Tax The Heat have their first sold out headline show for good reason.
First on stage are Ghost Of The Avalanche, the Frome, UK-based duo, consisting of Miles ‘Miles Per-Hour Brown’ Pereira (vocals and drums) and Nick Wilton, aka Nick Wiltone, (vocals and bass guitar). The lads share a precursory handshake and a knowing wink before speeding into a frenzy of thumping bass, a cacophony of drum rims, and fuzzy echoes. Sharing punchy vocals on their punk-infused heavy rock, “Volcano,” continues with a military drum beat before erupting into an explosion of power and noise provided by the contortionist, Miles, resembling a manic spider on acid.
Their aggressive set maintains the quick pace, quirky tempo changes and onslaught of high impact vocals, retaining the attention and appreciation of their mesmerized audience. “Hold Your Fire,” and “Feels Like Home,” prove to be real crowd pleasers being full of attitude and venom. During “The Park,” Miles launches himself atop his drum kit and beats on the bassistâ€™s microphone stand, whilst maintaining an up-tempo beat, before sliding back to his seat, instantly thumping his weapons again. Their humorous side resurfaces with the blink and you’ll miss it as they roll into “Body Snatchers” and “Nasty Wolves.” Both are of the same ilk, being just a few seconds long. Like a tornado, their fourteen song set has pummeled by, leaving the crowd ready for more.
Joining the headliners on the whole of their UK tour and playing in Bristol for the first time are London-based Leogun, fronted by Tommy Smith (lead vocals and guitar), Matt Johnson (bass guitar), and Michael Lloyd (drums).
A lengthy reverb intro to “My Motor” seduces the crowd, then the tranquility is punctured with spirited melody as Tommy sets the scene of what’s to come, singing “Can’t keep my motor from starting,” accompanied with powerful guitar riffs, whilst the band interact with energy and bounce.
Leogun means business with several songs, such as “Disconnected,” and “Beauty Queen,” taken from their new EP Majick Potion. The tracks showcase their talent, something best seen and heard in the raw. These epitomize their capability to harmonize nuances of country blues with solid heart-pounding rock, interspersing transitional tempos for variety and punch.
Notably, Michael plays much of the set with his eyes closed, clearly in the zone, highlighting a line from the title track, “I close my eyes – I see you there,” or quite possibly as he confided later that actually his eyes were stinging from so much sweat getting into them, because the venue was irrepressibly hot.
Firing up the intensity is the track “Demon,” with bass and drums pulsating with intent. Tommy showcases his nifty fingered guitar strumming, accenting the portrayal of impending danger and urgency, whilst anguishly singing “I gotta get my soul back to heaven now.” The crowd raucously applauds in appreciation.
Concluding Leogun’s set is “Everyday,” which manifests itself as an audience gripper. Beginning with the eerily, slightly psychedelic sounds of a seventies space-age genre, it transforms into a softer rock melody, lulling the crowd. Suddenly the vehemence grows into full-pelt classic hard rock, and then back again. From here on, the rollercoaster of tempos continues, enhanced by the uniformity of the background drumbeat until the final crescendo of epic proportions and almost brutalization of the guitar by Tommy. It may have been Leogun’s first time in Bristol, but judging by how much the audience enjoyed them, it definitely won’t be their last.
Local band, Tax The Heat, are currently signed to Nuclear Blast Records and are comprised of Alex Veale (lead vocals and guitar), Jack Taylor (drums and backing vocals), Antonio Angotti (bass guitar and backing vocals), and JP Jacyshyn (guitar and backing vocals).
Sporting their individual take on rock clothing, Tax The Heat take to the stage smartly dressed in suits adorned with tasteful jewelry and preened hairstyles. Congregating around Jack on drums, they all look to him for their count down in. Like a marionette master, Jack directs them, holding them back, heightening the tension in the room. Abruptly Jack makes his move and an explosion of full throttle rock is the introduction to “You’re Wrong.” It’s attitude laden, robust and pure in-your-face rhythm and blues rock. The crowd is won over instantly.
Retaining the vibe, the title track from the upcoming new album, Fed To The Lions, showcases Alex’s vocal range. Meanwhile, JP with his elevated guitar and Antonio maintain the heavy, upbeat pulse that concludes in an all out frenzy.
“Under Watchful Eye,” follows, reinforcing the basey qualities to the full, akin to the stomp of an industrial machine, powerful and unstoppable. Jack is the eternal smiler, and here he’s enjoying himself so much and singing with such fervor it’s like an assault on the crowd. He is totally engaging. A superb bass guitar solo interlude accompanied with rainsticks gives way to a soulful vocal from Alex.
There is an urgency in the bands rendition of “Animals,” both instrumentally and vocally. All three backing singers together give strength to the words, ‘he’s coming for you,” lending the impression of impending danger. The atmosphere lightens with the softer “Caroline,” having a hint of rocked up Beach Boys, providing an opportunity for the masses to sing along, including interjections of power and finishing gently with just the soft tones of Alex alone.
“Devil’s Daughter” is a stand out performance of the night. JP shows off his quirky moves and the contagious riffs has everybody dancing. Heads are kept swaying with “Stood On The Platform,” as Jack remains the powerhouse on the drums, standing to interact with the rest of the band, and Alex commanding the front of the stage at its conclusion. “Your Fool,” has the gradual build up of a runaway train, yet interspersed with cymbal accents and all four band members get the opportunity to show their skills with individual solos. The evening follows with swathes of openings for Alex to demonstrate his expertise of the guitar strings and rhythmic tones, earning him the crowds respect.
Tax The Heat’s performance throughout the night has proven bigger than the venue size itself. Strong performances of “Nowhere Street,” “Some Sympathy,” and “Lost Woman” gains intense crowd reaction and admiration for the bands multi-faceted skills. In return Alex thanks the audience for making this their first sold out headline show.
Thirteen songs in and Antonio finally takes off his jacket in the sweltering heat for the wonderfully bass laden, “Lost Our Way.” An animated Jack still attacks the drums as though this is his first sight of them and Alex’s voice remains crisp and clear. JP instigates a fun band gathering, and they come back to the mics with the appropriate line of “I don’t know where we lost our way.”
Finally, “Highway Home” sees the guys giving it their all with this anthemic, no holds barred, unadulterated rock song. A dripping Alex encourages audience participation which is eagerly given, as the masses voices become one. The energy is still high, the smiles are wide and the fans are as pumped as the band.
Tax The Heat’s new album “Fed To The Lions” is due to be released in the spring of 2016.
Author: Â Ang Ball
Photos by R-O-C-K Photography