Satan’s Hollow in Manchester continues to be a popular venue for alternative music and tonight’s line up draws together a variety of different bands with individual sounds. All the way from Australia, Voyager are performing ahead of the launch of their new album Colours In The Sun.

Sertraline (8) are first to take to the stage. It’s fairly early on a Wednesday evening and the crowd is running a little thin. However, this doesn’t affect their performance. With high energy from the start, the music engages immediately with the crowd. The heavier aspects of their sound bring numerous headbanging opportunities throughout their set, whilst Sertraline’s catchy chorus hooks bring a pop element to the music. Lizzie’s clean vocals soar above the heavier instrumentation and she easily transitions into dynamic harsh sections. Sertraline have a full powerful sound with tasty guitar tones and powerful percussion. On the odd occasion Lizzie’s vocals are slightly too quiet in mix but for the majority of their set, the sound is pretty well balanced. The dynamic metallers don’t let up through their set and go out with a band. Those who have seen Sertraline before may already be familiar with their audience participation in Mean To Me. It’s a great end to their set – high energy with a catchy chorus.

RavenFace (8) follow Sertraline with a heavy set. James’ vocals and the backing synths bring a pop feel combined with the heavier guitars and bass. Their sound is incredibly dynamic and the echo on the drums enhances the overall sound. They bring a more technical sound with intricate guitar leads and a few progressive elements. Ravenface’s shows off the heavy side to their sound. Their performance of Breathe Again from their latest release provided a catchy chorus hook and introduced an aspect of pop to their set. The tones of Ravenface’s guitar and bass are just delicious. The vocal harmonies, featuring in a number of their tracks, add another layer to their sound. The lower tones of James’ vocals create a great contrast with the higher tones of Jack’s voice. The addition of harsh vocals in the final tracks of their set further shows off the band’s skill set.

Coldbones (9) take the evening in a very different direction with their post-rock set. The trio from Kent transform the atmosphere of the venue through their use of lighting effects, stage presence, and of course, their music. Their guitar tones, compiled of a range of reverb effects, creates a serene sound. The instruments soar above the percussion which grounds their music with a powerful effect. Contrasting this serene atmosphere with fast-paced, distorted rhythms produces a dynamic set. Coldbones are wonderful to watch. The trio become enthralled in the music. The combination of the lighting effects and the movements with their instruments creates a great visual show to accompany their music. This instrumental set is so different to those of Sertraline and RavenFace, and yet, it doesn’t feel out of place. In fact, having such a wide variety of sounds enhances the evening and shows off the individuality of each band.

Finally, the time arrives for Voyager (8). The Australian quintet open as they mean to go on – with synths! Keeping the ’80s alive, they combine heavy dynamic guitars with energetic synths. The pop influences give their set a party feel whilst the djenting guitar rhythms soon have the crowd headbanging. Their performance of Ghost Mile from their 2017 album really packs a punch with the guitars. And they give a taste of their upcoming album performing a number of singles. They have a relaxed a performance style and great interaction with the crowd. The intimacy of the venue breaks down any hard barriers between the musicians and the audience. The percussion is powerful throughout, supporting the guitars and bass to produce a high energy performance. Danny’s vocals soar above the instrumentation. His distinctive voice enhances the sound. And of course, it wouldn’t be a Voyager gig if he didn’t play his bright red keytar. It’s great the see the band enjoying their performance as much as the crowd. They have a great dynamic. This is really seen through guitarists Simone and Scott casually strumming each other’s guitars perfectly in the midst of a technical section.

This evening has been a wonderful celebration of music. The support shown towards each band, and the support they have for each other, has been great to see. The intimacy of the venue has enhanced the atmosphere of the night. Each group brought something different to the evening and all performed excellently. It would be great to see more gigs with incredible line ups, such as this evening’s, in the future.

Words by Holly Royle

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