Live Review: Tax The Heat – Cavern, Exeter

A more pleasant surprise was a third band, local lads As It Stands, who appeared on stage pretty much as soon as we had a pint in our hands. A punk/indie trio from Newton Abbot, they raised the temperature of the freezing Cavern with a set of immense energy. Bassist Joseph Kime, in particular, started off in a jacket, leapt and kicked energetically, and was soon dripping in sweat. Guitars and snarly vocals courtesy of Jack Potter and drums from James Borer kept the growing crowd entertained. It was a pleasant change to see a young band so full of confidence and with such an easy rapport with an audience. Their material was pretty mature and bounced between poppy punk and a more raw sound. Latest songs such as “Bottle Rockets” certainly indicate potential and show that they are developing fast. Through the rain and wind on a Welsh Mountain, The Dust Coda had the unenviable task of coming on first to a sodden and thoroughly exhausted crowd after a night long storm. I thoroughly enjoyed their bluesy, rootsy sound then, and was more than a little pleased to find out they were the supporting Tax The Heat. Intriguingly, a large proportion of the crowd seemed to be there to see them play as well. A sign of a growing fanbase, which can only build further if they continue to play with the intensity and power they did tonight. The combination of John Drake’s raw, emotive singing, Adam Mackie’s guitar and Tony Ho’s bass, coupled with Scott Miller’s drumming are a great foundation, but it was the intensity of the performance that really impressed. You know a support band are hitting the mark when the crowd sing back loudly on songs such as “Rock ‘n’ Roll”, “Let Me Go”, and “When The Tide Comes In”. As they finished their set, the band announced that they would be over by the merch for anyone that wanted a chat… and pretty much the entire audience headed that way. All the word before the show was that the headliners were on the way to bigger things. They are going to have to go some to prevent The Dust Coda from getting there before them, if tonight was anything to go by! A complete clear out of the tiny stage and Tax The Heat took their places and launched in to a fourteen song set that showed just how much material they have in their locker, and just how good it is! It is the form in these reviews to classify the sound of a band. With Tax The Heat, I simply can’t! There is rock in there for sure, but the rhythms more complex, the suits too sharp, and the lyrics too intelligent to be categorised so simply. Focus of the band on stage was clearly vocalist Alex Veale, who was by far the most animated and energetic of the quartet, with JP Jacyshyn, bassist Antonio Angotti and drummer Jack Taylor a powerful, but less eye-catching, support. Opening with “All That Medicine” the complexity of the Tax The Heat sound was clear, and the crowd reacted in a more thoughtful and considered manner than the all-out rocking to The Dust Coda. “On The Run” raised the pace a little and started to generate more movement. “Under Watchful Eye” added fuzzy bass and slide guitar. “We Are Consumers”, “Playing With Fire” (intro sounding Muse influenced) and the immense “Money In The Bank” all moved the set in different directions. There was no pretend encore posturing. Instead, the set was closed out with two of the songs that most impressed me about their material; “Change Your Position” and “Fed To The Lions”. On reflection, at the end of the evening I enjoyed Tax The Heat, but LOVED The Dust Coda. For me, the passion and sweat the whole band threw at the crowd won out over the more singular focus of Veale. Maybe that was the small stage leaving the others as more reclusive participants, or maybe the complexity of their music making it just slightly more challenging to get into as a casual observer rather than a fervent fan. That said, I can see why talk is of Tax The Heat having a massive future. Their songwriting is clever and thought provoking, the musicianship is top notch, and “different” enough to want to listen to and gain a deeper understanding. Which of tonight’s bands will make that break? It will be interesting to see! Review and photos – Rob and Danni Wilkins [gallery type='flickr' user_id='132278830@N06' view='photosets' photoset_id='72157701422530642' media='photos' columns='3' tag_mode='any' sort='date-posted-desc' per_page='57' layout='square' caption='title' thumb_size='s' main_size='z' ]]]>

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