Image: Alex Johnstone of Pattern Pusher. Image Credit: Rupert Green, QuackProductions
On May 14th, Tiny Folds, Pattern Pusher and Dead.Ground came together for a night of indie rock at the Cavern. The support band, Dead.Ground, are local to Exeter, made of up of Jake Friese-Greene on drums, Edward Tucker on bass, and Ollie Harris on guitar and vocals. With hard-hitting riffs and a bass slamming straight to the chest, the band filled the Cavern with their alt-rock sounds. As their set went on, Dead.Ground showed a softer side, slowing down the tempo and bringing in intricate melodies. Reminiscent of Royal Blood, this is a three-piece to keep an eye on.
The next band, Pattern Pusher, is one that all of you Firehouse-lovers will be familiar with. With Alex Johnstone on vocals and keyboards, Ben Green on bass, Dan Cosgrove on guitar and Ben Conibear on drums, Pattern Pusher are an electronic, art-rock group. They opened their set with Remember – a slow, drifting song. As Alex explained to me after their set, “It’s a new tune, and it’s a really different area of music for us. It’s not a pop song – it’s more of a journey through chords.” Pattern Pusher also performed their famous song, Layla and Madman, as energised as ever – especially Ben, jumping around the stage as he played his bass.
They then went on to introduce their newest track, Magic. The song is equal parts atmospheric and grooving, nodding to their modern sound and a history of blues. It’s not often I find myself patting the person next to me in sheer excitement, but this time, I was. They finished with Still In My Arms, their synth-soaked set rightfully earning a place in the hearts of the audience. To quote one drunken fan, “They sound a bit like Kasabian – and the lead singer sounds like Alex Turner, doesn’t he?”
Up next was headliner Tiny Folds. Hailing from Teignmouth, the band is made up of guitarist and vocalist Jordan Ashton, bassist Elliot Elmer, and drummer Tom Wreford. Around since 2014, Tiny Folds have gone from one success to the next. Recently, their track Arcadia was picked up by BBC Introducing, later being playlisted by BBC Radio 1. Synth-pop sounds vibrated through the Cavern, and the room filled with loyal fans, cheering the musicians on.“I’m not going to cry,” Jordan said after their first song, “But it’s so bloody good to see so many people here.” The band played some of their most beloved tracks, such as Glamorous. As the first few notes exploded from their guitars, one fella shouted out “Fuckin’ love it”, perfectly summing up everyone’s reaction. The riffs were heavy, the bass was thick, and the band could change swiftly from downbeat to upbeat while oozing with infectious charisma. With a tight live performance, uplifting synths and honest lyrics, it’s no wonder Tiny Folds are carving their name into the scene.
Later in the night, I caught up with Pattern Pusher’s Alex Johnstone. ““The show was electric,” He began. “There’re loads of people here, which is great. The sound was brilliant, and it was so much fun.
Eliot [Tiny Folds bassist] is a bass student where I work, and he’s awesome,” Alex continued. “He’s the most electric guy, full of ideas. He messages me almost everyday like, ‘Do you guys want to sort a gig out here?’ The guy is on fire all the time, and I love people like that.”
Pattern Pusher’s sound has evolved rapidly in the past few months. “We’re changing our sound hugely,” Alex explained. “We’re planning a concept album now. It’s going to be called Eden. I’ve been reading John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, and every chapter is like a song to me. It’s all about the human condition and the difference between bad and good. When America was colonised, there was no law – it was just about the good men and the bad men. I want to write the concept album on that – on good and bad.”
Of course, I had to ask about Magic. “‘Magic’ is about a girl I know who has been really badly abused as a kid,” Alex said. “She has loads of issues, and I’m imagining her in the future, having a good life. “It’s magic coming home to the warmth” – that’s the chorus, and that’s the impetus for it. Basically, Ben [bassist] and Ben [drummer] – so many Bens! – they went away when me and Dan [guitarist] were busy, and created these awesome little triggers for his sample pad. Ben was like, ‘Shall we just try them in rehearsal?’ and we just got into it. It was magic!”