Misery Signals are one of my favourite bands right now, as they take a bunch of my favourite musical ideas and put them together to create a sound and aesthetic I'm a big fan of. There's solid, yet intricate drumming, highly melodic guitar and bass melodies and big, ambient chords, and a nice combination of both incredibly low-pitched screaming as well as some melodic vocals from frontman Karl Schubach. I had missed these guys last time they came to Sheffield due to being out of the country, so when I found out they were coming back I made sure to get a ticket.
I arrived at the show a little late, missing local support, the Gold Coast, so we came halfway through the Number Twelve Looks Like You's set. I had heard good things about these guys and their musical ability, and seen their drummer play with HORSE the band before, but wasn't all that impressed on this night. Reminding me at times of the Dillinger Escape Plan and Between the Buried and Me, TNTLLY combine big metal breakdowns with more jazz-based sections, and while these two different styles sound great on their own, the band failed to use them together effectively. The transitions between the two styles was very abrupt, resulting in a spazzy set which the crowd completely failed to get into, even in a small room like the one at Corporation. Drummer Jon Karel played some interesting pieces, including a part where he removed the top hi-hat and transferred it to his floor tom to create a new sound from his kit, but I wouldn't be too bothered if I didn't see these guys again.
Next up were UK band, Your Demise, who I didn't know much about, but they got a big reaction from the crowd. Frontman Ed McRae said that this was his first tour with the band, but he did a great job of exciting the crowd, and began a trend of stage dives, which the rowdy hardcore kids attempted to imitate throughout the night. These guys were straight-up hardcore, with a pinch of thrash thrown in, much in the vein of Sick of It All, and blasted through a same-y but enjoyably frantic set -- a big difference from the previous band.
Finally, on came Misery Signals, although the crowd had to wait a while for Schubach (who bears a striking resemblance to Seth Rogen) as he was a few minutes late to the stage. The band soon kicked off with "A Certain Death," though, their banner track from 2008's Controller, their set consisting almost entirely of tracks from their most recent release, often blending two songs together in the same order as they appear on the album. There were only three older tracks played, but no complaints from me, as Controller is a fine piece of work. And the band managed to maintain a clear and tight sound, sounding almost identical to Controller, which was a refreshing change after the all-out wall of noise of Your Demise.
Part-way through the set, Schubach plugged Controller, although he admitted the band had no copies for sale on tour, then prompting the crowd to download the release illegally themselves, which was met with half cheers and half boos from the relatively young audience.
Misery Signals have a great range of dynamics, sometimes playing at full volume, sometimes nothing but a picked guitar, and sometimes somewhere in between, which creates an enjoyable and always interesting live show. As on record, guitarist, Ryan Morgan also contributed some high-pitched screams to contrast with Schubach's guttural vocals. Morgan's vocals weren't just misdirected shouting, though, as backup vocals in heavier bands can often be. He had a voice of his own, and really added another layer to the performance.
I feel this band have really hit their stride with their big atmospheric sound, almost finding that Pink Floyd place where their music feels like a little bit more than just that somehow. The crowd loved it too, climbing up onto the unnaturally high stage and grabbing the mic to sing along. A definite live recommendation.