Exit State Album Launch – 22nd May 2011

Exit State
with Velvet Star, Our Innocence Lost and Afterdown
Alter Ego, Manchester

Review by Ian Parry
Billed as Exit State’s  official launch gig for their new “Black Veins” album this promised to be a night to remember – which it was, in more way than one…..but we’ll come to that later.
Afterdown kicked off the night in their home town with an enjoyable set of classic rock/metal.   An album is apparently part recorded and whilst they are totally competent and entertaining in what they serve up,  it’s hard to see something that will make them stand out from the crowd.  Their Facebook profile describes themselves as “4 mates playing music”….sums it up perfectly
Our Innocence Lost  present a harder, in your face rock barrage,  frontman James leading an energetic  performance.  Having  toured extensively both at home and abroad over the last couple of years, that experience shines through.   With a modern metal , Bullet for My Valentine/Kings of Leon, sound and a second album due soon,  if hard work and continued strong live performances can build on their support, these guys have all they need to make a big impression given the right exposure.
Velvet Star are a five piece Glam/Punk throwback with a generous helping of 80’s Hair Metal thrown in for good measure. A Ramones meets Twisted Sister mix of high energy Rock’n’Roll with attitude.   And that attitude is embodied by their ace in the pack of singer /frontman Danny Jones giving a wild eyed, non-stop performance, just daring you not to sit up and take notice.   Danny commands not only the stage but most of the audience area as well, venturing as far as a mike lead will take him.  But this is no one man show,    a tight rhythm section hold it all together for lead guitarist Zebs to do his stuff.  Still relatively new to the band,  but you’d never know it as he challenges Danny for  the spotlight.  There may not be anything stunningly new or original here, but if you like your Rock hard, fast and sleazy with an In Your Face attitude then Velvet Star hit the mark on every level.  Impressive.
Exit State   With a new record label behind them and a new album, Black Veins, about to be released with some great reviews of advance copies already in the bag, here was a great chance to confirm Exit State’s continued appetite and excellence as a live band.  2011 so far has been concentrating getting the album ready so there’s a real desire to get back on stage.   New songs “In That Place”, “Black Veins” itself and the outstanding “Circles” fit seamlessly with the likes of “Lost Beyond Belief”, “I Know Where You Are” and “Bad Days” from last year’s debut Death of a Rockstar.  Roy Bright’s Guitar relentlessly drives the rhythm with some outstanding bass work from Phil Ireland.  Checkout the bass lines of opening tracks “Enough Already” and “In That Place” off the album, and how he maintains this whilst giving such an energetic and animated stage performance in a joy to behold.  But it’s unfair to single anyone out.  Texas Peat’s frenetic drumming and Adam’s lead guitar are spot on in a triumphant performance.    First release and video from the album “Check out The Crazy” is another highlight. Including what is destined to become a classic audience participation singalong of “We’ve done some crazy shit, and we should be locked up for it”   Just wait until that one hits the arenas!
Things only take a downward turn – through no fault of the band – when bang on 10.30pm, with the main set yet to finish, never mind encores, the club staff appear on stage and announce the show is over.  Absolute curfew – and begin to physically usher the audience towards the exit.  Some punters were even refused the time to go back to pick up CDs or T-shirts from the merchandising.  Promoted as their Album launch party the band are also denied the opportunity to meet and have a pint with the fans and have the chance to enjoy a successful night.
Nevertheless, if Exit State can get a couple of decent support tours, you can be sure performances like this will have a few headliners quickly looking over their shoulders.  With a great album behind them and an enthusiastic and engaging stage presence,  Exit State look to have all the qualities to go far.  Highlight of last year’s debut album was “Bad Days” – with performances like this, there won’t be many more of them around for a while.