This Allusondrugs article was written by Jack Press, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Zoe Anderson. Lead photo by by Sarah Lockwood Photography

“Don’t eat pizza and sing, it’s shit” – or so they’d like you to think. Leeds quintet Allusondrugs are somewhat of an oddity – a complicated concoction of gruelling grunge, pulverising punk, and mind-blowing metal brought together by a complex matrix of layers that are as mind-boggling as the first time you watch the actual Matrix.

Tonight they’re taking their next steps up the ladder, co-headlining with hometown homies Brawlers – a pop-punk-tinged alt-rock band determined to destroy you with emotionally-ridden, physically-engaging songs that they wield in an instant.

However, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and before the dynamic duo that are our co-headliners grace the dark, dingy, and doomy depths of the Rainbow Cellar, it’s time for Roman’s to kick off proceedings.

Romans are exactly what you’d expect from a Monday-night support band at a gig that resembles the meeting of minds of a pop-punk princess and a grunge-city king – a chorus-loving, guitar-heavy alt-rock group, busy living life as a carbon cut copy of Lower Than Atlantis. They’ve got the tunes for sure, and they’ve got a pretty good grasp of what makes a good show. But. Unfortunately for them, they haven’t got a good crowd tonight and their attempts at awaking the dead fail miserably on the ears of the deaf.

Breaking onto the stage like a bull in a china shop, Brawlers are all about the fast-life as they pummel through their set like a boxer does a bag. Whilst on record they sound like a pop-punk party of emotions, their live sound is a little on the side of underwhelming. Why? They go at it way too much. It’s all well and good engaging with a crowd but when they’re the sole survivors of an obviously long Monday, you’re heart and soul is going to either fall flat or fly straight past them – and it did. ‘Drink & Dial’, ‘Instagram Famous’, and ‘Two Minutes’ are hit-and-run slices of life as told by Brawlers – and tonight they resonate with the male-dominated audience.

If hit-and-run rock-n-roll isn’t your thing, then maybe some good old fashioned straight-from-the-nineties grunge will do it for you instead in the form of Allusondrugs. They’re weird – and it makes them wonderful. It’s quite obvious they’ve been hurt in more ways than one – their dual vocal attack is as haunting as it is beautiful and if you’ve ever experienced pain, you’ll feel it in their voice.

On record, they’re downtuned and disturbing. Live, they’re loud, and they’re lavish – their sound is as disturbing as their records yet it sounds refined to a level that warrants a little more than the measly crowd that’s gathered tonight.

Whilst the crowd’s waning, Allusondrugs treat it like they’re playing to thousands. As if channelling the spirit of Kurt Cobain, their vocalist hauntingly pours his heart out note for note and word for word whilst the band themselves are possessed by the spirits of grunge’s past, playing as if on the edge of the world. Who else comes into the crowd and screams a whole song word for word into your face whilst hammering away at their guitar? That’s how mental they are, that’s how good they are.

On paper, this is one of those one-time-only tours where two top-of-the-range bands collide and yet they’ve been completely overshadowed by One Direction playing thirty or so minutes away – dark days for live music, yet promising things for Brawlers and Allusondrugs.

Allusondrugs + Brawlers + Romans - The Rainbow Cellar, Birmingham - LIVE REVIEW. Lead photo by by Sarah Lockwood Photography

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