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Skarlett Riot - The Anvil, Bournemouth 30.03.2019

I was really excited about this gig before I set off. I love going to The Anvil – it’s one of my favourite venues for seeing some great Rock/Metal – and it is even more fun when the venue is packed out, as it was for this sold out gig.

However, due to an issue with the local trains (which SouthWest Rail would insist was my fault, and I would insist was theirs), I didn’t make it to the gig until Pretty Little Enemy were already a couple of songs into their half-hour set, which I felt bad about. They were a great opening act, with a couple of standout tracks and a rough and ready vibe to them – and their frontwoman knew how to cajole what little crowd was actually watching them into paying attention. I really wish that I’d seen the whole set, but they are definitely a band on my “one to watch” list – they showed a lot of promise.

Then Sister Shotgun took the stage, and to be honest, they blew the roof off the place! A band I’d never encountered before, they have stage presence by the bucketload and were a brilliantly tight unit. Particular mention must go to frontwoman Chloe Ozell, who seemed to have infinite amounts of energy, and drew the casual onlookers into the performance. This band were an absolute delight, and I imagine they are going to explode when their debut album drops at the end of April.

As Fahran took the stage, I was excited. Unlike Pretty Little Enemy or Sister Shotgun, I had heard of Fahran through recommendations of friends, and one of their songs has a place on one of my Spotify playlists, so I was really looking forward to seeing how they performed live. And they were pretty good. With a slightly more polished live sound than either of the two preceding bands, they played through a solid half hour set of some pretty good songs. But sadly the energy level (both from the band, and from the audience in response) had dipped from Sister Shotgun, and I felt that they were the least exciting band of the evening for me. That’s not to take anything away from them – they are still a great band, they just suffered slightly in comparison with the rest of the acts that night.

Then we were waiting for the headliners, the wonderful Skarlett Riot themselves. Like Fahran, I had heard a few songs by the band, and was really keen to see what they could do – and they definitely started strong! Opening with “Break”, the opening track of their latest album, it took a whole thirty seconds before the entire crowd were eating out of frontwoman Skarlett’s hand.

As a band, they were absolutely amazing. Polished, energetic and able to excite the crowd with every song, Skarlett Riot were a genuine joy for the entire set. It didn’t matter whether you were someone who had never heard of them before, a casual listener like myself, or a dedicated fan (like the guy who was desperate to get a chant going before they came onstage, to very little effect) – Skarlett Riot hit you between the eyes with their fantastic performances and strong songs, and they kept going throughout their set.

They seemed truly grateful that we had all come out to enjoy the evening of music, mentioning several times that this was their first ever sold out headlining gig – and all I have to say to that is that they’d better be ready for more to come. Because based on this evening, they are going to dominate the scene pretty soon.

As an evening of entertainment, this was three great bands and one brilliant band – what’s not to love?

Review - Michael Braunton

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