It’s dank, it’s dark and it’s November but forget that. Inside the unsuspecting walls of the Bristol SWX venue on Nelson Street, a thrilled crowd is congregating for the return of Pitchshifter to celebrate their 20 year anniversary of their much acclaimed album www.pitchshifter.com.
In true Pitchshifter support of new music, the opening slot has been entrusted to a local (Bristol based) three piece Profiler comprised of lead guitar and singer Michael Evans, 6 string bass-wielding Joe Johnson and fervent drummer Oscar Hocking explode with a fitting selection of chunky Nu-Metal and Grunge infused tracks that warms the gathering masses well as they flock to the floor to soak up the sounds. They earn the crowd’s attention and throughout the set you can witness the visible reminiscence and enjoyment in the familiar yet fresh take of this genre as the band display their dynamic ability to rock their bodies every bit as hard and rhythmically as their instruments. As the band come to a close they introduce their final song as their new track ‘Re-identify’ to be released on 30thNovember. Profiler have the potential to go far. Check them out at: http://www.facebook.com/profilerband.
Second to the stage are Heavy Metal/ Post Metal band Earthtone 9 and it is clear that they have a notable following. As the Singer Karl Middleton greets the audience with a wave of his hand the five piece group dressed in all-black, stroll onstage to the welcoming applause of a crowd that is ready to move with them. By the second song the floor is filled and it just keeps getting stronger. The Drummer Simon Hutchby, provides an instrumental snarl which alongside the smoke-filled stage adds power to the eerie melodies of the Singer which are just as punchy as his punctuated rap. The Lead guitarist Owen Packard personifies the music with his personal technique, style and striking matte-black guitar. While the Rhythm guitarist Gez Walton cuts a perfect pairing with the Bassist Neil Kingsbury during the 2nd song as well as providing a heavy backing and overall energy throughout. These band members are a perfect fit. The band has a great rapport with the crowd and between songs the singer reveals that he now works in a music school, although he professes to know nothing about music! His performance tells a very different story and the crowd are fully immersed. Find out more at: http://www.earthtone9.co.uk.
It is now time for the monumental experience occasion that is the return of Pitchshifter. Playing for the first time in around 20 years in Bristol and as the 3rd date in part of a 6 gig only UK Tour. The atmosphere is palpable as the band take to the stage. The Drummer for this tour – Simon Hutchby – having only just finished his last performance, is once again seated and ready to pound out the beat to the much awaited resurgence of Pitchshifter’s Rocktronic anthems. The crowd edge in closer still and as the band launch in to an impressively powerful execution of ‘Microwaved’ from the www.pitchshifter.com album, it is clear that their fans are genuinely pumped to be a part of this night and the energy in the venue is ignited. The band haven’t lost their passion, stage presence or musical ability and as they smash through hits from their Desensitized, Deviant, Infotainment and PSI albums it is easy to see why the fans have travelled near and far to join them in their revival. Singer JS Clayden still has the Midas touch with audience connection and as he jokingly checks the fan demographic after the 3rdsong, the crowd is fully involved with declaring their age milestones, number of children, dogs and marriages. He also jestingly informs his audience that he is trying his best not to swear as his own wife and children are somewhere in the venue listening. This obviously rules out a handful of songs but the impressive set list and high energy of the band more than makes up for it. Lead Guitarist – Dan Rayner , Rhythm Guitarist – Tim Rayner and Bassist – MD Clayden all play in a skilfully animated and experienced style and in all honesty look like they’ve never been away from the stage – albeit slightly different hairstyles these days. Matt Sharland from Idiom joins the band as a Guest Vocalist for the songs Shutdown and Hidden Agenda adding a fierce edge to the sound and this again, works perfectly to please the masses further. The gig is literally faultless, aside from the set lists getting a little mangled underfoot and ending up tossed into the crowd, leaving the band members sharing. This only lends further time for banter between stage and floor and when you’re as practised as Pitchshifter, this can only ever be a good thing. It’s nearly the end of the show and Pitchshifter, in the no nonsense fashion that they are renowned for, cut to the chase, stating encore chanting charades a waste of everyone’s time and instead JS Clayden announces that they have 3 songs left to play and we just skip the part where they go off-stage in between. The crowd are every bit as happy with this arrangement. The 3 songs all from the www.pitchshifter.com album are the perfect finale, ‘W.Y.S.I.W.Y.G’, ‘Please Sir’ and ultimately, because it had to be, ‘Genius’ because that’s exactly what this reunion is and the wild reaction to this song proves it. At the end of the set there’s time for a band stage photo with the fans as a backdrop, as well as handshakes, fist bumps and hugs from JS Clayden for the lucky fans in the front. Smiles, sweat and saliva all round, welcome back Pitchshifter, you’ve been missed! Find them at:
Review : Suzi Turner
Photography : Emma Painter
Pacific Curd Photography