February 21st 2020
Photos and Review by Ryan Whitwell (Shotison.com)
Three bands, all with different moods and styles, would be gracing the stage at 229 The Venue tonight. Church of the Cosmic Skull would be supported by Grave Lines and Satlan for the penultimate date of their most recent tour.
Satlan were the first up to get things warmed up. I’ve been following these guys since they were known as “Killing Man Jahro” but I haven’t seen them on a stage or venue this size before.
After a bit of technical difficulty (if you can call a guitar cab falling over a “technical difficulty”) Satlan found their groove and as people began filling the venue took to the pretty large stage with ease. They haven’t got any music released yet (though sources suggest they may rectify that this year) so I don’t know any of the song titles, but the set was solid.
Lots of changes in intensity and a few tempo shifts kept things moving nicely with some solid head-nodding riffs and some very active drumming at times. The full-on vocals were blasted forth also, with the singer, Soozi Cameleon, moving to the edge of the stage at times, making her even harder to ignore! There was a great energy in the room afterwards with eardrums suitably rattled as the venue continued to fill up with latecomers.
Grave Lines would be there to greet the less prompt music fans, and it’s quite a thing to walk into! Massively intense vibes, with plenty of doom and gloom throughout the set. Huge riffs, angry vocals and some hard-hitting beats would provide a different experience from the previous and following band.
Once again, special attention was paid to the vocalist as he fully committed to the emotional toll the songs seemed to have. Taking swigs from a wine bottle as the guitarist had a bit of Jack Daniels on stage too, it adds to the depressing tone some of the numbers have, but they are heavy and still managed to get heads nodding in the crowd. I noticed a few faces seemed to be in awe of the intensity present on stage too.
I have also been following these guys for a few years, and tonight they were showing off their new drummer who was very active! Some big hits are required and he seemed to be having a great time if his facial expressions were anything to go by!
The whole set was fantastic, with guitarist Ollie giving shouts of encouragement to the crowd at times before throwing himself into the required riffs. Was a lot of fun to see these guys on a bigger stage than I usually do and they seemed to be elevated slightly in terms of performance by the boost in venue capacity!
And finally, Church of the Cosmic Skull would get the party going with their peculiar mix of upbeat vibes with a hint of something sinister lurking amongst the melodies.
I never find it easy to describe this band to people, they’re rock, obviously, but the strangeness that emanates from some of the songs is hard to point out and is something you just have to notice on your own. I have been told by members of the band that they are not a cult, just a spiritual organisation like anyone else, which is reassuring.
The large slogans projected behind the band between some of the songs gave some respite from the moving and grooving that was going on in the crowd. The nodding that was witnessed during the previous bands wasn’t really the right action with songs like ‘Mountain Heart’ as feet began to move too.
The set was great, all killer no filler, with a mix of tracks from all three of their albums. Newer numbers like ‘Everybody’s Going to Die’ and ‘Sourcery and Sabotage’ seemed to be just as popular as older numbers in the set among the busy venue.
I should probably point out that relatively early on in the set, Soozi from Satlan had given me a few shots of whiskey, which, while welcome at the time, did get to me about halfway through the set. This lead to the camera being put away after a while so I could have a dance down the front! Fortunately, the set seemed to take a turn towards a few older numbers, like ‘Evil Eye’ and ‘Cold Sweat’, which prompted a strong response from the fans.
The overall vibe was a fun one, as the ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ on stage seemed to be having as much fun playing as many of the fans had listened to them. Was also nice to chat to a couple of band members and fans afterwards too, a great bunch of people!