CAVERN, EXETER. 30.01.16
TEIGNMOUTH ROCK TRIO (NO, NOT THAT ONE!) AIM HIGH IN A LOW-LYING VENUE
■ AS ITS name suggests, Cavern is a subterranean venue that rather resembles a wine cellar. Not particularly cavernous, by any stretch, though. It’s an apt setting for this Reigning Days show, as the local lads have been slowly cultivating some vintage- sounding new material, which they’re uncorking tonight for the delectation of a sold-out crowd of friends, family and those here to support what’s becoming one of the most exciting local scenes in the UK. And from the moment opener Empire unfurls a groove as tight as a gnat’s cycling shorts and as persistent as a tax inspector, it’s evident Reigning Days sound far too big to be squeezed into places as small as this for long, and we could be at the start of a very exciting ride. A double-header of older material (the moody, 30 Seconds To Mars-ish Changes; Fever’s dreamy rush) highlights the earlier steps in their evolution, with singer/guitarist Dan Steer’s falsetto on the latter track suggesting its not just a hometown they share with Muse. But it’s the added double kick drums on Friendly Fire and the caustic lyrics of All I Wanna Do (a charmingly nasty ‘ I can’t wait to spit in your face’) that suggest musical and thematic heaviness haven’t been casualties of their recent creative overhaul. “Get the person next to you and fucking hug them,” suggest Dan, taking this love-in up a notch. The band should give themselves a pat on the back at the same time, because while they’re not reigning yet, they’re certainly making some royally big strides in the right direction.