BLOODYWOOD - RAJ AGAINST THE MACHINE TOUR 2023 - OPENING GIG BRIGHTON
Riff Yard Media were at the opening night of Bloodywood’s tour of the UK, with support from Lake Malice, and Duncan Tyler was there to photograph and review the gig.
After finding a car parking space which didn’t cost the earth, I opened the car door on Brighton seafront, only to have the door almost ripped out of my hand as the wind on Friday night battered the South coast. A hasty march to the venue ensued followed by a queue which snaked its way around the pavement - thankfully it wasn’t raining but hats and hoods were up in an attempt to shelter from the wind.
It’s been a while since I’d been to Patterns and I think it was called The Escape Club when I first went many moons ago; the steps down into the venue bringing back some memories.
The first act, Lake Malice, were new to me and I had their short playlist running in the car on the way to the gig to get acquainted.
The venue was about 80% full as they took the stage, which was great to see. Their opener was one of the songs that stood out for me in the car on the way to the gig, Magic Square. The lead singer, Alice, immediately dominated the stage and made her presence known, dancing across the stage and giving it everything. Chunky bass and searing lead guitar were the backbone of their sound for the evening and Alice’s exceptional vocals sat very well in the mix throughout.
Just when you thought you could take a breather, Alice would whip the crowd up again, jumping up on the barrier, and with no photo pit, she was right in your face, capturing you into her web.
Lake Malice played a set of seven solid songs and although they’ve only released five, I assume the other two (Power Game and Bloodbath) will follow shortly.
It is clear that Lake Malice have ability in spades as they have great stage presence and are rapidly building their reputation and fanbase. For a band that I hadn’t heard of before until this gig, it reminded me just how much talent there is out there. The metal scene can be a bit hit and miss for me, but they are very much a hit; they have a great blend in their sound of nu-metal and metalcore. They have just enough sprinkling of synths and heavy vocals to keep you on edge, mixed with catchy riffs and liquid-like vocals to keep you guessing where the song will be going next.
A brilliant set - if you’re going to see Bloodywood on their UK tour, make sure you get there early to see Lake Malice. They’ll be at Download 2023 and it would be good to see them while you can at smaller venues. I can’t wait to see how they progress - a new fan.
A brief interlude occurs before the main course hits the stage. Bloodywood arrive following a brief off-stage chant to get them in the mood to a sold out venue.
First up, the massive hit Gaddaar from their debut album of original material, Rakshak. The percussive nature of Indian folk music mixes so well with their metal sound and leaves you entranced, almost in a hypnotic state as the band pound out the tunes and the dhol blends with the drums giving it an added sense of rhythm.
The sight and sound of a dhol and flute being played on stage and being mixed with rap and heavy vocals is quite something and very refreshing.
“We’re from New Dehli. If we can make it, so can you. Believe in your dreams” is the opening line to a calmer track, Jee Veerey.
There is a very pleasant atmosphere in the venue, which is quite striking, having experienced some crazy gigs in London recently. The part played by the band and the meaningful messages of love, anti-sexual assault (which regrettably is a problem in India) and equality between the songs all resonate with the audience. The vocalists Jayant Bhadula and Raoul Kerr speak excellent English and there is quite a lot of banter between the band and the audience, which no doubt contributed to a great atmosphere. It’s very apparent that they have great charisma and they were exceptionally grateful for the support.
A technical hitch leads to an impromptu drum solo, with the double bass drum pedal getting a punishing workout.
“Expect a riot” was the chant across the venue before they launched into Machi Bhasad (Expect a Riot) and the dhol again making its presence known in the opening lines of the song.
Again they spoke of equality before they burst into Ari Ari, a song laced with messages about diversity as Karan Katiyar (flute and guitar) and Sarthak Pahwa (dohl) ran into the audience to get the crowd going into a frenzy
Punjabi vocals blend effortlessly with English through their songs as East meets West to form a thing of beauty throughout the set.
The encore sadly didn’t happen due a guitar issue, but the crowd left on a high and Bloodywood now move on from their opening gig to the rest of the UK tour.