Opening proceedings on this bitterly cold evening are the Cotswold’s own Scene Of My Demise (7). For those select few not overly knowledgable of the history behind the Gloucestershire alternative scene, the group have been a perpetual presence within the area for approximately two decades now. Seemingly unknown to the majority in attendance however, tonight marks Scene Of My Demise’s final show. Even with the collective age of the group potentially rivalling the age of the venue itself, it’s certainly an honourable send off.
Tearing through content from their line of EP’s, Scene Of My Demise’s spring heeled and boisterous punk rock quivers with explosive energy, intensity the band themselves have difficultly safely channeling. Despite the act finding the experience of blasting through such youthfully adolescent content physically exhausting, a fact the band find great humour in, it’s a fantastic set from a band that has made a great impact on their respective scene. Whilst Scene Of My Demise never got to break free from their local territory, it’s a send off the band will likely cherish for years to come.
Despite only officially becoming a primary full time project in 2017, Haggard Cat (9) have embedded their chipped claws deep into the subconscious of the national scene as of late. Their final full tour prior to the release of their third record Common Sense Holiday, Haggard Cat appear more wild and untamed than ever before tonight. Those who have already experienced this musical whirlwind of a band will undoubtedly know what kind of intensity this band radiate typically, but in comparison to previous tours, Haggard Cat are completely feral and rabid tonight.
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As the band tear through a set composed of content from 2018’s Challenger and the forthcoming Common Sense Holiday, they do so with dangerously reckless abandon. Throughout this brief encounter, Haggard Cat hurl themselves around this red brick room, violently battle with their sweat-soaked instruments and act like their trying to violently escape from this cosy Cotswold venue. Yet the duo perform their noise tinted craft flawlessly in the process, weaving additional distorted textures into their already maniacal tapestry of noise. Closing with a barrage of sonic whilst invading the floor and butchering their equipment, Haggard Cat may be a new discovery for many tonight, but it’s one nobody is likely to forget quickly. Even on a frigid Monday night in Cheltenham, Haggard Cat are still one of the most wildly exciting bands in the country.
After over two decades of consistent activity and touring, one wouldn’t be surprised if InMe (8) were now burning off dwindling reserves. However, it’s evident the successful release of their seventh record Jumpstart Hope has critically reinvigorated with a sense of hyperactive zeal, energy they pump authentically into their performance this frostbitten eve. Opening with the recently debuted ‘Blood Orange Lake’ prior to diving headfirst into Overgrown Eden’s ‘Underdose’, InMe take their newfound sense of energy and interfuse it with time tested material from their back catalogue. What follows is a set of nostalgic content that’s peppered with fresh material that indicates that InMe have entered a new chapter of their career.
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Presenting a set composed of the best material from their extensive back catalogue, what separates this from the countless other shows that proceed it is the evident chemistry and camaraderie between members of the current lineup. Whilst this sense of fellowship proved to be the special element that allowed the group release their finest work in years with Jumpstart Hope, it’s palpably tangible within their live performance, something the perpetually flat caped donned Dave McPherson states amid his soaring falsettos. With the band in good humour and elevated spirits, anyone ignorant to their history would be hard pressed to believe InMe are in their 24th consecutive year of activity. In relation, where as InMe don’t attempt any of the more adventurous content from their latest offering, with post-hardcore tinged content of ‘The Next Song’, ‘I Swear’ and ‘Single’, InMe show they have a new skills up there sleeve.
Ending on ‘For Something To Happen’, ‘Firefly’ and ‘Faster The Chance’, a trifecta that interblends the nostalgic with the modern’, this rendition of InMe see’s the band in their strongest form in many years. It remains to be seen if this increase in energy shall allow to the band to reach heights that have been long out of their reach, but for those who have previously dismissed them, now is the optimal time to get reaquinted.