When I was asked to review the Fear Of Men gig, hosted by Melting Vinyl, at The Hope in Brighton I had little knowledge of this band, apart from hearing of them in passing from various people within Brighton, but I had high hopes from what I had heard!
Opening the gig were a band called “The Hundredth Anniversary” and I was really surprised by how much charisma this band had! The lead singer, although seeming nervous, had a subtle confidence that is always a brilliant quality to have if you’re fronting a band, as it puts the audience somewhat at ease, without being arrogant and shoving the music down their throats. Their first song had a swing feel to it, and what I really liked about the band was that they were so in sync with one another, with solid timing, which seemed to really come from the drummer. Seeing a female drummer within a band always makes me smile, perhaps I am slightly biased though, being a female drummer myself, and the drummer in The Hundredth Anniversary really lifted the other musicians up with her energy! The second track in the set, again seemed to follow this pattern of not going down the typical 4/4 route, with the drummer playing somewhat untraditional beats, which I think was really fitting for the band! Their genre seemed to combine elements of grunge, but also with folk style vocals, which was admittedly a combination I’d not really seen before, but it definitely worked! Towards the end of the set the drummer stood up, and faced the floor tom, which immediately caught my attention as it felt like something new was about to take place! The track itself didn’t feature drums until right at the end, and in the final part of the track, the drummer hit out an awesome rhythm just on the floor tom, and it lifted the entire set up once more! The band had not only lifted the dynamics, but by the drummer standing up, it gave the song a whole new edge, and I loved it! Their final track was fitting with the others, in the similar genre, but at the end of the song, the lead singer leant down to play with her guitar pedals, and once again this band took me by surprise as they were using everything they had around them to really make this gig fresh and different! This band showed me just how many hidden musical gems there are in the Brighton Music scene, if you just look hard enough!
Now it was onto the main act of the night, Fear Of Men. The room filled quickly once people became aware the band were about to take the stage, and with their opening track came a whole array of different sounds. The drummer began the track by playing a synth, which he had placed next to his set up, which I thought was unusual, but none the less very quirky and memorable! The track immediately hit the audience, and before any of us knew it, we were sucked into a wall of sound this band had created in just a few short minutes. I really noticed as well the way lead singer, Jessica Weiss, swayed with her guitar, giving us all the impression everything she was playing meant a lot to her, and her entire body and stage persona screamed that out to the audience. The band didn’t hesitate after their first track to quickly go straight into their second song of the night, which showed me how well rehearsed this band are, and how dedicated they are to putting on a well written show. I wouldn’t want to pigeon hole the genre of this band, as they have so much to them it would seem pointless, but just believe me when I say, they have a lot to give! The bands lead guitarist, Daniel Falvey, played with such genuine honesty, I found myself completely absorbed in what he was playing at many points during the night. One of the songs they played which Weiss introduced as “Luna” was stunningly performed, with the bands female bass player doing backing vocals, which blended so nicely in harmonic unison with the lead vocals. The drummer had an interesting use of sound I felt, with his snare drum being tuned quite low, it gave the snare an electronic, processed sound, which was almost like a machine gun, within various tracks, it did however give the songs a heavy backbone, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
About half way through the set, Weiss, took off her guitar, and put the mic lead around the back of neck, and showed the audience her ability as a front woman. Keeping to her swaying dancing, but letting her hair down slightly more, this part of the gig really let me see how talented this band are in their style and how confident they are in their own abilities.
In the last song, about mid way through, the guitarist turned to the drummer and it appeared they were communicating something, and it made me feel as if something big was about to happen. The wall of sound built and began to gain so much momentum it was exploding off the stage, the guitarist was physically hitting his guitar to create more noise, and Weiss was in an entire world of her own. The song ended tightly, and the band walked off the stage, but came out once more for a 2-song encore. The band ended the show with, yet again, so much noise combined with sounds I had no idea who was playing them, it was mind blowing.
Seeing Fear Of Men in such a small venue was a real experience, as I guarantee they won’t be playing small stages for too much longer, and anyone who has the opportunity to see them on their UK Tour really needs to go and see what this band can do! And don’t hesitate get their debut album “Loom” which is out now!!
The band’s next tour date is 26th September [Tonight] at Epic Studios in Norwich.