Review By Smudge
The Brickmakers, Norwich
Friday, November 24th 2023
Friday night in the Far East, Norwich to be exact. Definitely not tropical, practically freezing and damp but that didn’t dampen my excitement for an evening of top-notch UK talent.
Pryma were prompt followed closely by Lavire but at doors open Jehennah were still nowhere to be seen despite being the closest. When they did arrive and after a brief soundcheck they dived straight into their particular brand of Alt/Rock. The first song was full of angst and melancholy and didn’t do much for me then they introduced ‘Alien Song’ which has a great intro that developed into another dark atmospheric melodic rocker which has a fine dual vocal harmony between singer Emily and Emma the keyboard player. They surprised us with a stunning re-interpretation of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams’ which could have been done without the funky bass bit but did include a fine solo from the guitarist.
The new single ‘Hollow’ was introduced but there was something missing for me, then ‘Animal’ definitely hit the spot. ‘The Preacher’ brought some proper rock before the catchy ‘Evil Genius’ and their best song of the night a huge raucous cover of Ed Sheeran’s collaborative effort with Chris Stapleton and Bruno Mars – ‘Blow’. Talk about raising the roof!
I’ve seen Pryma a couple of times on different size stages and they have never failed to deliver. I will openly admit that I love this band. They have something very special between the four of them and I hope that 2024 will see them propel up the ladder. Opening with ‘Suicide Storm’ got them warmed up nicely for my fave track ‘My Bastard Gods’ which got me and the Dom the drummer’s girlfriend (Harley the horse physio) roaring the chorus. New tracks ‘My Cold Shadow’ and ‘Survival’ were both huge and fantastic additions to their arsenal of monstrous groove-laden songs.
Now, when singer Gabi says move – you move! And we did on ‘1:23:45’ with it’s manic evil stomp. Two more new songs ‘Black Teeth’ a single guitar gallop and the Armageddon on four pairs of legs – ‘Dead To Me’ which was truly brutal. It was singing time again for us in the crowd on ‘Freaky Fright Night’. The band were given the sign for one more song and after a quick huddle they knocked out the biggest, loudest version of Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’ I’ve ever heard! Man, did they rock the fuck out of that! Another brilliant performance – drummer Dom is a beast behind the kit, bass man Anthony – resplendent in his baby blue tutu (he lost the best pizza competition and that was his forfeit!) kept the bottom end low and locked in with Dom whilst guitarist Max not only has the gift of the riff but he can shred as well as anyone and as for Gabi – this chick doesn’t just sing, she inhabits the characters of the songs whether they’re damaged or angry (sometimes both) she performs that role perfectly.
I’ve also seen Lavire a couple of times on different-sized stages and I’m always astounded at the sound that guitarist Aaron gets out of his Fender Telecaster. What Lavire offer is no frills heavy stoner/grunge grooves – no guitar solo just a whole load of riffage and singer Chloe’s varied voice. With songs like ‘Welcome To The Freak Show’ and ‘The Wall’ they know what works and they also know how to deliver. Nothing fancy but they make it look and sound fresh and new.
What a fantastic night of young UK heavy rock. Something for everyone in an intimate setting. Those of us who were there will remember seeing these three bands at touching distance before they, no doubt, all step up to the big stage. Catch ‘em while you can!