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.
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.
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.
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.
Packed Her Bags
Soul Fits Gold
It’s Over Again
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.
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.
They are somewhat reminiscent of Lost Prophets at their commercial peak (whether this is a good thing or not is 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.
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.
Two Inches Above the Street
Seven is a Neverender
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’.
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.
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.
By the end of their set, this crowd are practically begging for more!
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
I Know You Know
Where I Belong
Traitor In Me
This War is Mine
Live for It
Bury It All