Arriving a little early, it was clear that the Basement at Rock City would be overflowing, just from the sizable queue and the buzz generated; the excitement was palpable. Once inside this only grew, and it wasn’t long until openers The Parallax Method took to the stage.
“A complex mix of sweet and strange sounds that demonstrated the perfect use of theoretical concepts to convey expression.”
A 3 piece instrumental outfit, their gargantuan sound took an excited audience by storm. A mixture of technical elements, sweeping, tapping and legato picking reminiscent of Satriani or Vai on guitar, melded beautifully with an effect heavy bass which harmonically and rhythmically glued the lengthy and experimental concepts together, like an egg in a particularly music-theory-heavy sponge mix.
Completing the trio, the drummer flawlessly pounded away, never missing a beat, and with a level of timekeeping akin to a quantising programme. The three of them coming together with a complex mix of sweet and strange sounds that demonstrated the perfect use of theoretical concepts to convey expression.
Their short set left me wanting more, and this came in the form Nine Miles South. The nonchalant and hipster bearded frontman dealt well with a rather unreceptive audience, and whilst their songs were excellent both musically and in the way of stage presence, the audience only mildly thawed by the end of their set.
In my own opinion, the commitment of the band to their music was stellar and the music itself was interesting, alt-rock with a slightly heavy edge, and certainly unique enough to merit.
Furthermore, their stage presence and live performance lacked for nothing; solos were executed brilliantly, and scarcely has a lead guitarist moved around and interacted so much with the audience. However, it was perhaps this dichotomy between the various ‘metal’ descriptors of Dörje and The Parallax Method and the rock of Nine Miles South which made them an odd selection as a support.
Then it was time for the main event. Dörje, a relatively new band, has perhaps found many fans via the YouTube careers of two members: Rob Chapman and Rabea Massad, both of whom are also regulars on videos for Anderton’s Music.
It was clear from the excited chatter of the audience that many of them knew the band members via YouTube, and which guitars that Chapman, owner of Chapman Guitars, would use was the source of much interest, with the much lauded Ghost Fret top on the list of guitars the audience wanted to see.
“From start to finish they thrilled the audience and interacted in a most genuine way,”
Entering the stage in darkness, each individual band member was applauded enthusiastically and it was wonderful to see a little embarrassment on their part in reaction to this, demonstrating just how down to earth and grateful they are for their success.
Kicking off with a set that spanned their original material right through to new songs that are yet to be recorded, from start to finish they thrilled the audience and interacted in a most genuine way, always asking the fans what they wanted resulting in a chorus of enthusiastic yells no matter what they said.
“The guitars in the mix completed the soundscape with a ferocity and clarity rare for a live act, Rob and Rabea playing off each other brilliantly, with flawlessly executed solos and a plethora of effects that never sounded gimmicky.”
Chapman fronting the band clearly put heart and soul into every word, while Dave and Ben, the bassist and drummer respectively, were tight and locked in providing a heaviness and sheer power that felt as though it threatened the integrity of Rock City’s foundations. The guitars in the mix completed the soundscape with a ferocity and clarity rare for a live act, Rob and Rabea playing off each other brilliantly, with flawlessly executed solos and a plethora of effects that never sounded gimmicky.
The entire group seemed at home, yet excited by the stage, and clearly loved every minute of their set, so much so that rather than going off before the encore, they used the time to fit in another song to their set. Favourites included ‘Aerodyne’, ‘Catalyst’ and new single ‘Flower of Life’, as well as a new tune dubbed ‘the chubber’ by Massad, a chunky piece of riffage that pushed an adoring crowd into a logging frenzy.
My only criticism of the set is that it wasn’t longer; it was too good to end. It is rare to see a band with such a fire in their belly, nor one that can back it up so brilliantly with awesome skills and a huge sound, but it’s as simple as that. Dörje nailed it and I would recommend them to anyone.
They have a unique groove underneath heaviness and riffage with beautiful intricacies, backed up by a genuine love and enthusiasm for performance which is insurmountable.