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Devil You Know - Sound Control, Manchester 14.01.2017

So tonight is my first gig of 2017 and I am beyond pumped for this awesome line up. First band of the night is Brutai, a 5 piece hailing from London who I have had the pleasure of seeing once before a couple of years back. They played The Compass in Chester to only a few people, which I remember feeling was a grave injustice as they were musically tight and incredibly engaging as a band. Despite the poor attendance they still played a solid set and didn't allow it to tarnish the night. So roll on to tonight and I am excited to see where the band stand at this point in their career. Thankfully I can say they are completely on point. The strength of their musicianship shows in their songs, perfectly layered with interesting time signatures, catchy riffs aplenty and some awesome vocals from Felix Lawrie. Opening the night can be a thankless slot but tonights slowly filling room is receptive and welcoming and the band respond well. Their job is to warm up the crowd and I believe they do that and more. Brutai are quite simply awesome and are well on their way to greater heights. They grabbed my attention back in Chester, tonight they held it and then some.

Next up we have Wearing Scars. A band I had previously never heard of until tonight and incidentally I appeared to be the only one in the room who hadn't. They arrive on stage and waste no time tearing into one of the best sets I have seen in a long time. I have found these days after seeing so many bands live it takes a lot more to render me impressed but Wearing Scars tick every single box tonight. I find myself smiling as vocalist Chris Clancy sings from the heart. He pours emotion into the lyrics and his energy is infectious. Along for the ride is the incredibly accomplished guitarist Andy James. Having only heard from others of his skills before tonight, I can say seeing and hearing it live was everything I had hoped for and more. That dude can play! It is easy to understand why he is admired by guitarists and fans the world over. All in all Wearing Scars have very much made a fan of me tonight. Purchasing of their back catalogue is a must.

2 bands in and I am riding a high. As first gigs go this has exceeded expectations so far. With ONI taking the stage I am excited to see how it proceeds from here.

Sadly my high quickly disperses, ONI sadly just don't hit the mark for me tonight. Frustratingly so because to fault the musicianship here would be a crime. The band has at its disposal an Xylosynth which is something I have never witnessed before and as incredibly cool as it is, the novelty soon wears off. Like I said the display of talent here can't go un-noted but something just doesn't connect for me tonight and scanning the crowd from my side of stage position I can see that I am not the only one. With a song clocking in at just over 10 minutes, that singer Jake Oni introduced as 'this one is going to be boring as shit for you' I find it hard to disagree. Few bands have left me as conflicted as ONI. Everything here screams of a talented band but the level of disconnect myself and the audience feel doesn't go unnoticed. I plan on checking out their studio albums and seeing wether something has been lost somewhere in translation from studio to stage. Disappointing.

Finally the moment I have been waiting for. Howard Jones in is own words 'Is back bitches'.

As a huge fan of Killswitch Engage and more importantly Howards time in the band and the mark he left, seeing him tonight holds great expectations. While arguably his time in KSE has passed and he has moved on, it is impossible for any fan to not draw comparisons between KSE and Devil You Know. With that in mind I try to stay as open minded as I can and am ultimately blown away as I witness a man possessed tear around the stage of Sound Control. Its stage is much smaller than the ones he used to grace here in the UK and the room has sadly only filled to half capacity, but does he care? Fuck no! Howard's energy and charisma is very much a credit to him as a frontman, he is excited to be here and so incredibly thankful for the turnout tonight and every night on this tour so far. Add in the fact Devil You Know sport a strong catalogue of catchy songs and you have all the ingredients to an excellent gig.

As sad as it was to see Howard leave KSE, it allowed for the birth of Devil You Know and while they haven't reached the same heights here in the UK (yet), I truly believe the band allowed a rebirthing for Howard and a chance to carve a new direction with his musical career, a direction that is very much on course. I can't really put into words how infectious the mans presence is while he commands his stage. Funny and humble with a hell of a voice. Accompanied by great musicians playing some epic Metal, tonight became exactly what it needed to be.

Devil You Know owned Manchester.

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