In Flames / Vexed / Defects @ Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh

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In Flames / Vexed / Defects

Liquid Rooms Edinburgh

24th March 2022

Pictures & Review by Gavin Lowrey

It seems very strange that after all our covid troubles, with  cancelled show after cancelled show, that gigs are now back on the agenda

Tonight’s entertainment is the triple course of Defects, Vexed and In Flames, a show that has been cancelled and rearranged about three or four times & to be honest I’ve count as its been going on for that long!

Rather than play the recently revamped O2 Academy (formerly The Corn Exchange) this show is in Edinburgh’s Liquid Rooms

This for me is a bit of a quandary, because as an experience, the venue is brilliant, it’s small and compact, with a capacity of 700, a fantastic atmosphere and a great outdoor area to chill in when it eventually gets too warm

The downside, and as a photographer, it is a massive downside, is the lighting.

This varies form a shade of Fritzel basement to Dracula’s crypt……. I have actually been in this venue when the headline band has stopped the show mid song and asked for the house lights to be turned on or they weren’t playing, it’s that bad, so with In Flames love of strobes, I knew I was in for a fun night in the pit

The place is reasonably full when the first act of the evening Defects take the stage and launch into the opener “Scapegoat”

Defects are an amalgam of the members of various bands such as She Must Burn, The Raven Age & Shvpes, releasing a few singles on the way

The sound isn’t the greatest, way too bass heavy, but this doesn’t seem to bother anyone as they rock through the 6 song set, gaining a few fans along the way

Highlight of the set is “Lockdown” (I wonder what that could be about) and everyone seems happy as the set comes to an end that they have seen a band giving their all (7/10)

Setlist – Scapegoat/End of Days/Lockdown/Dream Awake/Modern Error/Recurring

A changeover akin to an F1 team sees Hertfordshire based Vexed appear on the stage, with lead singer Megan Targett appearing when the band are halfway through the instrumental intro “Ignorant”.

She seems to use her blonde hair as weapon to the crowd as she bangs her head through the opening track “Hideous”, whipping the crowd up into a frenzy.

Vexed seem to have a bit more intensity in their performance, the sound is certainly better for some reason, no more than in the choppy riffed highlight of their set “Narcissist”.

Targett’s vocal style is very similar to that of Tatiana Shmailyuk of Jinjer, not only in that she has a very gravelly delivery, but when she does, can also sing “clean” very well, no better example of which is the track “Purity”, a song from their album Culling Culture, which was unfortunately not in their setlist tonight.

In a blink of an eye their set was at an end, but they left more of an impression than Defects and made me actually want to go and listen to their album, something I actually did in the car on the way home. (8/10)

Setlist – Ignorant/Hideous/Narcissist/Misery/Elite/EpiphanyDominate/Fake.

I was enjoying some liquid refreshment in the beer garden when I noticed In Flames standing next to me at the other side of the barrier, which is a sure sign that they were ready to go on!

I was squeezing my way into the pit as the cheers reached fever pitch and In Flames meander onto the stage, there’s a few waves, but little foreplay, as they open up with “Everything’s Gone”.

Someone has clearly hit the “good sound” button as it’s very good, even for in here, which is a pleasant surprise, either that or it’s been that long since I saw a gig, it’s messing with my head.

I’ve seen In Flames at least 6 times and this evening the band are as tight as ever, and it’s nice to see them in a venue this size as opposed to the Hydro or at a festival, where pyro and strobes can take over. Speaking of strobes, my prediction was right, we are treated to epilepsy inducing amounts from the word go. Great for fans….shit for photographers!

Vocalist Anders Friden is on top form and is clearly in the groove, particularly doing so many gigs on the bounce and this shows not only in his performance but in his repartee with the crowd.

We’ve barely had time to blink as the band run through “Call My Name”, “Where The Dead Ships Dwell”, “Cloud Collected” & “All For Me” before we have a break and a chance to catch our breath while Friden talks the crowd through exactly how he wants the crowd to deliver a circle pit and guitarist Bjorn Gelotte hands out guitar pics like they are crisps he’s sharing round the pub.

We needed the rest as Gelotte leads into “Behind Space” which is delivered at breakneck speed and ferocity. This is really the blueprint for the evening as the band waltz through their set as they seem intent on pulverising the audience into submission & using their pent up lock down frustration to full advantage & Friden encourages people to “come say hello” at the front by crowdsurfing over the barrier, and everyone who does is religiously rewarded with a fistbump from Friden…….and a scowl from the bouncers.

They are a tight well oiled unit and are clearly enjoying the evening with the setlist drawn from the bands entire album catalogue.

The synergy between drummer Tanner Wayne & bassist Bryce Paul is clear for all to see/hear in the performance & guitarists Bjorn Gelotte and Chris Broderick complement each other well, Broderick brooding in the background and Gelotte dancing around smiling constantly & never short of a pic toss to the crowd.

The set is fantastic with highlights being the previously mentioned “Behind Space”, “Pinball Map”, “The End” and the set closer “Take This Life”.

In Flames were fantastic, and this show was exactly the sort of thing that we have been missing in the two year gap where covid was the only winner (9.5/10)

Setlist – Everything’s Gone/Call My Name/ Where The Dead Ships Dwell/ Cloud Connected/ All For Me; Behind Space/ Graveland/ The Hive/ Colony/ Pinball Map/ Chosen Pessimist/ Monsters In The Ballroom/ Burn/ The End/ Mirrors Truth/ I Am Above/Take This Life