Live Review: Oceans Ate Alaska, Kingdom of Giants, Shields & Sleepwalker at Southampton Joiners 30/06/2018!

Southampton Joiners is a sweat box of a venue at the best of times and tonight is no different. Portsmouth’s Sleepwalker [7/10] take the stage and get things started in tech-infused low tuned Metalcore style with frontman Sam Salkeld baiting the crowd (perhaps with that Southampton Portsmouth rivalry thing going on) before joining a circle pit. Songs like “The Truth” go down a storm and the band are clearly in fine form. Bassist Dave Rae does look too skinny to be holding up his instrument and dressed all in white, he stands apart from the band as something of a poster boy. Sleepwalker have plenty of substance to add to their style though and giving away 2016 debut EP “Family. Faith. Cult” gratis will surely get them plenty more fans.

It’s an emotionally charged night for London Metallers Shields [8/10], as their farewell tour has just 5 dates remaining before they go their separate ways. The passing of Guitarist George Christie has taken it’s toll on the band and they clearly need time to grieve before deciding what to do next. There are points during the set where each remaining member of the band look like they are about to well up, most noticeably during their performance of “Black Dog”. Despite numerous technical issues, including guitarist Sam Kubrick’s wireless unit packing up (fortunately he had brought backup cables!) and frontman Joe Edwards microphone cutting out, they manage to put on a triumphant set and do the memory of George Christie proud. “It’s Killing Me” and “I Just Feel Hate” become massive crowd sing-a-longs and the band are truly humbled by the support for them tonight. Hopefully they’ll return in a year or so, they are simply too good to stay away.

Californian Metalcore quintet Kingdom of Giants [7/10] bring a high energy set to the table and try to get the crowd going from the very off. While their material is highly polished and their skills have been honed over the course of their 3 album back catalogue (2013’s “Every Wave Of Sound”, 2014’s “Ground Culture” and 2017’s “All The Hell You’ve Got To Spare”), there is an air of familiarity about it all. While that makes it easy to get into and there is head banging a-plenty, there is also the sense of deja vu. Frontman Dana Willax is power house vocalist and delivers an interesting mix of vocals and rap screams but after the emotion of Shields set, they have an incredibly hard act to follow.

Oceans Ate Alaska [8/10] play 50 minutes of material with frontman Jake Noakes delivering an impressive performance and showing incredible vocal range. The Midlands natives are on fine form and get every note of their off-kilter time signatures and style mash-ups spot on with an amazingly tight performance. Older songs like “Floorboards” and “Clocks” fit perfectly around the newer material with “Covert” going down a storm. They even take the time to play their cover of “Drunk In Love” by Beyonce mid-set with the crowd singing back the chorus. Drummer Chris Turner puts on a powerhouse performance and the audience lap it up. How a band this heavy managed to defy gravity and get signed to Fearless Records and regularly tour in the States is simply amazing.

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