In muggy weather, Surprise You’re Dead Music brought another excellent line-up of music to the Victoria. Located very close to Birmingham New Street station, the upstairs venue at this Victorian theatre pub is gaining popularity, due to the excellent sound and high quality gigs that are being put on there. This gig did not disappoint in this respect.
The opening band were Birmingham Hardcore/Punk group, Broken Lungs, whose brutal 30 minute onslaught of electrifying music cleared away any lingering thoughts of a peaceful night. Playing a selection of old and new songs, the band certainly put in a workout, with front man Joe Jones in particular bringing his A-game to the crowd. Highlight was the penultimate song “Armed to the teeth” , which delivered the kind of aural assault that the name implied, accompanied by some appropriately rapid stick work.
Next up were Straight for the Sun, an alternative/post hardcore local band with a growing reputation. It was clear from the start that a good proportion of the crowd had come to support them, and the band didn’t disappoint, playing a set including songs from their new EP “No Tomorrow”. This five piece band played a tight set and in singer Calum Green, they have a front man who really commands the stage. Highlights were the majestic “Sirens” (check out the video on youtube), and the final song “Villains” which ended in a brutal moshpit to match the intensity of the band’s performance.
Third band of the night were New York quartet Cryptodira, who I had seen on their previous UK tour at the Asylum2. On that night, they blew me away with their brand of progressive death metal. Today they were even better. So heavy were their opening notes that they literally shattered a glass that had been left by the stage speaker. Their songs juxtaposed moments of gentle harmony with crushing brutal riffs, and at times their playing was simply breathtaking. Highlight was the track “In Hell as on Earth” (check out the video on youtube) from their fantastic album “The Devil’s Despair”.
Headliners Palm Reader released their latest album “Braille” in April last year, which has further elevated their status as a class act. In particular, the song “Swarm” from this album highlights their songwriting and playing skills, and once again proves to be a real crowd pleaser. Throughout their set, their songs showed a wonderful ebb and flow, notably shown by the song “Inertia”, where a slower start builds in to something heavy. A captivating show culminated with the longest song of the set “ A lover, a shadow”), and so another great gig from Surprise You’re Dead Music sadly came to an end.
After a long day’s work, there is nothing like a great metal gig to rejuvenate you.
Review: Pete Slater