Although it’s the British festival season, Milk Teeth, Employed To Serve and Wallflower aren’t living for the weekend and have decided to hit the road together. Collectively, it’s a three-band bill of some of the best, new UK talent on offer. Tonight’s show at the Bodega comes on the day Milk Teeth’s Becky Blomfield and ETS’ Justine Jones grace the cover of one of rock’s most influential magazines. On paper, it looks to be a promising night.
London quintet Wallflower are on the cusp of becoming one of the UK’s best new bands. With impressive support slots alongside Boston Manor and Decade in the past along with recent outings at Download and 2000 Trees, it’s no surprise their confidence is growing. Frontman Vinicius Moreira-Yeoell is especially taking hold of his role through an impressive vocal display tonight. Musically, Wallflower are tight and stirring with recent single ‘Splintered’ and ‘My Words’, from their anticipated ‘Where It All Fell Apart’ EP, put the quintet in a strong light. Wallflower’s status may not explode in the coming months, but slow and steady wins the race. (3.5/5)
While tonight’s openers thrive on intimate alt-rock, Employed To Serve are here to deliver chaos to the Bodega. From the opening chugging guitars, ETS offers a destructive supply of heavy metallic hardcore. The small room immediately opens up into a tornado of flinging bodies. All the while, Justine Jones screams and shouts her way through against a wall of frantic instrumentation. Throughout, ETS is on point making every razor sharp guitar and pummelling drum matter. They ultimately back up all the acclaim they’ve been getting in recent months. If ETS are coming to your town, then go and be prepared to witness an erratic but satisfying set. (4.5/5)
Through various support slots and festival appearances over the past 18 months, Milk Teeth have seemingly built a dedicated following. By the time they hit the stage, there’s a small pocket of the crowd excited to see the quartet. Jumping straight into ‘Owning Your Okayness’, it’s an ideal opener through its bouncy, infectious vibe. If Milk Teeth are good at anything, it’s supplying grunge-infused pop-rock bangers; ‘Crows Feet’, ‘Vitamins’ and ’Brickwork’ arrive in quick succession with new cut ‘Fight Skirt’ fitting ideally with them.
‘Swear Jar’ reins things back, allowing a mass sing along amongst the enthusiastic crowd. While old number, ‘Melon Blade’, is complimented by a brief blast of Foo Fighters’ ‘Everlong’, merely adding to the 90s rock vibe that Milk Teeth’s sound revolves around.
Throughout guitarist Chris Webb is animated with Billy Hutton complimenting Blomfield’s sweet melodies with raw angst. Crowdsurfing drummer Oli Holbrook holds things down with a tight knit display, yet it’s Blomfield who continues to grow as a front woman. Tender offerings ‘Kabuki’ and closing song, ‘Hibernate’ are delivered with conviction.
Although not the perfect outing; lesser-known tracks prove to be ineffective, Milk Teeth are starting to show their worth. Much like their recent ‘Be Nice’ EP, they look and sound like a band who are beginning to carry expectations with poise. (4/5)
Just as we’d hoped, tonight’s bill fulfilled its potential by showcasing three diverse but creditable UK bands, all who are steadily growing. Once again, the critics are proven wrong as rock is far from dead. With bands such as Milk Teeth, Employed To Serve and Wallflower, its future is promising.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)