RXPTRS // Those Once Loyal // Our City Fires // Live Review // Rock City // Nottingham

RXPTRS (pronounced Raptors) are a 5-piece band hailing from Bristol, UK. The band have that classic rock sound, with added elements from metal, punk, and hardcore.  The band is in a new era at the moment, having joined Blacklight Media/Metal Blade Records around 2 years ago. The band are currently on their ‘The World On My Tongue’ Headline Tour which has landed them in Nottingham today, supported by Those Once Loyal and Our City Fires.

Our City Fires takes to the stage. At first, the band seemed a bit unsteady as they got to grips with the set. I started to wonder if maybe it’d just be one of those nights. However, as soon as the band got into the second song, it became evident that the band definitely have the talent, they just lacked the confidence. Once they were finally started and they were into it, the skill was evident.

The second song, ‘Is This Life?’ Caught my attention straight away. It was composed of guitar riffs, high vocal notes and great stable harsh vocals. Unfortunately, this song isn’t currently available online – so you’ll just have to trust me on this. After every song, the vocalist thanked the crowd for the wooing and cheering that would ensue. It was heartwarming to see. The vocalist clearly appreciates the people around him, as was clear when before their set he was setting towels out for his band members (which definitely came in handy by the looks of it).

Overall, Our City Fires are a small Leicester band with great potential and much more to achieve. I believe every band can “make it”, they just need to play their cards right. The band should keep doing what they’re doing and it’ll be great to see where they are in a few years (and also they should release ‘Is This Life?’).

After an intermission of setting up for the next band, on came Those Once Loyal. A local hardcore Nottingham band, who actually recently performed at Bloodstock. Immediately upon hearing the clear and stable screams from the vocalist, I couldn’t help but compare them to Thrown. Immediately having my attention, the only thing that would’ve helped set the stage even more was having some lighting design to emphasise the stage presence.

The band opened with Relentless Cycle, their most popular track on Spotify which has over 16k streams. The vocals take you right in and keep your attention. Every song the band played thereafter, they introduced with the name and the meaning behind it. The meanings making a connection to the audience and relating to them. It was great to see the guitarists take part too in creating that excitement and energy around the songs with the clapping and moshing. Is there anything better than unified head-banging by the members on stage?

Before the last song of their set, the band played a Killswitch Engage cover -‘My Last Serenade’. Opening the song with, “if you don’t know this band you need to sort that out.” The band were feeling the cover and around midway the vocalist jumped down into the pit and sang with the members of the crowd. There, the vocalist stayed until they wrapped their set. Getting the crowd to head-bang and jump around with him, the crowd were getting nicely warmed up for the headliners.

Now, if you would have told me that after the changing of gear on stage, RXPTRS would enter the stage to a remixed version of “I wanna Dance With Somebody”, I’d have been shocked…but not surprised. The band were here for a fun night and they were going to share that with every attendee. Donning white buckled shoes (enjoy the picture I got, as they were a vibe I had to capture) and a leopard print and white jacket, the vocalist danced into the room, with the audience and onto the stage.

For such a small stage, the lighting design was insane. I couldn’t count how many lights were there – but they were going mental. I don’t think I’ve experienced having to bin photos because they were “too washed out” (a term meaning too bright/flat info is lost in the picture) before now. The lights made the stage feel much bigger and fuller, providing great colours for the photos and the music video that was also filming during the gig.

The band have an ACDC meets hardcore sound about them. The nasally clean vocals often seen within the classic rock scene, then mixed with the fry screams of the nu-metal bands from the 2000s. It attracted a crowd that was a mix of majority younger fans and a few older listeners. I could see merch shirts of bands like Emmure and Sleep Token, which I think goes to show the wide music taste of the audience they bring in.

It was great to see the guitarists getting in on the fun on stage, miming to lyrics and interacting with the crowd. It really helps set the mood for the crowd and also goes to show that the stage presence doesn’t solely rely on the vocalist. With all the moving around and jumping on the stage, the vocalist joked between the songs that he, so far, has managed to hit a stage camera at least once every gig since they started using them – creating casual conversation, as if he hadn’t just been shredding his vocals a few seconds before.

We had the classic sing off challenge proposed by the vocalist, where he shouts a lyric and asks the crowd to sing it back. He managed to bring the crowd out of their self-conscious shells (and probably just tired as they are at a gig on a Thursday, so can’t blame them for not wanting to go full on) and get them interacting and singing along. The band then wrapped up their set with “You, Me, And the Devil Make Three”, which currently sits at over 1.3 million streams on Spotify.

RXPTRS gave a great performance and introduced some great new bands. I’m excited to see where Those Once Loyal and Our City Fires find themselves over the next couple years and look forward to probably photographing them again one day at a local show. RXPTRS introduced a normal mundane Thursday night to some high energy and kick-ass tunes for people to enjoy. If any of these bands are within your area, definitely don’t hesitate to go see them. RXPTRS have various dates lined up for the rest of August and September, including festival appearances all over the UK.

Review + Photos: 

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