Live Report: Shallow Leisure Fest 2 – More Leisure

Nelly Furtardo once sang “why must all good things come to an end?” and the same had to sadly be said for The Waiting Room. The building was sadly close to make way for student flats, the venue closing epidemic had hit Colchester. But today was a celebration of everything the scene had achieved with some quality bands from the UK.

Shallow Leisure always books an interesting array of underground bands and Aithur certainly fit that description. The Avant/progressive punk rock group may not have been for everyone, but the band were excellent in their style. The strangeness of the music was oddly charming and it was unlike anything on that day, but towards the end of the set the music had started to drag and finished at the right time.

Divergence by Aithur

Unfortunately, Cady dropped out at the last minute, so the band that really kicked the day off was Group of Man. Like an English Fugazi, Group of Man wasted no time in getting stuck in and spewing off fuzzy punk riffs. Despite getting the organisers names wrong, Group of Man were really enjoyable with music that was fast, frantic and the wake up call we needed.

The problem with putting a band like Wren on early, is that they’re going to eclipse a lot of the bands that follow them. Wren played an absolute blinder of a set and where one of the highlights of the day. Absolutely mesmerising and a genuine pleasure to watch, Wren brought home the goods at The Waiting Room for the final time. It was my third time seeing Wren and every time I take something new from them, this time I found new appreciation in the musicianship, the layers of the music and just how good that bass intro to ‘No Seance’ was. Just excellent from start to finish.

Playing their first gig in three years, hardcore punk legends Man Hands were back in business. Blasting through 13 songs in about 15 minutes, Man Hands were so much fun with mosh pits, piggy back rides and of course a human pyramid. A joy to watch both the band and the fans. With frontman John Andrews spitting bile about the Tories on stage, Man Hands were an absolute joyride and their return is more crucial than ever.

Featuring former members of Undersmile and Girl Power, Basic Dicks invoked the spirit of Bikini Kill with a retro punk attack. An enjoyable slab of punk rock with dual vocals and distorted guitars. If the demos are anything to go by, this band’s next outing will be quite the treat.

One of the bands I was most looking forward to seeing were the excellent Seven Hundreth Unicorn. This two piece from Milton Keynes were easily one of the best bands of the weekend by miles and I rushed towards the merch stand to get a shirt straight after I saw them. Holding Black Sabbath, Mastodon and Neurosis as influences, what this band played was truly magnificent. With a bucket load of juicy riffs emptied on us lucky fans, this band were absolute killer and were worth the admission alone.

The Waiting Room has been essential for giving bands like Three Thrones a chance to bring their music to the masses and will lose vital exposure. Which is a shame as Three Thrones’ are always entertaining and a pleasure to watch. Bringing their progressive metal to The Waiting Room for the final time, watching the three of them make magic was like watching The Matrix for the first time. Mind bending, action packed and just cool. No set is ever the same, it is simply just lovely music played by lovely people.

Art of Burning Water were just phenomenal. An intense, harsh, uncompromising live act, bending noise and hardcore with a touch of black metal. Art of Burning Water bought the pain and did not apologise for the audio damage bought upon the venue. An absolute belter of a. set made by three accomplished musicians. A whirlwind of chaos that the Waiting Room will never see again.

Playing their only set of the year, Volunteers were an absolute blast. The pits, pyramids and piggy backs returned as the legendary punks smashed it for the last time in the venue. Unrelenting carnage with many righteous attacks on government and the council for turning the venue into student flats. A nostalgic blast from the past.

I could not think of a more perfect band to close the proceedings than Telepathy. One of the best bands of recent years cut their teeth in the Essex scene and without venues like The Waiting Room we would be seeing less of them. Closing the venue with grace, power and riffs that could destroy planets, it was a marvel to behold. Pure, brilliant and a technical masterclass. Telepathy were a fitting end to the days proceedings.

Afterwards a choir came in and sang Toto‘s ‘Africa,’ a song that is as tradition played every night. After this it was the end, an unbelievable night and a fitting farewell to a wonderful venue that brought so many people together. R.I.P The Waiting Room 2014-2016.

Art of Burning Water
Basic Dicks
Group of Man
Man Hands
Seven Hundreth Unicorn
Three Thrones

About Jack (820 Articles)
I am a recent graduate from the University of Essex in Colchester where by the luck of Odin I met the editor, Dom. I first got into metal when I was 13 and now I am 22 and own an uncountable amount of band T-shirts. I also regularly attend gigs (local and in neighbouring areas) as well as festivals. My musical taste is varied; I like nu metal (my first love), thrash, black, death, doom, folk, sludge (my favourite genre), symphonic and many more of the multiple genres that metal has to offer, I even like some metalcore (I know it's a dirty word within some metal circles but some of it is outstanding). One of my most memorable metal moments was meeting Grand Magus at the Bloodstock signing tent and having the whole tent to myself, spending a few minutes talking to them.

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