CAV­ERN, EX­ETER. 30.01.16

Kerrang! (UK) - - Lives -


■ 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.

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