Rews returned to (Greater) Manchester a year on from their Castle gig that had those in attendance spellbound by the infectious energy and ferocious noise created by the two-piece for a show at Salford's Eagle Inn on Saturday night. Support came from Kent's finest SKIES and Wigan's Ravellas.
Ravellas were a late addition to the bill and got things started with an upbeat set of songs steeped in traditional songwriting techniques of verses that build to soaring choruses. New songs like Polyfilla and Comfort Foods are tailor made for lead singer Mac's stirring voice, whilst new single Reputation is unlikely to do theirs any harm at all. Confident, assured and very tight together, they made for an impressive opening to the evening.
SKIES are always guaranteed to excite an audience with Alie and Jericho's smash-and-grab raids. Opening with last year's single Afterwards and finishing with early single Drone, they never take the foot off the accelerator pedal, yet their songs have some much variety and moments of subtlety to them that it's impossible not to get caught up in the feverish joy that the two of them create. Hold On and Green, two of last year's single are real highlights, but new song Pills also shows that they're continuing to develop as a band and as songwriters.
Their cover of Enter Shakiri's Love Outside has helped raise their profile in recent weeks, but it doesn't stand out amongst their own songs. These songs hit you between the eyes right from the start and that momentum propels them forward, with Jericho's drumming looking and sounding like he's found an extra pair of arms such is the speed at which he changes the song, whilst Alie moves from guitar to drum, from stage to onto a raised box, encouraging the audience to join in. The fact that their live show is such fun shouldn't mask the fact though that they've got a growing bank of songs that should see them headlining shows like this on their own.
Most of their set comes from last year's debut album Pyro and the live set strips away some of the production sheen and makes this feel a lot more raw and we're taken back to that February night in the Castle. Nine of the eleven songs, Can You Feel It? and Muse being the exception, come from Pyro as you'd expect, songs with infectious choruses like Miss You In The Dark and Shake Shake are thrilling balls of energy that explode from the centre outwards into glorious life.
They open with Shine, one of the singles that got them early recognition, and as a first punch it's almost a knock-out one on its own, and they follow that up with blow after blow - Violins, Let It Roll, Death Yawn and Radio 1 playlisted Your Tears in particular - set the tone for the rest of the set. By the time they finish with a fake encore, because there's nowhere to go, and they leave us with Rip Up My Heart, they've got the whole room in their hands.
Rews' official site can be found here and they are on Facebook and Twitter.
Their tour continues at Southampton Talking Heads (March 7), Brighton The Prince Albert (8), Guildford The Star (9), London The Lexington (10), Leeds Oporto (15), Stoke-On-Trent Sugarmill (16), Liverpool Shipping Forecast (17), Bishop's Stortford The Moon (21), Birmingham Hare And Hounds 2 (22), Dublin Whelans (23) and Belfast McHugh's (24).
SKIES' official website can be found here and they are on Facebook and Twitter.
Ravellas are on Facebook and Twitter.