If ten years ago someone had told me that I would be at some point of my life reviewing an emo-punk rock gig, I wouldn’t have believed them. Back then, at least in the place where I grew up, emo and punk were divided by a thin but firm line. They shared some things but were never mixed. Emos and punks actively hated each other. With great pleasure, I found that York has a dashing scene reviving the early 00’s with all the good stuff it comes with it: fast and chunky guitar riffs, loud drums, melodic vocal games, and powerful performances; minus the absurd separation between music genres. The Saturday evening gig hosted by The Fulford Arms was constituted by four different bands ranging from the acoustic act of Joshua Nash to emo-punk band Feed Them to The Forest, accompanied by the lighter pop-punk of Lyon Estates and the melodic punk-rock of Traits. This blend of bands and genres had as a result a lively and increasingly energetic evening.
The night opened with the soft acoustic guitar and vocals of Joshua Nash, who was attentively received by the audience that was still arriving. Since the first moment, the interplay between the musician and his public was good, preparing all of us for the high-powered evening to come. He warmed up our ears with melancholic ballads and awkward conversations.
Lyon Estates presented themselves as a fresh band with catchy melodies and choirs. Their jumpy riffs with emo feel brought more people to the front. Even when they proved to be dynamic and attempted to be engaging, they still need to improve their on-stage management and their interaction with the public. However, their merchandise was well crafted, something that fans and collectors always appreciate. Overall, they have everything to be a great band live, but they need to polish some elements of their act.
A highlight of the night was Traits, with a punk rock style which spirit closely resembles the early 00’s. They presented 30 minutes of songs one after another. Everything that is expected from a punk rock band, Traits packed it within strong vocals and the power you can only get from a three-instrument setting. The audience had a great reaction towards the Leeds’ based band. The public gladly sang and cheered along to their single “Little Things,” which prepared us for the final and most expected act of the night.
The headliner, Feed Them to the Forest, lived up to the expectation of their public. I have never been to one of their concerts before, but fast enough they created an atmosphere of familiarity intercalating new and old songs. Their communication with the public was fluent and entertaining. The most “emo” moment of the night arrived when they introduced “How I Got My Shrunken Head” stating that everything sucks. Their frontman owns the stage with his theatrical act that accompanies the harmony games between guitars and voices. Shamefully, the levels were off. Thus, the voice games could not be adequately appreciated; the second vocal was almost unperceivable; the guitars could be hardly distinguished, and the drums were way too loud, overshadowing the rest of the band. Regardless of the equalization details, the band offered an excellent and involving show, where musicians and audience enjoyed themselves.
The evening ran out fluently thanks to the organization of the venue and the compromise of the bands with their public. In a nutshell, all the musicians showed what they could offer to their nostalgic audience. This is a challenge since public craving for the well-known sound of their teens has high expectations, and the bands did not let us down.