There is no denying that South Wales five-piece Casey have had an absolute whirl-wind of a year. The band absolutely smashed summer performances at both Download Festival and Slam Dunk, and gained a prized support slot with Aussie favourites the Amity Affliction on their most recent European tour. Astonishingly, Casey managed these successes off the back of their freshman release Love is Not Enough, which demonstrates just how rapidly the band have made waves within the UK scene and beyond. Flash-forward to the present, and the ambitious sophomore album Where I Go When I Am Sleeping has been circulating the airwaves for just over two months and has received critical acclaim. Casey played a sold out Birmingham show as part of their album release cycle, which proved to be an intimate and sweat-packed setting for the evenings antics.
Opening the show was Hamilton, Ontario five-piece Rarity. With an amalgamation of pop-punk and post-hardcore sounds, the band set intensity levels at fever pitch. Considering the venue resembled a sauna, the lads were not hindered by the heat, aggressively pacing around the stage and even leading the audience from the crowd. Vocalist Loeden Learn was potentially a little over-optimistic in his call for the crowd to move forward and get involved this early on in 30-degree heat, nonetheless he cannot be faulted for his ruthless and aggressive vocal display. The band certainly made an impact on the crowd, with a number of die-hard fans singing full-pelt and furiously finger-pointing to every word. (7)
Final support came from Australian ambient-rockers Endless Heights. Playing a pleasantly impressive set, the band had a rather large following at the show, and certainly gained more fans after their dreamy set. Stylistically, the band lent themselves to the sound of Casey, and were a perfect complement to the line-up. Endless Heights showcased a lengthy setlist, that contained a number of tracks from their most recent release Vicious Pleasure. Tracks ‘Pray I Fade’ and ‘Drain’ were particular highlights from the set, demonstrating the vibrancy and melodical nature of the band’s sound. Nonetheless, Endless Heights have a raw and forceful sound too, and this was made clear through ‘You Coward’, which had the crowd nodding in approval. The band certainly made a strong and favourable impression on the Asylum crowd, and it would be brilliant to see the band back on UK soil again soon. (8)
As the stage-lights transitioned to a blue dim light, Casey were met with rapturous applause from the sell-out crowd. Opening with the sombre musings of ‘Making Weight’ it was hard to hear frontman Tom Weaver’s vocals over the swells of the crowd singing along in unison. Tearing straight into ‘Phosphenes’ Weaver’s vocals transition into thunderous growls. Weaver shows a certain vulnerability when on stage, with the lyrical content of WIGWIAS focusing on his challenges with illness and depression, his performance proved transparent and expressive. A special highlight appeared when the band played down-tempo favourites ‘Hell’ and ‘Darling’ consecutively- the crowd’s bellowing sing-a-long left band members grinning from ear-to-ear.
The band continued their set with an extended melodic interlude, which fans of the band have become familiar with from their records and live performances.
The band’s drummer, Max Nicolai should be recognised here, as his passion radiated throughout the venue and every ounce of energy was given by him. Fusing new with old, Casey drove straight into the 2015 ‘Teeth’, which was met by die-hard fans screaming the lyrics back to Weaver. Casey are particularly brilliant at captivating the audience, and it goes without saying that this mission was more than accomplished by the band. Closing the set with ‘Little Bird’ from Love is Not Enough, was an absolutely phenomenal way to close the show. For the last time, crowd members push-pitted, screamed the lyrics, and stage-dived to Weaver’s relatable and melancholic lyrics. As much as it sounds cliché, Casey are one of the most authentic and hard-working bands in the UK scene- the band are both personable and willing to take the time out to meet each and every fan who has come to see the performance. With humbleness, and performances that move even the most soul-less, 2018 is set to be a massive year for Casey.