Hullaballo and IAMWARFACE: Concorde 2 – 5 March 2022
Hullabaloo pride themselves on mastering the sound of MUSE and putting on unforgettable live shows, and IAMWARFACE as support.
I had been waiting to see these guys again after their sensational gig in Concorde 2 back in early March in 2020. This was pre lock down and the attempts of Hullabaloo to return were thwarted by Covid. But at last they were back! The fab team at Black Rabbit Productions had the guys back with a top support act – IAMWARFACE. Oh yes. This was going to be a cracker of a Saturday night!
Hullabaloo made up of three musicians from the depths of West Wales who are passionate about accurately recreating the incredible music of MUSE and bringing it to the forefront of venues near you. Travelling up and down the UK and beyond to perform in clubs, theatres and festivals playing all of MUSE’s repertoire from the albums Showbiz and Origin of Symmetry up to Simulation Theory and everything in between. Hullabaloo has become a mainstay amongst the best tribute acts on offer and prides themselves on mastering the sound of MUSE and putting on unforgettable live shows.
And tonight was their second visit to Brighton. The event put on by the team at Black Rabbit Productions.
Samuel Walters = guitars, keys and vocals
Josh Lomas = Bass and vocals
Bob Thomas = Drums
Hullabaloo took the stage at Concorde 2 about 8.30pm and would spend almost an hour and a half delivering a pure rock ‘n’ roll set, filled with amazing songs, at times dynamic performances, some twenty solid Muse songs and plenty of huge lit up balloons.
Now, the brilliant British band Muse, made up with of vocalist-guitarist Matt Bellamy, bassist Chris Wolstenholme and drummer Dominic Howard are a good live act. These guys are usually pretty great in concert. So Hullabaloo have set themselves a pretty high benchmark. “Hullabaloo are a three piece MUSE Tribute band… we pride ourselves on sounding as close to MUSE as possible.. We are the U.K’s best MUSE Tribute!”
First song off the bat tonight was Algorithm with Sam sat at a keyboards and providing the opening vocals, and without any hesitation we were into New Born and the guys had the floor jumping with Psycho. I have to say a fair sized crowd had gathered at Concorde 2 tonight which is good to see. Not quite a sold out show but it was pretty close, and it was clear the venue was made up of a good age range and everyone seemed to know the words! They put me to shame a bit on that one! It was the second visit from these guys and it was clear that the crowd were well up for a bit of Muse -ic.
Super Massive Black Hole followed up and this one went down well with the crowd. These guys were putting up a fairly decent sound which just got better and better as the set progressed. JFK/The Handler were mixed in for us. All nicely done as Samuels vocals soared and seared across the venue. We didn’t really need to do the “close your eyes and listen” test as the over indulgent smoke machine did the first part of that for us and obscured the band from time to time. They, I can confirm, sounded pretty damn authentic. The top bass smacking from Josh, his third gig with the band, and the top notch stick action from Bob came together with Samuels guitar and vocal work. This was close, real close. It was stunning, just as I remembered.
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Muscle Museum was up and this ran into Won’t Stand Down. No interlude tonight maybe as things were running a little late or maybe dropped since the last time I saw these guys. So it was all systems go for more!
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I think some may have accused Muse of being too uptight or too serious even. But this show tonight goes a bit beyond that perhaps unfair description and indicated that they just loved what they did. Hullabaloo replicates that sound and authenticity but they also seem to be enjoying what they do, having a good time and yes, making great music in the style of Muse.
The set tonight is made up of some 21 Songs crammed into a run time of just over 90 minutes. The guys were delivering almost a blitz of operatic Muse space rock. The sound was immaculate. The lighting was a little lack lustre at times and personally I felt and the smoke machine needed to be turned back a bit as at times as all we saw were silhouettes of the band. But the sound was splendid. Sam on his vocals was spot on filling the venue with a remarkable Muse sound, all backed up magnificently by Bob and Josh. What an outfit!
We had Bliss, The Dark Side, Pressure and we are treated to an almost funk-metal banger Supermassive Black Hole. All these songs served up perfectly. I think dear reader you will agree some of Muses finest had been delivered to us and even more was to come! The crowd, and me!, recognised the thumping opener for the anthem stadium shaker Uprising. Uprising seemed to lift the spirits of the already happy venue higher. Concorde 2 was full of appreciative fans, who had been waiting for this one, anyway pretty much everyone in the venue was now dancing full on and joining in. Uprising in particular has that unique infectious stadium quality. Hullabaloo encouraged the crowd to sing, stomp, and clap along in unison. We did.
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This incredible set from these three guys was coming to an end. Hullabaloo played the epic, almost operatic, Knights Of Cydonia. Huge balloons with flashing lights inside were let loose into the crowd for this one. I have to say they lasted quite a while as they bounced over our heads. Sam was seen batting the balloons back into the crowd. Since forming in 1994, Muse have released seven albums, selling more than 20 million worldwide. Hullabaloo did a great job at bringing us a slice of their music from the back catalogue.
The bands name comes from “Hullabaloo: Live at Le Zenith, Paris”, but also referred to as simply Hullabaloo. It was a live video album and music album by, you guessed it, Muse! So there you go if you were wondering where the name came from.
The band closed with Stockholm Syndrome.
The material tonight came alive in the live setting of Concorde 2, allowing the core of the band’s sound to shine through via Hullabaloo. Well played you guys. Hullabaloo has become a mainstay amongst the best tribute acts on offer and prides themselves on mastering the sound of MUSE and putting on unforgettable live shows. Chatting afterwards the guys had said they had really enjoyed the night, they loved the venue and of course the sizeable crowd who had come out to see them play. Sam hinted they will be back. I along with a few hundred others will be waiting!
Hullabaloo are on Facebook here
IAMWARFACE is a Nu-Rock Band. They formed up in Brighton in 2016 by singer/producer Matt Warneford. The name is a cunning metaphor for his own original style of bombastic high-energy groove based electro-rock, which has been affectionately branded “Rocktronica” by none other than legendary Virgin Radio host Eddy Temple Morris. The aim of IAMWARFACE has always been to create a new, edgier kind of rock sound, echoing the rebellious creativity of the early 90s and punk danger of the 70s. They still have that touch.
Stripped back tonight to a three piece, I can confirm the sound is a tight as ****. It loud, its fast damn – it’s IAMWARFACE. An all out assault was launched by these guys! What a set. If you had arrived with a few cobwebs between your ears at Concorde 2, then these were the guys to blow them away! The three of them buckled up, plugged in and belted it out for nearly 40 minutes to a pretty large appreciative crowd.
The set kicking off with, what should have been a Bond theme, To Die For. A face melting salvo to start things off. Damn it was good. Matt stood proud on stage at Concorde 2, with his bass player and drummer. Well deserved Matt, you earned that spot centre stage. You rocked it.
They are a still fine outfit to go see live. They will serve you up an interesting mix up of musical combinations. The sense of angst from Matt is sewn together with some wickedly dirty guitar riffs and a heart stopping bass and percussion. The songs are catchy, damn catchy. The superb vocals on top produce a unique sound and experience.
If you saw IAMWARFACE live somewhere you would have to stop, watch and listen. Black Room and Say My Name from the album Year Of The Dragon, were next delivered on point as Matt seemed to notch it up as he saw the venue filling up to see him and the band play. The band have supported Gary Numan on tour in the past.
You kind of just know that when you catch IAMWARFACE you can expect an ear busting set and a good visual show. Tonight did not disappoint. Matt and the bass player utilise every inch of the stage. The centre character, Matt, jumped and swirled around the stage while belting out the songs. At one point he jumped off the stage saying hello to people at the front. He really is one of the most enigmatic and engaging front men around at the moment. He can be edgy one minute and then his face will break with a disarming smile.
The only thing for me, and those at the front, was the excessive use of the smoke machine and poor downlighting on the band. Smoke is a useful tool, as is the lighting. We could not see the band for nearly half their performance. The sound was, as always at Concorde 2, top notch!
The crowd pleasers Take The Shot was next, followed by Severance and Fear The Future. It was a short set but the band seemed pretty happy with how the set had gone as the set concluded with Red Queen and Trigons.
Good luck to Matt and the guys as new material is on the way. IAMWARFACE have got it. IAMWARFACE will always deliver a set that will have the audience talking about it for days after. The power that Matt and his band produce is solid as hell! Matt his voice is at times aggressive, raw and will catch you off guard, he fills the venue with his unique sound and style. But again I can confirm he is full of that raw energy which increases as the set progresses. And yet between some of the songs he relaxes, talks to the crowd and is thanking everyone for being here. Then its back to IAMWARFACE.
IAMWARFACE are on FACEBOOK here
Words and Photos by Ian Bourn.
Thanks to Hullabaloo and IAMWARFACE for letting me loose! Loved it and would see you guys again anytime!
Thanks to Black Rabbit Productions.
Black Rabbit Productions hosted the evening. They work hard promoting live music on the south coast. They are a promotion company with years of experience putting on music shows. Tonight was superb. They have some great gigs lined up. You will always get, bang for buck, a great night out! You can find Black Rabbit Productions on the WWW
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All original pictures / video – copyright to IANB/MEDIA WORKS/ SCENE SUSSEX – Ian “The Lens” Bourn 2022.
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