We’ve got a lot of love for the Brixton Windmill. Not only is it where a lot of our friends (like When Planets Collide) put on a lot of killer shows, but they’ve also got a roof dog. And it’s at the Windmill that our man, Tomas Doyle, rolled down to last weekend to catch RVIVR play a particularly storming show.
Six things we found out when we went to see RVIVR in London:
1) First up tonight we are treated to a fine set from story-telling troubadours, Great Cynics. The band have relatively recently expanded to a three-piece (having previously been the solo project of singer/guitarist Giles Bidder) and the benefits reaped from this increased depth of sound are palpable tonight. Bassist Iona Cairns’ silky bass runs and other deft contributions prove the perfect foil what is, essentially, still the Giles Bidder show – the front man lunging around whilst emoting with an insouciant charm. Tracks from new full length, Don’t Need Much, are well received as is a cover of Alkaline Trio’s ‘Every Thug Needs a Lady’ and it is apparent from the applause that the crowd appreciate Bidder’s ability to tease out a genuinely compelling narrative within confines a 3 minute pop song.
2) Bristolian trio, Caves, play the sort of chunky pop-punk that is hard to actively dislike and perform with an effervescence that is even harder to ignore. Bassist Jonathan Minto wears the gurning grin of a man who genuinely loves to play throughout proceedings whilst diminutive singer Lou Hanman packs a mighty punch. With a right hand reminiscent of James Hetfield’s and enough melody in her vocals to see fists in the air for the duration of the set, she leads the band through a quick fire half hour of harmonious, feel good anthems.
Watch RVIVR play ‘Seethin’ / ‘Had Enough Of This Hell’ at the Brixton Windmill:
3) RVIVR perhaps lie slightly off the beaten track for the typical Thrash Hits reader and so for those new to the band it is worth pointing out at this juncture that vocalist and guitarist Matt Canino used to be in New York gruff stalwarts Latterman (who are well checking out in their own right if you are not familiar with them). With that in mind, it is no great surprise that RVIVR play fast and melodic punk, with the added bonus of impeccable boy/girl harmonies courtesy of Erica Freas who is a joyous focal point for the bands intensely positive vibes.
4) Kicking straight in with ‘Seethin’’ from the recent Dirty Water EP there is a rapturous reception for a band who are perceived to be doing things the right way and for the right reasons. Ferociously DIY and with a political message which permeates every facet of their sound they are razor sharp in both delivery and conviction even two weeks into a gruelling European tour. It is noticeable too that the number of girls in the crowd (especially up front) far outweighs what you would normally seat gigs in the capital, even at punk shows where equality is supposedly such a highly prized commodity.
Watch RVIVR play ‘Wrong Way One Way’ at the Brixton Windmill:
5) With a set weighed heavily in favour of their self-titled (and only) LP, RVIVR blast through a group of songs which amply displays what a mastery of their craft they command. From the speedy, twinkling riffs of ‘Cold In Your Bones’ (which inspires a euphoric crowd sing-a-long) to the expansive, dare we say epic, closer ‘Change In Me’ the quartet ebb and flow through every sinew and vein of the genre, insistently exploring the edges of what they can achieve.
6) RVIVR joke tonight that they are less a band and more a season – this tour taking place a mere year (almost to the day) since they last graced our shores but it is precisely this hard touring, hard playing mentality which has already won them a place amongst the hearts of plenty in the UK. Here’s hoping they’re back in 2012 for another instalment.