Joshua Thurbin still seemed a little lacking, considering he was mostly talking instead of actually screaming, though when he did he sounded pained enough (as you have to be when accompanying this kind of music I feel). Performance from the rest of the band seemed adequate enough, and there was certainly a lot more stage presence from the guitarists in particular from the last time I saw them. Decent but nothing too memorable.

Lost Boys

I was out of the main floor area when Lost Boys actually started. But they were loud, energetic, and seemed to have a point to prove to the Joiners crowd so I found myself quickly drawn back in. Their uptempo emoish pop rock mixture lifted spirits all round and certainly got more than just heads nodding and feet tapping. Their songs while having mostly staple ingredients of fast verses, catchy choruses, and repeated melodic leads, seemed pretty well put together and there was an overwhelming sense that these guys are a tight unit as reflected by their competent and smart stage presence. That being said, it remains to be seen whether or not Lost Boys can stand tall above so many other promising young British bands, there's a lack of aggression to put them with the more hardcore bands, but they're also edgy enough to be more than simply just another pop rock band. Their single "Tired And Lonely" has perhaps some of the most cliched emo lyrics I have heard for some time, but they do make me feel nostalgic for a genre of music I had largely forgotten about since leaving my high school (equivalent of). Though this meant I wasn't sure at times if I was enjoying the songs for their true merits or just simply having a pleasant blast from the past in my mind. Either way though I think the band were entertaining despite any little doubts I may have had, not to mention more than charming and tidy soundwise and I was a little gutted their set wasn't actually a bit longer.
7

Exit Ten

As Exit Ten took to the stage a roar came from the gathered masses here, suggesting that they've been missed by many who had been left wondering (at least before they announced their new upcoming album "Give Me Infinity") just what exactly the band had been up to since they previously came to Southampton (which was quite a while ago). The last time I saw Exit Ten in Southampton before that, they managed to fill up a small pub venue to the brim with fans and gave a passionate and endearing performance that I also remember for being the first time I also saw Bury Tomorrow all those years ago. "Fine Night" was the choice to get things rolling, and I quickly remembered what I liked about Exit Ten. Say what you will about their songs on record, they seem to take on a whole new level when in a live setting, they feel bigger (quite literally), certainly more atmospheric and engaging. Traditional classics "Resume Ignore" and "Technically Alive" were definitely highlights of the old material, still such great punchy rhythms to get people moving and simple yet memorable hooks. Frontman Ryan Redman sounded more or less flawless and seemed refreshing in the face of the all the recent generic vocalists I had been stuffing my ears with. His delivery of his lines every bit as powerful as I remember from before and his voice crisp above the other instruments like a beacon. The guitars and drums definitely sounded much better here than when I had seen them before though, the extra clarity helped give strong indications as to what the new songs sounded like - definitely a bit more progressive, a bit less heavy though not losing their metallic edge, and mostly still relying a lot on Ryan to really take the centre stage (and rightly so). The main new number everyone will remember from tonight is "Lion", the preposed closer to their upcoming album and to the set. It's a powerful song with some uplifting lyrical craft, great dynamics that show off their new musical direction with a crescendo of sparkling guitar melodies into a truly epic chorus. It gave me a feeling of quiet excitement for what the rest of the new album will bring. All in all it was important for Exit Ten to leave a good impression after being away for so long, and they did just that by playing a solid, honest show even if the actual performance was more industrious than spectacular.

Photos courtesy of Nick Bishop

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