An intimate riot by one of the UK’s finest 10/10
Kaya Tarsus has a glare of pure intensity as he takes the stage flanked by Big Les and Chris Pritchard. This isn’t going to be a gig, it’s going to be a war.
It’s a small, intimate gig for Blood Youth who “never take a night off” and are here in between dates on their tour with Crossfaith. Instead of 2,000 screaming fans, The Bunkhouse has a capacity of around 100 which means fans get to see these huge stars up close and really personal as there’s no room for a pit barrier. The Bunkhouse is a new venue, doesn’t have a lot in the way of stage lighting, has a very wobbly PA stack but is a good venue and this is a major coup for them.
I was unable to get there to catch support bands RXPTRS and I Am Gravity which is really unfortunate considering the performances of A Night Like This and Blood Youth.
A Night Like This are a four piece emo/post-hardcore outfit who, it transpires are a local band from Neath. It’s hard to imagine these guys not being on larger stages as they are phenomenal. From the very beginning this is a band giving absolutely everything they have for the small crowd and despite drummer Ronan Samolinski having audio difficulties they never miss a step. Singer Dom Hoven is a whirlwind on the tiny stage, he is a charismatic and compelling frontman backed up by Josef Lovett and Dan O’Brien’s driving power. The only thing that lets them down slightly is that they have a couple of tracks with backing track intros which break the energy they are creating. Their single Free is like a lot of their material in that it’s heavier live but by God, it’s a song and a half. A Night Like They close out their set with Insomnia before leaving the stage to Blood Youth, who are at risk of being blown off stage here.
Kaya Tarsus looks ready for a fight when he takes the stage, he’s intense and looks borderline deranged. Blood Youth explode and don’t let up for a second, whipping the crowd into a frenzied pit. With no barrier, people throwing each other around and Big Les’ microphone stand taking a dive, the various photographers at the stage clear out for safer ground. As good as A Night Like This were, Blood Youth are asserting their dominance and this is their house now. By the time they’ve gotten to their latest single, Starve, the four lads from Harrogate have shown exactly why they are on the big festivals and why they are seen as the UK’s next big export. Tarsus has an unbelievable magnetism and stage presence with the front row of men just wanting to touch him; he’s a rock star through and through as he slaps hands mid song, gets fans singing along and has the audience in the palm of his hand. We’re encouraged to support local music, he thanks the venue and then the band unleash the riotous Reason to Stay with an explosive fury which sees the front row trying to get onto the stage. Blood Youth are a high performance machine who have given everything to a small but ravenous crowd, they haven’t dialled it in and they’ve risen to a challenge and proved themselves as the top dog. As the band leave the stage to chants of “one more song”, they look like they could still go another hour. Blood Youth are a force of nature that need to be experienced live.
Metal Report Editor.
Ex guitarist in Zenopede, ex vocals for a goth covers band that was hailed as the future of Welsh music, former DJ, promoter and nightclub director. Writer for Gear4Geeks’ Blog4Geeks and owner of Gear4Geeks ltd. First published music critique was Kerrang letter of the Week.
Definitely has never been the future, present or past of Welsh music.