Maids @ the Small Ballroom, 24th April ● Society of Sound

The Small Ballroom in Islington has been host to a deluge of beer soaked evenings and this particular night is no different. Armed with a drink in hand, I make my way inside just in time to see Raave Tapes take the stage.

Opening the night with a schooner of Tooheys and their energetic first single, Throwing Shade, it’s set to be a big one. The room quickly fills as they follow up their high-powered opener with a cover of The Villain by Hermitude. The boys perform several tracks from their unreleased EP including the emotion riddled Corridor, guitarist/vocalist Joab Eastley’s signature dazzling presence has the room wildly pulsating as well as their fresh party tune, Blue Tins, making good use of the extensive pedal boards they proudly tote at every gig.

Next up, young guns Split Feed jump on stage. They feed the crowd some punk-pop goodness, packing a punch with their thick, potent riffs, rebellious lyrics, and kinetic stage presence. Watching the trio attack the stage with their intense energy never gets old, particularly with the striking dynamic of the bass player also taking the role of vocalist.

After Split Feed, PALS are up, setting the vibe with a post-punk set full of loud, angst driven tracks from their debut EP, Spring. Their popular single, It’s Alright sees the crowd head banging without restraint (myself included), as the crowd passionately recites the lyrics alongside guitarist/vocalist Conor Kelly. Relentless, driving melodies combined with sweeping percussion dominate the room, rocking the venue into a frenzy when they smash out a cover of Nirvana song, Aneurysm.

Sydney two-piece, Corpus, are welcomed on stage enthusiastically by the growing swarm of spectators, building up the hype with chaotic, turbulent vocals and an unhinged attitude. The whole room follows suit, rumbling in anticipation of Maids’ arrival onto the stage.

The room is packed like sardines in a crushed tin can, and the room feels as though it is about to burst. Maids take the stage and the crowd erupts, churning with excitement. Maids smash out some older tunes as well as several tracks from their self-titled EP, including my personal favourite, Dr. Gecko. As the first notes from Maids’ hit single Girl Power are unleashed, the crowd lurches forward viciously. Throughout the performance — in the midst of being thrashed around — I’m totally mesmerised by the way Maids’ drummer/vocalist Sean Cook can play so ferociously yet still deliver prominent, howling vocals alongside guitarist/vocalist Matt James — another stage dynamic which is undeniably unique. Maids are an absolute must see live, serving up doom-style heaviness with the odd rhythmic structures of math rock; it’s an exciting thing to hear.

Leaving the Small Ballroom, I’m grinning from ear to ear. I’m sure I wasn’t the only person there who woke up with a fantastic hangover the next day.

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