The Workman’s has been hijacked, hijacked by Northern Irish record label, Smalltown America. But we’re OK with it. We’re here to see More Than Conquerors who are playing a short set supporting their brethren Axis Of and Jetplane Landing.
More Than Conquerors have had quite a year. They’ve gone from dingy pubs to big festival stages. Small EP releases to launching their debut album, ‘Everything I’ve Learnt’, on the 30th of this month.
It’s a slow creep to the top, but they’re as promising as they come. Commercially, they’re dreamy, as well as their stage presence and damn, do they know how to write a song. But they’re dark, like the guy you can’t change, taking the intriguing spirit of their records and bringing it to the stage with perfect execution.
There’s no fanfare to their arrival, just a few grungy kids ready to tear the place a new one. The domineering thing about them is their riffs, with the likes of Bear Knuckle Fight and Jaw daring you to chase them down.
They’ve already got that distinctive tone, twang of accent and Biffy Clyro-esque coarseness about them. They take us to that early noughties ‘scene’ without pushing cheap nostalgia. Vocalist Kris Platt’s voice is immediately distinct, sounding slightly emptier than recorded, but determined all the same, as he belts out When the Well Runs Dry with the perfect rollercoaster of soft harmony and scruffy urgency.
The abrupt elastic riffs underneath, bring it all together with a quality that can often escape the alternative vibe to those who only dabble. The band’s stage presence is very adolescent, but the songs truly something to take notice of. These guys have talent, the only shocking thing about it is that they‘re up first on a triple bill, deemed ‘the lesser’.
Despite all of this, they give an air of being more experienced than they are. As with the rugged beards on their faces, the fresh-faced kids that started releasing their initial stuff online in 2009 are taking their music up with their growth.
Platt is a good front man, stiff with determination, he strums out single Pits of Old concentrating on getting out the words, in contrast to rawer Boots & Bones material. With heavy riffs and thundering drums to psyche him up, his haunting vocal on Go On, Go On, Get Out goes down a storm. It’s always good to see the band enjoying themselves as much, if not more, than the crowd.
These guys are tethering on the edge of something great, well, better. It will be interesting to see how their album performs, as live is where they thrive.