After a busy 2012 which saw Yashin release their biggest album to date, replace their guitarist and tour with the likes of Limp Bizkit and Black Veil Brides, as well as playing Download festival, 2013 promises to be another exciting year for the Scottish post-hardcore band, beginning with this short March tour of small venues. Tonight’s show gets off to an inauspicious start, however, as the painfully inefficient entry and ticketing system leads to most of the crowd being left shivering in the cold outside the venue up to half an hour after doors are supposed to have opened. Such is the unpleasantness of the atmosphere that the venue sends out the guitarist of first support band Dead with a megaphone to bring cheer to the mutinous crowd. Unfortunately for him, he’s not entirely successful.
Once we actually manage to get inside the situation isn’t much better, as the sound Dead are making up on stage is best described as amateurish, and their efforts are being further sabotaged by a flawed sound system that renders the vocals inaudible and turns guitar chords into ear-drum destroying screeches. Dead are met with irritated apathy from the crowd and slink off scowling after their set.
Second band Taking Hayley fare slightly better, as by the time they come on stage frantic adjustments have been made to the sound system and the lead singer’s vocals are at least audible, if not exactly clear. Their slick, pop-rock is reminiscent of You Me At Six, and the combination of a rather sweet song about friendship and a catchy, fun cover of Labyrinth’s ‘Earthquake’ completely wins over the subdued crowd and by the time Taking Hayley finish their set with their debut single ‘Circles’ the atmosphere of the room is substantially warmer, with a definite excited buzz.
This excited buzz turns into full blown hysteria as soon as Fearless Vampire Killers take to the stage, accompanied by a chorus of frenzied teenage screams. They immediately launch into a short but blistering set containing a mixture of fan favourites and tracks from their new EP. Charismatic frontmen Kier Kemp and Lawrence Beveridge grip the crowd’s attention like consummate professionals and are forced to fend off hordes of groping female hands every time they venture near the front of the stage. Guitarist Cyrus Barrone is shyer, but still delivers an incredible guitar solo which sends the entire crowd absolutely wild and incites a ferocious mosh pit. New single ‘Diamond Dust and Crimson Rain’ is a highlight of their set, it’s a flawless, anthemic song and the rapturous response it receives from the crowd is entirely justified. Fearless Vampire Killers definitely give the performance to beat of the night, and the strength of their set means that they promise to be one of the must-see bands at Takedown festival in May.
After that performance, Yashin have a lot to live up to, and they certainly give it their best shot. They come out all guns blazing, with a set of fast, furious hardcore anthems which whip the crowd into a frenzy of moshing and crowd-surfing. The band are on great form, laughing and joking with the stage invaders that manage to crowd surf all the way to the front, much to the horror of their security team. The pace of the set briefly slows for a moment when ‘Stand Up’ is played; it’s a slower, almost acoustic song that shows the full range of clean vocalist Harry Radford. It’s a very moving song, beautifully performed, and the crowd briefly calm down and raise their lighters to the air in a moment of quiet respect. Afterwards, however, the pace speeds up once more with final number ‘Runaway Train’, an enjoyably catchy song, and a great end to the evening. Despite the early wobbles this has proved to be an excellent night, with Yashin and Fearless Vampire Killers both clearly at the top of their game, although, for me, Fearless Vampire Killers gave the slightly better performance of the night with their unique, operatic take on rock music. They’ve certainly proved tonight that they’re a band to keep an eye on.