Gig Review

The Xcerts, The Getaway Plan
Bristol, Fleece

26th January 2013

Anberlin                        The Xcerts                 The Getaway Plan

Australian Alt-Rockers The Getaway Plan opened up tonight's show with "The Reckoning" the only album of the bands post-hiatus album "Requiem". The recorded intro built up suspense before the heavy drum beat of Aaron Barnett kicked in. Mathew Wright's vocals were a little drowned out and occasionally a little sharp, which is an occupational hazard of smaller venues like "The Fleece" that win you over with intimacy and the energy that comes with it. The Getaway Plan played a brand new track that saw Mathew pick up a guitar, before moving on to "Flying Colours" and "Phantoms". Bassist Dave Anderson bounced around a bit during songs but other than Mathew who looked comfortable moving around the stage with his mic in hand, there was little energy on or off the stage. The second to last track saw a turn back to the band's debut album "Other Voices, Other Rooms" for the softer "Where The City Meets The Sea". The band finally started to capture the full attention of everyone in the crowd and earn a well deserved applause. "Heartstone" drew the set to a close with a round of applause. It took a long way for The Getaway Plan to get the crowd going, in spite of putting on a good set, with a weight in their live performance that isn't captured on their CD's. It would have been nice to see a more confident performance with a bit more energy, but sadly the thirty minuet slot cut them off just as things were starting to brew.

The Xcerts was the first band I ever reviewed for AV and they blew me away. In spite of their constant touring and bringing them around the Bristol Bath area a number of times I never managed to get to a show. I waited with anticipation, and unfortunately there were some sound check issues that made it quite a wait, but after about 30 minutes they finally took to the stage with their gritty guitar sound and catchy lyrics. Front man Murray Macleod was quick to thank the crowd for bearing with them and cracked a few jokes, completely un-phased by the initial hostility of an impatient crowd. "Do You Feel Safe?" from the band's debut album " "In the Cold Wind We Smile" was mixed in with tracks from "Scatterbrain" as well as the new and catchy song "Shaking In The Water". Jordan Smiths deep powerful bass riffs perfectly complement the scratchy raw guitar sound of Murray, highlighting the tune encased in distortion. The Xcerts continue to impress me with their music more impressively their live performances, mixing humour, energy and emotion without detracting from the sound. The constant touring really shows, and you can tell they really enjoy playing, with Murray bouncing round the stage and Tom Heron's face wrought with emotion as he hammers away at the drums. The set ended with the crowd singing "I'll be your mannequin" from the chorus of "Slackerpop". Other than the delay and "Scatterbrain" not being in the set list it was another faultless performance by The Xcerts. How long can it be till they make the leap like Young Guns, they deserve it.

Anberlin were the main attraction of tonight's events, taking the stage in true professional style. With the lights out and recorded intro building suspense everyone's eyes fixed on the stage, as a few shadowy figures moved into position before being illuminated as the opening riff of "Little Tyrants" bellowed out of the speakers. The crowd threw their hands into the air and clapped along from the get go, and didn't stop throughout the set.

Anberlin took a step back from "vital" with "Hello Alone" and "Paperthin Hymn" with Joseph Milligan and Christian McAlhaney's guitars exploding into the chorus. Bands like Natives, and Linkin Park have big choruses but this was absolutely massive. Stephen Christian showed his impressive vocal range and powerful voice that is the heart of Anberlin's tracks, but there were some issues that plagued the vocals of every band at tonight's show, and with Stephen having to compete with the added force of a second guitar and crowd singing word for word it was sometimes difficult to hear him fully.

The drums were relentless throughout the set and no more so that during the intro of "Self-Starter" which to my surprise wasn't received with a mass of moving bodies. In an intimate venue like The Fleece things can get crazy with fans practically bouncing off walls and people crowd surfing or climbing onto the stage, which is great fun, but tonight everyone was happy to just sing along and jump up and down with their hands in the air. Tonight however was a much more respectful appreciation by fans old and new, with most of the movement on stage. "Never Take Friendship Personal", "The resistance", "Dismantle Repair"and "Other Side" continued in good fashion, with Stephen jumping around the stage, Deon Rexroat showing what he could do on bass and Christian standing up the front of the stage holding his guitar over the crowd. Performing a good mix off their albums including "Readyfuels" off of the band's debut album "Blueprints for The Black Market" now a decade old, but just as welcomed by the crowd, with a ripping guitar solo.

After a few more tracks including "Someone Anyone" the set drew to a close, but the fans were still hungry for more, chanting and cheering until they returned to play the fast paced "Godspeed" tying the set of brilliantly with its dominating solo and catchy lyrics. Anberlin but on a fast passed energetic perfomance with a lot of feeling, with the vocals being drown out as the only real fault. Small intimate venue's can bring out the best in a band and be an incredible and unforgettable show but tonight everyone was just in awe cheering and clapping after every song it seemed more like they belonged on a big stage. Their performance and rock star appearance suits a much bigger stage, and their set could be taken to another level with the lights and effects that come with it. Some band's suit a big stage, some bands suit a small stage, and Anberlin are definitely the former. They put on a great performance and only the venue prevented it from being a great show.

The Getaway Plan 3/5
The Xcerts 4/5
Anberlin 4.5/5

Review By Marc Rich


Stephen Christian
Deon Rexroat
Joseph Milligan
Nathan Young
Christian McAlhaney

 The Xcerts

Murray Macleod
Jordan Smith
Tom Heron

 The Getaway Plan

Aaron Barnett
Clint Owen Ellis
Dave Anderson
Matthew Wright

 Band Related Links
Anberlin Facebook
The Xcerts Facebook
The Getaway Plan Facebook
 Review Score Code
- Top Cheese
- Brilliant
- Pretty damn good
- Ok I guess
- What Was That?