Exit State & Fantasist: The Railway, Bolton 03/11/2011
Exit State & Fantasist
The Railway music venue, Bolton
3rd November, 2011
The first seed was planted way back in 2003 when Ollie, Seb and Robb all attended Manchester College of Arts and Technology. Ollie and Seb went on the form the band Idiom writing complex progressive music as a 5 piece. In November 2007, after a few years of solid gigging, Seb decided to depart to concentrate on other projects and unfortunately Idiom eventual came to an end due to various reasons in 2008. Ollie spent the following year searching for new musical influences and writing music with a more simple approach, focusing on song writing and pulsating grooves. This new material caught the attention of Robb (Previously of Post Modern Geisha), who expressed an interest in forming a band to get these songs out there! Ollie and Robb began searching for the right drummer to complete the power trio and it just so happened that their long time friend Seb was looking for a musical project to get his teeth into! This year saw them release their debut album, Gigglejuice.
Fantasist took to the stage in their trademark black suits and, after a brief welcome, fired into their set opening up with X&O’s. This soon had their audience nodding their heads along to their own style of music that seems to go along the lines of Prog, but without any of the interminable freeform keyboard rhapsodies associated with that genre. Instead, they impressed us with their technical musicianship and ability to capture your imagination with catchy riffs and hooks, plus a rhythm section that can bounce you around the room and off the ceiling. They continued to play through their set with minimal chat, choosing to let the music speak for them. And, it spoke volumes. Guitarist Ollie often takes off from the stage and goes on a wander that meanders through the venue and audience alike, never missing a note, whilst drummer Seb and bassist Robb continue on stage sharing vocal duties. In fact, Fantasist is an unusual band in the way that all three members share lead/backing vocals, and surprisingly; it works!
Towards the end of their set, they throw in one of the bravest cover versions of a song that I have ever seen. Not many bands attempt, let alone, pull off a cover of Rush’s Spirit Of Radio, but Fantasist did it magnificently much to the appreciation of all present. They finished off with Divide and left us in no doubt that they will get bigger and better.
BAND: Seb – drums/vocals – Ollie – guitar/vocals, Robb – bass/vocals
LABEL: Rocksector Records http://www.mwaweb.com/rocksector.html
SETLIST: X&O’s, Smokescreen, The Sleeper, Red, Time To Leave, Darkness, Ego, Drugstore Cowboy, Spirit Of Radio, The Divide.
A video which reached the no.1 spot on the Kerrang! TV Chart Request Show; support slots with Blaze Bayley (Wolfsbane/Iron Maiden); Esoterica; Dave Evans (AC/DC); The Black Mollys; Forever Never; Witchfynde and Black Spiders; plus a full UK tour with Marseille; a successful debut album; a tour in Finland; and a place at Hard Rock Hell Ibiza Road Trip… with all that you could be forgiven for thinking Exit State has been around for years. However, the early success of their high-octane sound has been almost immediate, not least due to their crossover appeal to rock, metal, pop, punk, indie and alternative crowds alike. The line-up which released the first album, (Death Of A Rockstar), was; Roy Bright – lead vocals/rhythm guitar, “Texas” Peat Hicks – drums, Phil Ireland – bass/backing vocals, and Adam Stephenson – lead guitar. Adam left the band in Sept. 2011 and has been replaced for the remainder of 2011 by Ollie Cordwell of label-mates Fantasist whilst they search for a permanent lead guitarist. They are currently on their winter tour which culminates with a spot at Hard Rock Hell V in Prestatyn this December alongside Therapy?, Black Stone Cherry and more.
The night’s headliners opened up with the title track of their second album, Black Veins; an energetic track, that sets their stall for the night. It’s going to be an ‘up and at you’ and ‘let’s see if you can keep up’ kind of night for us all. And for further proof of this, they move straight into Tonight Be Free without pause for breath. Both songs are shown appreciation by great cheers and applause from the healthy crowd, and deservedly so. Each band member throws themselves into each song as though their life depended on giving nothing but the best for those who have endeavoured to make the trip tonight, and failure was not an option. There was nothing to fear on that account as they acquitted themselves easily as the crowd returned their adjudication with cheers and tumultuous applause.
Singer/rhythm guitarist Roy Bright has the kind of voice that conveys all of his emotions into whatever he sings, giving us sad and soulful through to anger and rage, with a smidgeon of humour thrown in for good measure. Drummer “Texas” Peat Hicks bashes the skins furiously, working up such a sweat with his intensity in performance that he has to wring out the moisture from his shirt post-gig! Bassist Phil Ireland lays down an astounding rhythm all night, delivering an awesome accompaniment that compliments the rhythm guitar of Roy and lead guitar of Ollie Cordwell, (who is playing his second set of the night). They move industriously through their setlist which includes their latest single – Check Out The Crazy, (which has an excellent accompanying video). They even manage to squeeze in an impromptu Ramones-style rendition of Happy Birthday for a fan and include her favourite track Circles as a present into their set as their gift to her. The night is a mix of tracks from both Death Of A Rockstar and Black Veins, and there is not a bad song to be heard throughout the night. This band is fast becoming more popular and is gaining a reputation for leaving their audiences crying out for more. Their songwriting and musicianship has vastly improved since I first saw them eighteen months ago, and they have the talent to go wherever their dreams take them. And, for the final song of the night, the enthusiastic crowd are treated to a cover of Queen’s Tie Your Mother Down and are joined on stage by Nigel Roberts, singer with Marseille, to give voice to this classic.
It was a night where two fine bands exhibited their exemplary musicianship and ability to entertain an audience and leave them all with huge smiles on their faces, wanting to hear more. Keep an eye out for these bands; they will rocks your socks clean off!
BAND: Roy Bright – rhythm guitar/vocals, Phil Ireland – Bass/backing vocals, ‘Texas’ Peat Hicks – drums, Ollie Cordwell – lead guitar
LABEL: Rocksector Records http://www.mwaweb.com/rocksector.html
SETLIST: Black Veins, Tonight Be Free, Check Out The Crazy, And She Said, I Know Where You Are, In That Place, Circles, Bad Days, Lost Beyond Belief, Out In The Rain, Death Of A Rockstar, Tie Your Mother Down.
Bio’s shamefully ripped from Rocksector Records.