Tracer – The Plug, Sheffield – 14/11/15

Bands often get an affinity with certain places they tour, for Tracer that place seems to be Sheffield with a sold out gig at Plug.

Before the scantily clad teenagers and twenty-somethings spilled drunkenly out of taxis into the venue and Tracer tore through the smoke that resembled a fireman’s practice drill, Californians The Vitals took to the small stage for the last night of their first ever trip to the UK. This Los Angeles trio quickly won me over, their strand of rock music which at times was a little The Vtals - The Plug, Sheffield - 13NOV15-23experimental, others mellow and most often balls out rolling rock with a grungy splash. Their material was diverse and Kate Strand’s vocals had an ethereal rock quality about them with a kick of sass. Guitarist Henrik Linde and drummer Dylan Howard proved they could break back and let Kate shine or belt their instruments full throttle showing off their accomplished musicianship. Definitely a band to keep an ear out for.

Tracer appeared on stage through the smoke to rapturous cheers and kicked off with the title track from their latest album ‘Water For Thirsty Dogs’. ‘We’re Only Animals’ is a great song that shows off Michael Brown’s vocal grit, power and range. He reaches the higher register with the same natural ease that he growls the lower. The crowd too were in fine voice when they sang the chorus of ‘Homeward Bound’ in unison. Their new material really plays out well live. Tracer seem to write for the live show.

Tracer - The Plug, Sheffield - 13NOV15-12Respectfully Tracer dedicated the set to the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks a mere 24 hours earlier, before playing ‘Voice In The Rain’ a song with lyrics that took on a different resonance as a result.

Jett Myrmidon’s bass was cranked to 11 and thundered through the PA as he snaked around the stage, thundering his way through ‘Wrecking Ball’ and ‘Spaces In Between’, the latter of which is fantastic too for drummer Andre Wise who you couldn’t tell was unwell as he pounded his way through his kit like a real storm trooper.

As a last night of the tour surprise, Tracer brought The Vitals on stage for a performance of Lana Del Rey’s ‘Money Power Glory’, which Mike said they had only rehearsed once that day. It went down well with the audience despite it being a track many were unfamiliar with. The Vitals band members were loving every minute as Kate shared vocals and Henrik guitar lines with Mike.

On songs like penultimate number ‘Lazy’ they break the Tracer sound back with undertones of Nirvana unplugged moulded with a bluesy groove, before rounding off the night with the stratospheric explosions of ‘Astronaut Juggernaut’.

Tracer brought to an end their several months of touring both in support of Apocalyptica throughout Europe and their headline tour of the UK, in Sheffield, with a quality set list from start to finish. Tracer provided a sweaty, rock fuelled belter of a gig. You can never have too much Tracer and I for one look forward to their return to European shores in 2016.

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Set List: Water For Thirsty Dogs, El Pistolero, We’re Only Animals, Too Much, Voice In The Rain, Devil Ride, Medley, Homeward Bound, Wrecking Ball, There’s A Man, Spaces In Between, Money Power Glory (Lana Del Rey cover), Us Against The World, Lazy, Astronaut Juggernaut

About Heather Fitsell

I have been photographing bands predominantly in the London area since 2008. I have photographed in venues as small as pubs and as big as Manchester MEN arena. I have photographed local bands and the likes of Whitesnake, Def Leppard, Thin Lizzy, Black Stone Cherry, Alterbridge, Evanescence and many more. I have also photographed at Hevy Fest for the last two years and previously ran my own webzine, before I decided to focus more on my photography.