Earthtone9, The Ocean, Maybeshewill, Humanfly
Manchester Club Academy, 20th May 2011

After a storming performance at Sonisphere and the recently released EP, Earthtone9 finally ventured out on their first tour since the band announced they were splitting up back in 2002, and with a recently released EP to promote, the highly anticipated return was nearly complete and Manchester waited its turn to see them live. With an intimate tour and a varied bill on offer.

Openers Humanfly describe themselves as ‘Dark and powerful, like a bad elephant’ which perfectly describes their loud dishevelled sound. The fact that two of the band (guitarists John and Andy Sutcliffe) came from the band Canvas is no surprise. The Leeds based band immediately drew a crowd to the stage, and the crowd only grew during their brief but impressive set. A perfect choice for opener and a band I will try and see again very soon.

Next up were instrumental band Maybeshewill. This was a new band to me it was also a new experience to see a completely instrumental band in such a setting. At times it did look strange and you were waiting for a vocalist to appear. The music itself was quite different too, seemingly a bit of a mixture of some more melodic indie influences as well as some nice heavy moments that got a fair bit of response from the crowd. An interesting addition to the bill.

The Ocean were the main support this evening and from the moment they tuned up with a short burst of Mastodon’s ‘Blood and Thunder’ drew an appreciative and responsive crowd. Singer Loic Rossetti took the opportunity of the intimate setting to involve the crowd as much as he could in their set, drag a couple of people onstage to sing, and even indulged himself with a stagedive at the end of the set, although he overshot the crowd a little. Bassist Louis Jucker also got into the crowd and joined in with some of the sporadic pits that formed.  There were a couple of sound problems mainly with the vocals from where we were stood but the band still put a quality performance.

Earthtone9 appeared on stage shortly after, and after setting up much of their own stuff, returned after a brief intro to blast straight through ‘Off Kilter’, ‘Star Damage’ and a brutal version of ‘Withered’ (the first Earthtone9 song I heard and still my favourite). ‘Ghosts’ which was due next was dropped from the set as Karl Middleton on vocals was suffering from a throat problem but he went straight into ‘Tat Twam Asi’ and ‘Approximately Purified’.  There was some banter with the crowd, one of whom offered Karl some of his beer to help with his throat, the band used their time to power through a selection of their impressive back catalogue.

‘P.R.D. Chaos’ and ‘Evil Crawling Eye’ followed before we were treated to the nights one song from the excellent ‘Cause For Concern’ EP, the lead single ‘Tides Of Ambition’ which everyone seemed to know and it already fitted in the set like an old favourite. Then came the closing double of ‘Vitriolic’ and ‘I Nagual Eye’ and the band departed the stage and left the crowd hungry for more. No encore but plenty of people left happy and were already anticipating more Earthtone9 tours, festival appearances and material to come. On this showing and recent form, that can’t come soon enough.