Saturday 23rd July: An all day gig at The Ivy Leaf Bar

The Ivy Leaf Bar, Sheerness.

The Ivy Leaf Bar has played host to its fair share of music events over the years, and will continue to in the near future, thus Saturday was no exception; throughout the day, there were little over 20 bands playing across two stages. Many with a catalogue of songs destined to gain attention; which makes this considerably difficult to know where to begin...
New to the scene are a bluesy rock trio, known as Broken Banjo. Having only been founded in March of this year, they have a clear sound and their live performance landed them some new fans; myself included. Upon first glance I cannot say confidently I was expecting the voice we were greeted with. It is what I imagine, with time and much refinement, a culmination of Rory Gallagher and Eddie Vedder to sound like. A huge comparison to make I know, but despite the majority of the crowd being formed of bands waiting to play themselves, they had a great energy and I could see potential, and the outcome could be inevitable.
Ascend to Glory followed. Hailing from Medway with all the influences you would expect, they are focusing on “putting something new out there”, but are [fortunately] treating the “screaming” as a secondary aspect to the clean vocals. Fingers crossed this doesn’t change as it worked much better for their look and sound. The screaming aside, which put me off slightly, they had a good energy, and for a young band have a decent following which can only grow.

Left of the Right Side
is your band if you want genuinely good guys who give off a catchy, toe-tapping vibe. While the vocals could have been “punchier” across the majority of the set-list, they put on another good performance, earning them new fans, both young and old. Though they take what they do seriously, it is clear to see they have fun doing what they do, and this reflects on the audience. Their pop-punk and progressive influences come alive every time they play, and while there is still room to grow, they have the determination to do so.

Being that it was still relatively early in the day, Near Ruin didn’t have the most responsive crowd, but neither did a number of acts before 7pm so it was through no fault of their own. But alas, it was a Saturday and the guys of this Kent-based “melodic-metalcore” ensemble wanted movement. And with their self-acclaimed “can-do-attitude”, movement is what they were determined to get. For reasons that surpass me Near Ruin played with two stand in drummers and a bassist with only two strings, but if we look past this we can enjoy their aim to deliver an active performance to their fans; though I am not always a fan of the symphonic and hardcore mix, it somewhat works in their favour.

Romeo is Dead are a welcome act Saturday afternoon. There was a notable lack of crowd for the direct stage area, but the energy was recognised and is teamed with enthusiasm, along with the “we will play anywhere, anytime” statement. Having travelled from Thanet, I would say this is true. The defining moment of their set for me, was when what I call “melodicore meets hip-hop” and Romeo is Dead covered Flo Rida’s “Low”. It was exceptionally brilliant; who’d have thought something like that could work? The original track is catchy and recognisable as it is, but has now been given an enduring edge. They are not to be missed. 

Alternative post hardcore/rock quartet I.R.I.S thrive on “performing live and getting in a sh*tty van and clocking up the miles”. To me, they were an indie group with an edge. The energy didn’t always appear to feed off of each other, but the energy is there! You could not deny them that. They had both a familiar and likeable sound, with hints of grunge and punk influences. I.R.I.S had a confidence to match the passion with the music. “Tuneful and heartfelt” are two words they use to describe their tracks, and I think this reigns true. I would happily see I.R.I.S play again, they had a vibe which worked.

“Did you see something you like?”
An understatement if there ever was one. It is 5:30pm on Saturday and Dirty Vibes speak for themselves; they are not for the faint-hearted, and put on another [dare I say it] thoroughly enjoyable performance. They are a sight to behold and I cannot find fault, however drummer Perry-Lee Angel seems expressionless at times, but he is the backbone to it all and I am being so meticulously picky just so that I have something to write. Now while the following statement is aimed for Thunder’s performance at High Voltage Festival via the Planet Rock blog, I feel it speaks for many in terms of Dirty Vibes, “There is no such thing as a ‘crowd favourite’ in this set. The whole set is a crowd favourite. The band are a crowd favourite”. It doesn’t even matter that Kt-Jo Webb forgot the words during “Ballroom Blitz”, or how I wasn’t surprised to find her stripped down to a corset when I returned from the toilet, she can have a sore throat and still be on top-form with the support and undeniable allure of the band as an entirety.

After letting the guys cool down for an hour or so, and enjoying some fresh air while learning about the recent on-goings of the world through the joy of several smart-phones, I ventured inside to catch the last 20minutes of After the Enclave’s set

After the Enclave are a hard-rock trio from Sittingbourne wo have changed bassist since the last time I saw them play at The Ivy. It was apparent that they were a popular band, though sometimes hard to tel whether this was through the music or general friendship to the band members; either way they played well and kept up the crowd, a crowd who did respond well. After the Enclave ended their set with a cover of Puddle of Mudd's "she hates me", and was a "mellow treat" before what is in store

Heavy riffs and incomprehensible lyrics.
While the stated genre pinned to Then the Wave Came is “cyber death groove-core” [and notably not my preferred taste, but for those whom like having their head f*cked] they had an unmistakeable energy and passion when they took to the stage. They put everything into their performance, so much so that the strain of the vocals was evident. Incidentally this was pushed aside, without even the notion of breaking into a sweat.
One of the few lyrics I found to be comprehendible was “you leave us no choice”. Thus reflective of the promise of dirty grooves and brutalisation I imagine?

Dethrone Exodus followed and like many bands throughout the day, there was nothing truly compelling. Yes I got some good photographs, and yes they had a good energy, they also had a rather good crowd who loved the performance, but I was uninterested. It is not a case that anything is necessarily lacking within the band, as they gave the crowd what they wanted; they just didn’t give me what I wanted. But what is one person’s opinion to a sizeable crowd of faithful fans?

It was apparent that fresh air was needed again.
Once I, and the majority of other folk at The Ivy, were satisfied with the intake of the desecrate air on offer in Sheerness, we ventured forth to watch Callous. One of many favourites to return to The Ivy; there is nothing I can say because the sweat from the excitable crowd says it all.

Speaking of crowd favourites and one that has recently supported Rival Sons, Tank Trap returned for another painstakingly good performance. With the “animal that knows no reason” Tank Trap are a four piece, bluesy grunge-rock band dripping with a cool edginess, and they always draw a crowd; many singing back the lyrics word for word. With the likes of Led Zeppelin, Wolfmother and RATM ranking in their influences, it is safe to say they can please anyone. We were also treated to a new song, with additional intro vocals, from guitarist Ben Atwood. And in a few simple words: they haven’t lost direction. They definitely know what works for them.

Next up, Seven Year Kismet
It is clear to see that SYK have a strong following and they put on a good high energy, if somewhat vocal straining, performance; but the crowd, the vibe and the immediate enthusiasm did not match that of The Ivy Leaf’s “big weekend”. I know this because I did not have to fight my way out of the crowd, and there was no such cue to feel the need to leave. In fact, they, particularly vocalist Luke Sohn, provided me with many a spectacle of hair gestures to photograph.

A myriad of people made their way to the second stage for Wires Faulty. Those who didn't effectively missed out on one of the best performances to date, and a final farewell to bassist Chris Redman-Holland, who is moving on for personal reasons. Comments were made that it is like the “end of an era” but atleast “he went out with a bang”, the energy could be rendered stunning on all levels. Vocals were delivered back from the crowd word for word, which is not unusual for a Wires Faulty performance. They thrive on crowd participation and enjoyment, and I think it was a gig for Chris to remember. They always have an astounding energy; they have distinctive riffs and a determined attitude, so only time will tell if it is the end. Or atleast where a new bassist may take them.

To conclude, Fei Comodo were Saturday’s headlining act for the main stage.
Fei Comodo, like the majority of bands who played, falls under the “hardcore/metal/screamo” genre. However, they were the only ones confident, or audacious enough, to have a track playing while walking onto stage from the “dressing room” and have their own lighting arrangements. I will admit the lighting was an interesting choice and created a daze, which in turn created an atmosphere which added to the hype the band created amongst the audience. While the crowd went crazy, the turnout was not as I had expected; but the bands own jovial gag that the performance was “SHEER mad-NESS” reflects the energy and spirit Fei Comodo did convey.