Saturday 29th February marked the return of North-East rockers, Afraid To Sleep. Fuelled by anticipation and armed with angst, they descended on Stockton’s Green Room to bid farewell to their 7-year hiatus with a sold out reunion gig like no other.
Those who have visited Stockton’s Green Room will be familiar with it’s illustrious, intimate quirks. Musical propaganda and memories line the crooked walls; there’s a certain artistic ambience that fills the surrounding air. A sense of excitement.
With a capacity of 60, the beloved venue poses as the perfect location for some organised chaos, and what better way to get started than with a blistering set from metal majestic’s, Nephilim.
The five-piece took to the stage at 8pm, showering all those who stood before them in a sea of insanity-laced instrumentalism. Frontman Cal’s mixture of clean and unclean vocals race alongside chuggy riff’s and demonic drums; the ultimate metal feast.
Since forming in 2016 the lads have gathered an army of followers throughout the North East, and it’s clear to see why. Their live performance emits a certain raucous energy, an energy that captivates the crowd below them and temporarily transports them to the lair of Nephilim; what a place to be.
Suitably hyped and armed with ale, the now packed-out room buzzes with anticipation ahead of the evening’s headline act, Afraid To Sleep. At 9pm the five-piece grace the stage, and as the wind tears through Stockton’s streets, lead singer Nicole Bean’s vocal’s rip through the Green Room with ferocity; they’re back.
After returning to the stage with a thunderous roar, the band’s nervous energy subsides to make way for admirable angst. There’s undeniable chemistry between the group’s members, their passion and musicianship submerges the room in blistering guitar solos and bountiful beats.
Tearing into their jam-packed set, it’s clear to see the support and encouragement from the band’s fans. The Green Room is swimming with an eclectic mix of revellers, each of them brimming with enthusiasm and joy for the return of Afraid To Sleep.
Bass guitarist Nigel Craig lends his vocals to the love ballad, ‘Keep Everything’, immersing the room in a passion-filled duet. Meanwhile, guitarist’s Steve Thompson and Kev Bowker jam along incessantly to Rich Idle’s drums; the perfect blend of rock 'n' roll.
As the night melts away, alcohol swills the tile floors below as the room erupts into endless torrents of blissful chaos. Gig-goers are met with track after track, all resurrected from the Afraid To Sleep catalogue, dusted down and delivered with brilliance.
Nicole’s voice is a powerful force with a tone that demands attention, yet there’s a soft innocence that bleeds through her vocals on certain tracks. The band’s cover of the Johnny Cash classic, ‘Hurt’ revealed a softer, slower tempo side of Afraid To Sleep, yet one that was equally as enthralling.
It’s safe to say that the North East rockers made a solid decision in returning to the music scene, filling the void they once left with relentless riffs and long-awaited carnage. Another great night in The Green Room, another great band from Teesside.