At my time of life, I tend to think that I have generally seen and heard pretty much everything in terms of rock and metal. However, about a month ago I was sent a link to a video by a new band called Bloodywood. Featuring a classic hard-edged sound there was also an element that set this band apart from the many others that I get regularly sent. Hailing from India, a country that’s relatively unknown for its metal bands they incorporated elements of original instruments and sounds of their culture/environment. This was no gimmick however and on further exploration, their sense of uniqueness was clearly apparent. The band had, due to great PR and without an album release, managed to book a UK tour. Fortunately, they would be stopping off for a date in Manchester. The hype had clearly spread with many of the dates selling out. Everyone knows how difficult it is for a new band in the current climate to get noticed. Instead of taking the usual route of securing a major tour support slot, they and their PR representation had believed in their own abilities to do their own headlining shows. Quite a bold step.
Due to work commitments, unfortunately, I was unable to arrive in sufficient time to catch the three support bands. However, by the time I arrived at Rebellion, it was pretty packed and close to a sellout show. I feel that at this point it is prudent to mention that I have seen many other bands with a considerable musical legacy play the same venue and fail to pull in the numbers that this band did -after only having a total of two songs available to the public. I squashed myself into the venue and fortunately managed to bag a raised position just beside the green room and sound mixing desk which afforded me a great view of the stage. After a short wait, the band literally exploded onto the stage in a ball of energy, all fighting for space on what appeared to be a stage that was far too small to contain all the energy that the Raj metallers offered up to a hugely enthusiastic audience. The combination of natural band instruments along with traditional choices worked well in a live setting. Prior to the show, I had expressed some reservations that the more unique elements of their sound would have been swamped with noise to their detriment. Fortunately, this was not the case as a great sound mix fused the two together in a harmonious combination.
The set itself combined some original material with some cover songs; however, Bloodywood successfully made even those song selections sound like their own. When I see many bands perform cover songs live in their set they generally adhere to the tried and trusted format of the originals. However, Bloodywood made those songs very much their own and they slotted effortlessly into their live show. Both band and audience fed off each other to create a fantastic atmosphere. Chatting to the audience also resonated with the fans as they touched on issues such as mental illness-a subject which is becoming more central these days in the music industry. Bands such as Bloodywood, Alien Weaponry, and The Hu have recently illustrated the global nature of rock and metal as a musical movement and to these old ears place a fresh tinge on a well-worn formula. It is very rewarding to discover as acts from other countries incorporate different and cultural tastes to create unique identities and sounds. The Manchester audience embraced something new. I can’t wait to see what the band will do next-they have already established a solid grounding for global domination.
Review by Mark Dean | Photos by Christopher James Ryan Photography