Devilskin, The Fallen State, Pearler, Hobos Bridgend
Considering I've been going to gigs since I was about 8 years old, I've been to Bridgend's most famous venue Hobos. Hidden on the main shopping street the upstairs venue is a big square loud room with a seperate section that's a lounge meaning you can get a bit of respite between the bands, something I personally enjoyed having been moving house for two days!
We entered the venue which wasn't full by any means but had enough people there ready for the local openers Pearler (8), now I'd seen the band before supporting Buffalo Summer and I did make a few comments about their unique look with the band styled like to stoners and two members of Motley Crue but that aside the music the they play is right up my alley, deafening, groove heavy stoner rock based on the styles of Monster Magnet and Soundgarden, the reverbed vocals and fat juicy riffs meant they got heads nodding from the off. Mixing tracks from their first EP and their upcoming second EP (released early 2019) they showed that they've got a lot of gas in the tank. They're between song typical Welsh humour and self-depreciation also got the crowd to warm to them meaning they received a pretty good response once their set had finished, Pearler were a lot better here than they had been the last time I saw them, so I definitely look forward to seeing them again once their second EP is released.
Next up were the main tour support The Fallen State (5) a band heavily touted as ones to watch on the UK scene. I'll admit they have energy and a fire but what they don't have are songs, their modern alt rock sound sitting in the Shinedown mold and unfortunately like Shinedown where they suffered was the vocals, with a frontman, guitarist and drummer all contributing to the vocals it was a little obvious that the weakness was with the main singer although it was hard to work that out due to how loud the backing vocals were. After about four songs I took my leave trying to save energy for the headliner as the music just wasn't doing anything for me.
A drink, a sit down and back into the performance area for the band I've promoting since their debut got a European release. New Zealand based heavy rockers band Devilskin (9) marched onto the stage with Nail (guitar) and Paul Martin (bass) either side both sporting their trademark purple goatees as the young engine room Nik Martin took his seat behind the drums, the opening bars of Pray began to ring out through the room as Jennie Skulander bounded on to the stage and unleashed her astounding vocal assault from minute one. Having been on tour with Halestorm for the previous month they were at this time cooking with gas and at their slickest the thumping rhythm section of Paul and Nik driving the heavier numbers like Elvis Presley Circle Pit, Start A Revolution, Until You Bleed allowing Nail to riff and pull some solos for the bands more melodic showings.
Genuinely pleased to playing for the first time in Wales they pulled out all the stops taking songs from their two full lengths along with some brilliant new numbers like the blistering All Fall Down and the soon to be anthem Endo. Jennie jived and rocked throughout the evening impressing everyone in the crowd, including some of my compatriots with the ease that she switches between soaring cleans and harsh growls. If you were in any doubt about here power they had the audacity to cover Heart's Barracuda and do it justice, Paul the fleet fingered bass player, Nik kicking the jams, Nail handling the stuttering guitar while Jennie having all the power of Anne Wilson. It was their own songs that got the biggest response though groovy, heavy but with melodic edge to them the excellent Never See The Light, Voices, Vessel all brought some of that sing along quality while Little Pills and Violation rounded out the set with a thunder. The softly spoken Nail invited everyone to have drink with the band after the gig, reinforcing the strong bond between band and fans and they exited the stage to big applause from the now much larger crowd. Hopefully Devilskin will break through in the UK and play bigger venues, they are a very talented, likeable band who deserve to be as revered as their tourmates Halestorm at least.