Sumo Cyco & Devilskin @ Birmingham o2 Academy

Opening the night were West Midlands based Rock band Sister Shotgun with a hometown show. Although this band was plagued with tech issues during their set, with the way they handled it, they showed true professionalism! A fairground-esc walk on track started, reminding me of similarities to ‘A Little Piece of Heaven’ by Avenged Sevenfold, […]

Opening the night were West Midlands based Rock band Sister Shotgun with a hometown show. Although this band was plagued with tech issues during their set, with the way they handled it, they showed true professionalism!

A fairground-esc walk on track started, reminding me of similarities to ‘A Little Piece of Heaven’ by Avenged Sevenfold, but slightly less creepy, setting the atmosphere and building hype. They dropped straight in with heavy bone crunching riffs melding into catchy, infectious vocal melodies. Their set featured strong dynamics, with highlights being ‘From the Ashes’ and ‘Miss Fortune’ showing off Chloe’s powerful voice. The backing harmonies were good, however slightly hard to hear along with the lead guitar lines.

First tech issue of the night was the main vocal mic cutting out, however Chloe instantly went over and took the guitarists backing vocal mic to use rather than being phased or overly interrupted. A few other issues cropped up like the rhythm guitar cutting out completely and some mix issues, however the band stayed strong and finished on a high. Their stage presence was strong, featuring synchronised head banging in parts, pulling the guitarists hair and expressive faces, however some gaps between songs seemed slightly awkward, possibly down to nerves or tech issues, but overall they radiated passion.

With a little more refining and development, this band is definitely one to watch out for.
Next up were Nottingham/Derby based no-nonsense hard hitters Eva Plays Dead. Unlike a lot of bands these days, they didn’t have a walk on or intro track, jumping straight into action, delivering a tight polished performance.

The focus point was clearly on vocalist Tiggy for the majority of the set, although the rest of the band held their own on stage reflecting her aggression in milder doses. Tiggy came across as slightly arrogant in places, but overall their performance was strong. Tiggy’s punk influenced style of vocals are very forceful and aggressive, however slightly lacking in dynamics and after about half of their set it all started to sound a little bit samey, lacking emotion, but still enjoyable non the less.

The band have a slightly elaborate set up, with guitar and bass both running through two heads and cabs, saying that though the tones were thick, heavy, and overall very good. When the guitar cuts back slightly however, the bass tone is a bit too hissy and could benefit from toning it down slightly until the guitar comes back in.

To end their set, they performed an impressive re-arranging of the drum kit, taking it into the center of the crowd and setting up for a drum solo into outro. Very impressive in terms of stage show, however it seemed slightly out of place for an opening band and more like something that should be done as headliners or main support. Even so, the crowd loved it, as did the band.

Co-headliners Devilskin, all the way from New Zealand, graced the stage next, after turning the lights down and waiting for silence. Their dark and mysterious walk on track started, building the atmosphere and tension, the lights flickered on, the crowd started to cheer, it kept building up, a military snare roll started as they introduced themselves, a heavy bass riff begins, and then they begin.

These guys absolutely nailed it, their sound was immaculate all around, vocals exactly like their records, effortlessly switching between screams and singing, backing vocals spot on as well. Their set was flawless and captivating to watch, a solid performance that was consistent yet dynamic, powerful and charismatic. The pinnacle of their set was their mesmerising performance of ‘Animal’. The emotion flowed through the room, and when that pause hit before the high note, it was like the whole room stopped breathing, and when the high note hit, you felt it in your soul, and the whole room erupted. Wasting no time, they dropped straight back into it fast and hard with heavy, beefy riffs and that killer bass tone.

Each member of the band gave an honest, captivating performance, and although the focus is naturally on the singer, no one was overshadowed. Nail (guitarist) and Paul (bassist) with their matching beards both got up on the monitors at the same time performing to the crowd, playing up to it showing great energy and character. It’s a shame the stage didn’t have a drum riser, as Nic nailed his performance too, stick spins and amazing energy, its just unfortunate that you couldn’t see a lot of it.

Their whole set flowed naturally, the crowd clapped along without being prompted, and the entire room was captivated. If you get the chance to see these guys in action, you will not regret it.




Independent Canadian Punk Metal Co-headliners Sumo Cyco had the task of finishing the night on a high, and boy did they deliver. In a similar manner to Devilskin, they had a dark walk on to build hype and atmosphere, however this had more of a major tonality as it developed and had some resemblance to 80’s style superhero style synths. As they came onto stage, they enticed the crowd to cheer and threw their arms up showing confidence and charisma, they were ready to bring the roof down and make sure everyone in that room had the night of their lives!

It seemed a bit like the crowd were mainly Devilskin fans, as it took them a couple of songs to really get into it. The bands energy and sense of fun was infectious however, and the crowd was soon converted. The Skindred influence is apparent, the highlight of their set was ‘Move Mountains’, the single from their new album ‘Opus Mar’ in which Benji featured. During the song, front woman (stage name Sever) got the entire crowd to the floor (herself in the middle) and slowly start to pulsate up and down with the music, culminating in everyone jumping, showing excellent crowd control and making everyone a part of the show.

Sever’s stage persona is almost slightly insane, yet completely honest and humble. There was so much versatility present as well, from gruff screams, Skindred style rapping to powerful singing, a completely captivating performance.

Their set got better and better throughout, getting crazier and even more captivating. Sever (aka Skye) made it all the way to the bar during one song, climbing onto it and then onto a cleverly positioned, staged audience members shoulders, who then carried her back to the stage. Later on she was on guitarist Matt’s shoulders as he was still playing, in the middle of the crowd. Don’t undervalue this, it takes amazing skill to pull that off!

Everything about this band screams enjoyment and a good time. Not only that, their music is also spot on, bassist Thor’s thundering bass lines combined with Matts chugging guitar and pounding drum beats, bring a unique and interesting edge to a well refined performance. Check these guys out live as soon as you can.








Karen Shaw

March 31, 2017

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