Live Review: Emperors - Beetle Bar

29 May 2012 | 5:05 pm | Benny Doyle

The quartet fill the space pretty quickly, the thick drone of opener, Witch, setting the tone for the rest of the evening.

The room is dead quiet when Columbia Buffet take to the stage, eerily so, and opener, The Girl That Ate The Flowers, noticeably fights against the lack of atmosphere, but quickly the four-piece find their groove and the set doesn't look back for a moment. The band lost a member earlier in the year but you wouldn't know. Daniel Rogan's voice is intense and struck through with passion while the rest of the lads don't miss a beat; locked in tight, they are wonderfully immersed within the music. Waiting Room and Atlas are both engaging and climatic, recalling the post-hardcore of Rival Schools but injecting it with some nice contained double kick, before new track, Winterfell, closes the set, providing an exciting taste of what's in store for the future.

Drawn From Bees might not have the dials turned up as loud as the bands they're sharing the stage with tonight, but the four-piece still manage to deliver some refined rock'n'roll to bridge the evening. During Stand Against The Storm, frontman Dan James leaves the group's trademark harmonies behind for some Black Francis-style ranting that seems to contradict the drifting country ode. Long Tooth Setting Sun offers a better reflection of the band playing cohesively and as a whole. Guitarist Raven Jones, meanwhile, has his human riff moments and it's during this time that he gives up some of his most interesting playing. In fact, his high-end fret work on new single, The Ballad Of Running Bear, proves to be the highlight of the set, the bombastic finish really lifting the Bees experience as a whole.

Unfortunately, the room is still barren when Emperors arrive. However, the quartet fill the space pretty quickly, the thick drone of opener, Witch, setting the tone for the rest of the evening; loud, impassioned and with all the fat trimmed. Drug Mule pushes the tempo up, and by the time Fight Me Back and the hipster-baiting Rebecca impact, the band are barrelling forward, tight and poised. Drummer Dane Knowles seems to get more and more aggressive with each song and it really kicks up the band as a whole, older cut, Favourite Colours, soaring, helped by the curling guitar line of Greg Sanders. Frontman Adam Livingston tries to rouse a reaction, but the only fire shown by the crowd is a dirty big C-bomb shouted out before Plastic Gun­, with Be Ready When I Say Go emphatically finishing the punchy 50-minute set. It's a real shame more punters didn't pull their fingers out and make the effort to listen to Emperors tonight – the set they delivered deserved so much more adulation.