Dream State in District, Liverpool

Under a darkening grey sky, the queue forms outside District tonight. Dream State have brought their ‘Still Dreaming’ U.K. tour to Liverpool for a night of metal anthems hosted by the fantastic No Play. But, that’s not the only thing they have brought with them. They have also brought Graphic Nature, one of the UK’s most exciting up and coming metalcore bands.

Following a few delays on doors, the crowd are finally in and ready for the first act of the night. Coming in fresh, straight out of the Liverpool metal scene, we have Cut Short. Unfortunately, due to illness, the singer isn’t here tonight, but this doesn’t stop them. After toying with the idea of an instrumental set, the band are joined by their friend Chris Jones, the vocalist of Merseyside band Indigo Horizon. 

After a few technical difficulties, the band can finally show the crowd what they’re made of; wasting no time in bringing out the crushing riffs and thrashing drums. Considering the circumstances, Cut Short play a blistering set, clearly determined not to let down any of their fans or newcomers and it pays off. It gives the crowd a taste of what the band are about and what to expect from future shows. It also shows the level of commitment they have as a band. One member down and they do everything in their power to be able to play the set. As the set comes to a close the crowd are warmed up and ready for the next act.

Our second band tonight, is none other than Graphic Nature. Having spent the last few weeks defending Super Earth from the ongoing bug threat, the band are eager to bring their high-energy performance back to the stage. It’s night 5 of the tour, but you wouldn’t think that as singer, Harvey Freeman, takes centre stage. The band have an exciting and unique sound, amongst brutal guitars and screaming vocals, there is a layer of electronic music. It’s not used in the same way that Enter Shikari would use the electronic sound, but instead heavy drum and bass influences are blended into the metalcore mix; something that adds to an already fantastic live sound. It’s not just the sound of the music which should be applauded, but also the subject matter of the songs. Many of the songs cover mental health, by aiming at specific feelings associated with the topic. Whether it be grief, loneliness or agitation, each song is written in a way that makes light of those feelings and also makes them approachable topics, in a way that allows the listener to associate and process.

The set is fast-paced and catches some of the crowd off-guard. Songs like ‘White Noise’ and ‘Killing Floor’ sound even better live than recorded and the then current, latest single ‘Fractured’ gives a real taste of what’s to come in the future from the band. By the end of the set, Freeman has left the stage and is deep in the crowd, bellowing deeply into the microphone whilst excited fans form a circle. It’s a great way to end the set, leaving fans wishing for more and those who hadn’t heard the band before wishing they’d found Graphic Nature sooner.

The night is heading towards its final act. This is the band the crowd came here for. This is Dream State. It’s been a big year for the band so far, we’re only 4 months in but within that timeframe Dream State have released a new album and gotten out on the road, taking their distinct sound to multiple cities across the U.K. 

Eager fans explode with applause as the band take to the stage; last to the stage being vocalist Jessie Powell who wastes no time in interacting with the crowd. Kicking things off with the album title track ‘Still Dreaming’ the band are off to a promising start. As the set continues, so does the activity on stage. Powell is clearly keen to get the crowd going, at times using the barrier as an extra step to get closer to the crowd. 

Dream State are best known for their genre-bending music, taking influences from the whole musical spectrum. At times the music leans heavily into an EDM backing, whilst other times the metal influences shine through with an easy comparison being Spiritbox. This is no more clear than when Powell switches between screams and clean vocals with such ease; something that is not an easy feat!

Around the half way mark, Powell invites Harvey Freeman back to the stage, to much applause from the crowd and the chaos continues. 

As the evening draws to a close the energy in the room is high, the atmosphere is electric and the crowd is buzzing. The room may not have hit capacity but that doesn’t matter. Dream State still played a huge show, giving the crowd every bit of attention that they deserve; something that the crowd definitely gave back throughout the night.