Gig Review: Fiddlehead at Rescue Rooms

Words: Karl Blakesley
Friday 23 February 2024
reading time: min, words

Made-up of band members from both Have Heart and Basement, two legendary alt-rock bands who will headline this year’s Outbreak festival in Manchester, Fiddlehead are the ultimate supergroup for fans of post-hardcore. Bringing with them great support in the form of MSPAINT and Wrong Man, we went along to Rescue Rooms to see if they lived up to their supergroup billing…

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With a stacked evening for gigs in Nottingham tonight, I was half-expecting to walk into an empty room for the start of Wrong Man’s opening support set. However, a decent crowd has assembled for the Belgian hardcore outfit and the band reward the early onlookers with a raucous, energy-fuelled set. “This is our first time in Nottingham, we are super pleased to be here” says a grateful frontman Bjorn Dossche, before the band launch into the heavy, face-melting riffs of Spotlight. However, it is the tracks from their 2023 EP Big Plans that hit hardest, with the closing duo of Wait and Lights Out particularly mind-blowing to witness. No doubt, new fans have been gained tonight!

Next up is Mississippi synth-punk outfit MSPAINT who, based on the noticeably busier crowd and the activity at their end of the merch table, have pulled in their own fans tonight. “Nottingham huh? I f*ck with that” is the hilariously wry greeting frontman DeeDee gives the Rescue Rooms audience, as he begins to manically bound about the stage. From the moment their set starts he is hypnotic to watch, with his storming back-and-forth as transfixing as a pendulum swing. The set draws heavily from their fantastic 2023 debut Post-American, with songs like Acid, Hardwired and Free From the Sun furiously delivered thanks to DeeDee’s snarling vocals and Nick Panella’s cacophonous synths. It’s a relentless barrage of noise in the best way, with DeeDee unleashing blood-curdling screams and bashing the microphone off the floor, and even his own head at one point. Brutal and enigmatic, they’ve set a tough act for tonight’s headliners to follow.

However as soon as Fiddlehead take to the stage with their ferocious energy, it’s clear they’re up to the challenge. With the early curfew and the fact most of their tracks are only 2-3 minutes long, its clear that it won’t be a mammoth set tonight, but the band intend to make the most of the short time they’ve been granted. “These songs are about walking in a cemetery like we did today in Macclesfield” reveals frontman Pat Flynn, with the band obviously stopping off to see Ian Curtis’ grave on their way over from Manchester. Early on its all about their most recent album Death Is Nothing To Us, with The Deathlife, Sullenboy and Sleepyhead all packing a forceful punch.

The words “I carry your heart with me, I carry it in my heart” then ring out around Rescue Rooms, the line from the iconic E.E. Cummings poem creating a huge reaction from the crowd for Grief Motif. “This ones for all the losers” says Pat Flynn, as they then launch into Loserman and the first signs of flying limbs and mosh pits begin to appear down the front. Up until now there has been the feeling of a Tuesday night crowd though, with the energy from the crowd noticeably low given the sounds and raw power radiating off the stage.

“This one is about getting to hang out with some of your closest friends, travelling the world and realising you got something to live for” says Pat Flynn, introducing the eponymous track Fiddleheads. Before you know it, the band have sped through their 12-song set and begin to exit the stage. However, before they’ve even had chance to leave, the yells of “ONE MORE SONG” from the crowd begin to ring out. “We’d happily play 5, 7 or even another full set for you guys!” says Pat Flynn upon returning to the stage for the encore. It is just the one song they go with though, sending the crowd home happy on the powerful Heart to Heart.

With three excellent hardcore bands on show, the audience definitely got their money’s worth tonight with a triple dose of fast and furious heaviness - here’s hoping for more stacked bills like this in Rescue Rooms again soon.

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