Check out our live gallery of Pagan’s Birmingham show too!
Pagan’s Evil Eye Tour set its sights for Birmingham’s Flapper, bringing a night of ungodly rituals and high energy performances from supporting band, Sick Joy, that will make you fall in love with the chaotic sensuality and pure insanity of Aussie’s own Pagan.
Kicking off the night was Scotland’s own Sick Joy. Their sound is collusive of classic 90’s morbid grunge, mastered with a modern indie pop feel feathering its choruses to give newcomers flooding something of a catchy hook to sink into.
Bouncing around the stage like puppets enslaved to their sound, their set gave me remnants of ‘good ol fashioned’ indie shows. With the genre’s capitalization on modern music opening the floodgates for stadium tours, one could argue its lost its authentic flavor of grotty basement gigs comprised of beer guzzling and body slamming. Sick Joy is offering you a ticket back to the nostalgia of those times with a traditional sweaty gig including lots of angst and aggressive headbanging.
All the while their charismatic humility prevailed through the night. You’d think they were just another rag-tag team of lads down the pub, people you could speak to after the show without being drowned out by an egotistical narcissism. With Sick Joy, what you see is what you get and in today’s falsified industry, I can’t help but respect that.
However, to their dismay, the audience disparaged any efforts of a high energy show. Living up to the big dogs is an impossible job that Sick Joy do effortlessly, it’s clear through the amazing stage rapport that they deserve to be there. But their supporting role was undermined by a clash in audience ethos. Put simply, it felt like One Direction were performing for Thy Art Is Murder, it just didn’t work. Nonetheless, they outperformed a crowd that didn’t deserve them.
As Aussie rockers Pagan hit the stage, I felt the atmosphere in the room shift. What once was your average gig flipped into another realm of ominous rituals of unholy nature; this was the real shit.
Pouncing onto the stage with ‘Fluorescent Snakes’, Pagans sound is a complete rejection of typical metal and its fantastic to watch. It’s got a modern pop vivacity with upbeat guitars and high-tempo rhythms to complement its gritty punk influences in the drums and bass guitar, masked with vocals that are similar to that of Maria Brinks from In This Moment. And yet, while it rejects its traditional counterparts to step into the modern age of music it still garners a wider audience of fans, from your bearded old metalheads to your plucky young fangirls, everyone’s a fan of Pagan and it’s clear to see why.
The market for bands have never been more saturated and the music industry is in dire needed of creative replenishment. That’s why it’s always refreshing to see a band that plays into their own niche, and Pagan’s cult following is more than just a name. From their anti-religious symbols illuminating the stage to their unholy theatrics on stage, Pagan encapsulate their brand of ghouling and dark in a way that shocks you, but also gives you a sense of unity. You’re one of the cults too, and together you can all enjoy the pockets of cult insanities that ensue within a Pagan show.
And it’s just that- Insanity. Nikki carries a chaotic sensuality that theatrically plays well on stage, commanding the crowd as she whips out all of her somersaults, high-kicks and even taking a moment to pray to the dark lords during one song. Nikki’s sporadic stage presence complimented her fellow band members and hyped up the crowd who were practically jaw-dropped at this point.
Breaking through today’s scene is a tricky task that 90% bands fail to ever prevail through. Whilst they are growing at an immaculate speed and claiming the successes they rightfully deserve, I couldn’t help but feel like Pagan are underwhelmed by the mainstream audience due to the emptiness of the room that night. Pagan give you stadium level performances in basement rooms, it’s a bittersweet triumph for a band that can achieve so much more. If there’s anything to take away it’s that they need more slack cut for them, they’re essentially the motley crue of modern punk and metal.
Join the Pagan cult, you won’t have to kill a goat or anything but you’ll surely see some things you’ll never forget.
All words & photos by Yasmine Summan