Arcane Roots may have spent the last few years frustratingly hidden from the mainstream considering that they are such a talented rock band; however, I believe that 2018 may finally be their time to shine. Their outstanding second album Melancholia Hymns was released in the latter part of last year and received high praise from both reviewers and fans alike; and those that are fans seem to be excited to be able to experience the band’s music live on their latest UK tour.
The Hyena Kill opened this leg at the O2 Institute 2 in Birmingham; and made sure that everyone in the venue was wide awake and ready for the night with their own brand of heavy, turbulent, noise-based rock. The Manchester act may only be a two-piece, but they are a chaotic powerhouse of a band who you certainly should not miss.
Following this, came a performance from one of my current favourite acts, Grumble Bee. The songwriting from multi-instrumentalist Jack Bennett may be nothing short of outstanding in itself; but it is during the live shows that this project really comes to life, especially when Jack is joined on stage for a full band set with touring band mates Zach Phelps and Callum Connell. As the band performed a set packed full of passionate alt-rock anthems such as Sky Writer, Francium and Red, the audience sang along word for word; which is pretty impressive considering that Jack has a tendency of improvising and singing things slightly differently to the recorded versions of his songs. While Jack’s incredible gravelly vocals and impressive guitar work do a lot of the talking, Zach’s bass and Callum’s drums provide some seriously slick grooves which acted like a heartbeat throughout the set, tying everything together.
As the lights dimmed and the intro clicks for Off The Floor began to play in the room, everyone was instantly filled with anticipation as Arcane Roots took to the stage for their performance. The song was certainly the right choice for the opener, as the melodic pulsating track sounded absolutely gargantuan live. The rest of the set was filled with a mixture of new and old tracks alike; plenty to keep everyone happy. One of the most intriguing things about the show was the dark vs light element which seemed to play throughout both their music and lighting show, creating the perfect balance. Sometimes, you could be listening to the most soothing moment, where the band would peacefully layer strings and frontman Andrew Groves’ haunting vocals to create the perfect soundscape, and then the next moment it could be pierced by angry or passionate shouts and heavy rock drums and guitars. It catches you unawares, but it is powerful and heart wrenching and is one of things that really helps to cement the band in my mind as one of the most original and inventive acts in the UK at the moment.