Altered Sky @ The Garage 2, London

31st July 2015
Review by Soozi Chameleone
Photography by Stephen Buss

Tonight we are at the Garage 2 for Altered Sky’s London show of their album release ‘Bury It All’ tour, and the turnout isn’t incredible but the excitable energy and enthusiasm from the ultra youthful crowd can be felt nonetheless. The hardworking Glaswegian quartet have amassed a sizeable following in their five years as an outfit; does their undeniable likeness to fellow pop rockers Paramore have anything to do with this? More on Altered Sky later, but first let’s give their three supporting acts this evening a once over.

AlteredSky AlteredSky

First up is Inside Sky, a six piece whose brand of melodic soft rock is serene and soothing at best but wholly forgettable at worst. Main vocalist Emily’s voice lacks any real character or unique strength, and due to nerves, not enough warm up or both, she falls flat on a number of occasions.

Inside Sky - Emily Rice Inside Sky – Emily Rice

She is supported by a backing vocalist (whose voice is also mediocre and she either spends the whole of their set standing too far away from the mic to be heard or just not singing at all) and the band’s rhythm guitarist (who is actually the strongest vocalist of them all), but despite this, Inside Sky fail to make any real impact, which is a shame because as musicians they are unquestionably tight and proficient.

Inside Sky - Drew Rice and Emily Rice Inside Sky – Drew Rice and Emily Rice

On occasion their lead guitarist produces a beautiful lick or riff, and the vocal harmonies at the end of ‘Summer Rain’ work really well, but overall it is a disappointing show.

Setlist

Packed Her Bags
Soul Fits Gold
Pretend
Summer Rain
Mistakes
It’s Over Again
Distance

Inside Sky Inside Sky

3 piece pop-punk rockers Box the Sky are up next and they launch straight into an upbeat, snappy instrumental as a way of impressively introducing their sound. Their stage presence and comical interactions with the crowd has an effect that instantly pulls you over to their side and they have the audience in the palm of their hands in no time.

Box The Sky - Elliott Millman and BIGZ Box The Sky – Elliott Millman and BIGZ

Everyone’s bouncing along to their version of modern American punk rock, complete with ballsy and confident vocals and snappy drum riffs but in terms of their material overall, it has all been done before.

Box The Sky - Elliott Millman Box The Sky – Elliott Millman

They are somewhat reminiscent of Lost Prophets at their commercial peak (whether this is a good thing or not isĀ  down to personal opinion) and it gives the impression of a band trying to ‘play it safe’ for the sake of gaining mass appeal with a younger audience.

Box The Sky - BIGZ Box The Sky – BIGZ

It may work in the short run, but if Box the Sky want to be in it for the long haul, then they will need to start thinking of ways to bring something new to the genre before people get bored.

Setlist

Heartfelt Message
Two Inches Above the Street
Silver Spin
Dream Bridge
Seven is a Neverender

Speaking in Shadows Speaking in Shadows

Bursting on to the stage with relentless energy next is main headliners Speaking in Shadows, and the audience’s reaction to them speaks volumes; the kids can’t get enough of this Alt Rock outfit, particularly when they launch into their latest single ‘Breaking Silence’.

Speaking in Shadows - Adam Smith Speaking in Shadows – Adam Smith

Vocalist Adam undeniably has a high level of vocal proficiency, displaying his range and power at every given opportunity and utilising a vocal effects box to enhance his performance at just the right moments.

Speaking in Shadows - Lewis Sketchley Speaking in Shadows – Lewis Sketchley

Bassist Sam stands out as a technically advanced musician with his intricate basslines and varied playing styles, and for the intro to ‘And Grit’, Adam teaches the hyperactive crowd melodies to sing back to them, resulting in an increase in the overall crowd response.

Speaking in Shadows - Ali Carvell Speaking in Shadows – Ali Carvell

By the end of their set, this crowd are practically begging for more!

Setlist

Sweet Gemini
Breaking Silence
Scatter
And Grit
Capsized
Technicolour Trainwreck

AlteredSky AlteredSky

It would be too predictable and easy to smother a headlining act with words of praise, but when it comes to Altered Sky, the praise comes as easy as drawing blood from a stone.

AlteredSky_TheGarage_IVUpload_1025px-102

No, you cannot deny that this young and sprightly (genre) bunch of musicians do have a lot of talent, likeability and a knack for writing catchy teenage anthems, but the blueprint for this exact type of act has already been drawn up and achieved a huge amount of success both sides of the pond.

AlteredSky - Richard Passe AlteredSky – Richard Passe

There are practically no differences between Altered Sky’s musical sky, stage performance and stylistic brand and Paramore, which, unless a band purposefully chooses to be this similar to an already successful band as either a tribute act or parody, feels a little like cheating. Originality is absolutely key in the music industry today, and however hardworking, enthusiastic and talented Altered Sky are, it may not be enough for them to achieve success on a grander scale than they have already reached.

AlteredSky_TheGarage_IVUpload_1025px-100

Frontwoman Ana is endearingly passionate and lively, belting out one catchy tune after another and fully utilising her powerful, top end vocal range and is challenged in terms of springing abilities by guitarists Richard and Ross, who occasionally leap into the air from upon their makeshift platforms (made out of equipment boxes).

AlteredSky - Amy Blair AlteredSky – Amy Blair

Drummer Amy cannot be faulted in her reliable, consistent and spunky style but the Paramore comparison will never stop being made unless this band decode to use the success they have already achieved to diversify, find a sound and style that is truly theirs and begin to stand out from the rest as opposed to attempting to pick up where Paramore left off.

AlteredSky - Ana Nowosielska AlteredSky – Ana Nowosielska

Setlist

I Know You Know
Decay
Where I Belong
Traitor In Me
Apple Tree
Songbird
This War is Mine
Livewire
Live for It
Bury It All

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