4th January 2020
Deviant UK and AlterRed - Double Headliner one off show - Support: Berlyn Trilogy
For the last couple of decades, a Goth night called “Carpe Noctum” has shone the lantern of Goth in Leeds, a city some would argue was the centre of the Goth Universe in the 80s. The organiser is a well-known figure on the scene and has worked hard to build the reputation of “Carpe Noctum” - so much so he has guest DJ sets at other prime UK Goth events such as the Whitby Weekends. Both headline bands, and the support are all good friends. Musically they have one common driving force; dark electronics - but perhaps particularly the legend that is GARY NUMAN.
A band born in nearby Wakefield in 2012, BERLIN TRILOGY have a sound which I personally find pretty much perfect to my ear. It’s a slab of 80’s style electronica, by that I don’t mean it’s dated. By no means. Their sound is bang up to date, but it has a quality I associate more with the purer sounds from the 80’s. Swooping synthesisers, clear and precise, almost clinical. Mix this with the warmth of some splendid bass playing, warm vocals and deep broody lyrics and it’s a sound that is quite addictive. They not only list GARY NUMAN as an influence but other hard hitting 1980’s electronic super bands such as DEPECHE MODE, HUMAN LEAGUE, ULTRAVOX and even JEAN-MICHEL JARRE. I was not too surprised to hear they love DIORAMA too. They have one album, released in 2014, titled ‘A Perfect Stranger’ a remix album and are currently working on a new album. There is a recent EP ‘Flower Fall’. http://www.berlyntrilogy.com / https://www.facebook.com/BerlynTrilogy
Music & Performance
I have a confession; I wasn’t aware of this band until seeing they were support for this event. Such a shame, I’ve enjoyed catching up with their songs since. As I watched the band enter the stage, I instantly recognise the girl bass player - it later struck me where I had seen her before. She is also the bass player for LIQUID ENGINEERS (a GARY NUMAN support act I had seen a few months earlier). She is joined by a lead vocal and a synth player. Their set started with the upbeat ‘Tokyo Rooftops’, taken from their double single (along with ‘Wreckage of Love’, played later in the set) a fine choice for opening and gets everybody into the mood for what is to come. The crowd isn’t huge, but it’s obvious they know the material and the band is enthusiastically accepted. As I’m late to the BERLYN TRILOGY party I wasn’t familiar with much of their material - sometimes this can make a live experience challenging to the listener. Not this time for me, probably one of the biggest compliments a reviewer can give!
The next few songs were fine examples of what can be done with that distinctive synth sound from the 80’s - a sound not often aired by modern bands. Once I heard ‘Runners’ I recognised this song immediately - it’s from the ‘A Perfect Stranger’ album. This song captured me from the moment I heard the album and I was pleased to hear it tonight. Their first album has some similar structures to much of the work from EMPATHY TEST, including this song. I was now ready for more of the same, and it was delivered - from the same album the track ‘Departed’. As a huge JOHN FOXX fan I love this track, a distinctive dose of FOXX with an added mega chorus hook-line as catchy as anything EMPATHY TEST can muster. Live it was superb, the bands playing is passionate and instantly appealing both bass (Faye Williams) and keyboard player (James Beswick) are very good, exceptionally good. Lead vocals are now provided by Simon Rowe and he is confident on stage and isn’t afraid to load his performance with emotion.
All in all, a quite intoxicating performance all round. Another track from the album I was previously aware of followed, ‘The Drone’, and then the final song (that again was new to me) before the set came to a far too soon end. After this performance I really can’t recommend this band enough, check them out when you get chance.
01. Tokyo Rooftops
03. Wreckage of Love
04. Simone Nicole
07. The Drone
08. Domus Aurea
Total: 8.2 / 10
Based in London, ALTERRED are an established band and classify themselves as Electro-Rock listing influences as NINE INCH NAILS, BOWIE, IAMX, GARY NUMAN, MARILYN MANSON, DEPECHE MODE, 3TEETH, ROB ZOMBIE, MINISTRY, SKINNY PUPPY and FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY. Considering their influences are almost a complete discography of my own record collection, I’ve become a big fan. However, I’ve only seen them play once before, so I was excited to see them play again tonight. With several albums behind them, working with names such as Reza Udhin for mastering (INERTIA and past member of KILLING JOKE) the quality of their material is unquestionably of the highest order. https://www.facebook.com/AlterRedMusic / https://alterred.bandcamp.com
Music & Performance
Mikey enters the stage with his band - and he’s joined by four band members. All are dressed in black; Rob Silver with a beanie hat, Angus Hobbs placed to the rear of the stage playing drums, Charlotte Forest, keyboards, joins him with her distinctive Bladerunner black eye stripe and red hair, and Jack Hell smartly dressed, complete with rather impressive makeup finishes the line-up on guitar. They all added extra depth to the bands imagery, with differing looks. As the band settle into their set, their trademark melodies shine through. This is no aggressive Industrial band as some of their influences suggest. There is a certain subtlety to their playing, a subtlety that hides just how twisted their sound is - it lurks, it peaks at you from behind the ajar door. It’s there, behind every corner, hiding behind structured song writing and melodies. It’s quite an intriguing mix, you find yourself being dragged into the world of ALTERRED rather than being kicked sharply in the delicate parts. It oozes, it caresses. From soaring synths to creepy carnival style pounding beat.
Mikey’s vocals are part of this feeling, it’s in fine form tonight and manages to create the same emotive feeling as the studio sound. Charlotte, provides the keys - I’m a big fan of the more synthesized dark music sounds and she is a great asset to the band. Her persona on stage has changed slightly from the last time I saw them play - her first live appearance with the band. She has a certain stage presence that I can’t quite put my finger on - kind of cold and disconnected from the show. It’s difficult to put into words, but I find her mesmerising on stage - she is perhaps the perfect girl android from my early teenage dreams? I did note one or two smiles this time from Charlotte, not too many, I’d hate to see her ruin the stage image she has carved for herself. The standard of playing throughout the band is very good indeed, they are an exceptionally impressive band to hear live. Being totally honest I prefer to listen to them live than at home on recordings.
Mikey is something special on stage - all the band members are - but Mikey is on another level. His performance is nothing short of completely enthralling, his energy level is truly exceptional. How a human can convey so much raw passion, with such high energy but with extreme contrasts is something I find totally surprising. It’s not just visually either, his vocals almost match the energy he emits. The crowd is now buzzing, the efforts of the band are rewarded - the energy is infectious. The venue has filled and this crowd wants a good time! The band whizzes through a whirlwind of popular ALTERRED songs, with the added live bonus of a DURAN DURAN cover, ‘Wild Boys’. Mikey admits he didn’t like this song, a feeling I once shared too. But now, after hearing the ALTERRED version played live I am converted - it was awesome. The set passed very quickly, a sure sign of how much I enjoyed it. Highly recommended.
01. Dead and Cold
02. I Breathe You
03. Breaking News
04. You Get Nothing
05. Broken Glass
07. Wild Boys (Duran Duran cover)
08. Wait for the Recoil
Total: 8.3 / 10
Formed in 2004, Deviant is the brainchild of Jay Smith - a dark lord of the industrial music scene. He lists influences as PROJECT PITCHFORK, RAMMSTEIN, ORGY and THE PRODIGY but I’m sure he would be the first to admit he is a super fan of GARY NUMAN and certainly more than the odd influence pops up in Deviant’s musical style. Deviant UK currently benefits when playing live, the addition of Adam “Hig” Higginson (CYFERDYNE) and Gary Watts (NATURE OF WIRES - responsible for remixes for many artists including SIGUE SIGUE SPUTNIK ELECTRONIC, LEAETHER STRIP and MASSIVE EGO). Jay has endured a few years of poor health, and had pulled away from the scene for quite some time. This is his second gig in the last couple of months, and although it marks a comeback, I suspect he won’t be on a stage again for a short while. His health dictates he needs surgery which will likely mean a further forced break. I am hopeful this will give ample time for some new material while he is recuperating, and I eagerly look forward to that moment he is back on stage. https://www.facebook.com/deviantuk
Music & Performance
As the band enters the stage, there is a huge roar from the crowd! If the crowd were into ALTERRED, they were willing to go off the scale for DEVIANT UK! Jay has been missed, the UK scene hold him in high esteem, and there is an outburst of true affection for his return. It was a truly moving moment, watching Jay with his rather splendid cane (posh walking aid), obviously in pain walking up the steps onto the stage - nothing was going to beat him; then there was that crowd roar! A very special gigging moment - I turned to look at the crowd. The place was packed, right up to the stage. Faces were happy, emotional and showing encouragement for Jay and his health predicament. Looking at Jay, he was visibly touched by the outpour from the crowd. In typical Deviant style he had dressed for the occasion, sequined jacket, sparkly shoes and black stripy trousers. He was back, here was ‘Jay the showman’. With both Gary and Hig in place, we were in for a special gig - the venues sound system is impressive, and these guys are going to put it through its paces.
As the band start and continue through the set with opening tracks many bands would die for, Jay breaks through the pain barrier as his famous ego sends a charge of pain-relieving adrenaline around his body. He’s back to his usual tricks, taunting the crowd, every ounce of him squeals “come on then, if you’re up for it!” and the crowd respond with an almost rivalling energy. Just when I thought the crowd and the band couldn’t raise the bar any higher after ‘Wreckhead’, the bar was well and truly thrown high into the atmosphere. Jay had promised two special cover versions for this gig - but I don’t think many would have guessed an iconic AND ONE song! A fantastic addition to the set; that we all showed our appreciation for! ‘Me without you’ followed and is a fantastically well written song, but a little slower paced (if there is such a thing from Deviant UK). Not that this crowd were going to slow down at all, but I suspect we all needed a little bit of a breather.
‘My Black Heart’ was followed by the other promised cover, this time with a brief introduction from Jay explaining this song is his all-time favourite - GARY NUMAN’s ‘We are Glass’. It was difficult to believe, but we were getting close to the end of this very special evening - after ‘Access Denied!’ it was obvious Jay didn’t want it to end either - he asked (almost begged) for an extension of his set to play ‘You Will Burn’ - which the promoter granted. Looking back at the Deviant UK set that evening I find myself realising just how special a night it was. As always Jay’s showmanship didn’t only bolster the crowd into a frenzy, it demanded it. I’ve seen Jay work a crowd before, but there was something different about this night - yes he involved people in the crowd and was happy to give time for selfies with crowd members, all this I have seen before at a Deviant gig. I’m not sure how to convey the emotion and the successful fusion between band and crowd. Other than to say, wow!
I loved the previous two bands performances, amongst the best I have seen in a while, but Jay, with his unique approach, backed by two superb musicians, stole the night with his return to a Leeds stage. A fantastically special gig that I am so pleased I did not miss.
01. Cracks Start to Show
02. Raptured Saints
03. What’s Your Malfuntion?
05. Military Fashion Show
06. Me: Without You
07. My Black Heart
08. We are Glass
09. We Believe
10. Access Denied!
11. You Will Burn
Total: 8.5 / 10
A final word; thank you to “Carpe Noctum” for their welcome. The event is well organised, well-loved and deserves its success. The venue is exceptionally good and ranks high amongst smaller venues - good lights and fine sound system. A very highly charged crowd, willing to join in and encourage the bands adds the finishing touches to a highly successful and enjoyable event. Highly recommended to attend this regular Goth night.
All Pictures by Photographer Kevin Stevens - Coast to Coast Image Works