Empty Avenue / Divides / Huxtable / Valkyrie – Ivory Blacks, Glasgow – 25/07/14

divides-live-ivory-blacks-july-2014-andy-millsI should have known that an invite to the pub on a Friday night had an ulterior motive.

There was a good-sized crowd listening to Valkyrie as we arrived. This Ayrshire band has been on the circuit for a couple of years now and plays good old-fashioned pounding melodic metal. I enjoyed the singing of Stephanie Roberts and the guitar soared in places. I have a simple adage; if it makes you want to shake your head it’s ticking the boxes. Here to the End had me worried, it just wasn’t working at the start but settled when the full band kicked in and drove it on. These guys are producing some nice stuff and their new 5 track EP Won’t Stand Down is well worth a download.

During the set change I was informed that I was writing the review for this event, “keep an ear open for anything special” I was told. Huxtable were next up, a Kilmarnock based duo who have so far not shown up on our radar. This was special, during Juliet I was getting spirit messages from Led Zeppelin. Clever riffs and exceptional drumming had me hooked before the vocal hauled me in. I noticed Gareth getting interested after the first track. A good rock band hangs everything on a steady bass and an insane drummer, get this right and the rest is toffee. Huxtable really impressed and I would have tried to blag a couple of tickets to their mini album launch party if I wasn’t elsewhere. The mini album We are Huxtable was released on 2nd August.

The next band on were Divides – you may have read good things about them on here – and as they set themselves up there was a large crowd building and it was getting sweaty. I had enjoyed both bands so far and expected Divides to carry on in this vein. ‘Not all Those Who Wander are Lost‘ knocked that to the floor and gave it a kicking. Strong drumming and a rock steady bass line from the stand in bassist combined with the dueting guitars and Tasha’s soaring vocal to leave me speechless and jumping up and down. This was the something special, no dammit this was exceptional. I’ve very rarely had a band give me shivers down my spine. The rest of the set was a blur and finished far too soon. I’m looking forward to a couple of new tracks being posted online soon and please, please, please can we have an EP?

And finally. The headliners tonight were a Glasgow based quartet going by the name Empty Avenue and I was looking forward to more spine tingles. Didn’t happen, don’t know why. Empty Avenue played a loud, heavy set of tunes with great vigour and raunch, they’d also brought a large following that were lapping it up. I’ve since checked Empty Avenue out online and I enjoyed their melodic and soulful sound, so why I should have found them such a turn-off is beyond me. I think there was a lack of passion, possibly a bit of taking it for granted or maybe just an off night. However much I was unimpressed by Empty Avenue live I do like their recorded material. Check out the Tie Me Up EP for a flavour.

Photo credit: Andy Mills.

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