Although Twisted State Of Mind were only playing a short set supporting Solcura at The Fleece on Tuesday, with their super energetic and even a bit theatrical show, they earned themselves the right to be labelled as “the real headliners” of the night by Solcura. They may have been up in front of a small crowd in a venue far from their hometown of Witney, but that didn’t stop the band from playing with energy levels befitting a packed-out show at a bigger venue, or a festival stage.
During the band’s first song ‘Break the Night, Free the Day’, the audience was given a taster of what to expect from the rest of the set: a flamboyant frontman with a powerful voice, a mix of dreamy and heavy guitar playing, and oodles of aggression from the rhythm section. Singer Ben Comley was already swinging from the pillars along the front of the stage and crouching on the barrier, and guitarist and bassist Luke Ashby and Joe Wastie were happily bouncing about together, switching places and singing backing harmonies into the same mic. Visually, the whole band radiated a sort of endearing teenage charm. They did this without sacrificing the quality of the show, though, with all the members putting on a polished performance.
Everything suddenly got much heavier when the band played ‘Don’t Know Nothing’. Here, we had Damon Marshall begin the song with a lively drum opening before going on to throw in masses of double kick to add that metal-ish thunder to the general ambience. At one point I glanced up from my note-making to see Comley had vanished from the stage, only to see him crouching on the bar from which he leapt back on stage rather like a lemur. The leaping wasn’t limited to the singer either – Ashby was regularly clambering up onto the bass speakers and jumping off them as well. An interesting moment from the set was during this song where Marshall and Comley played a kind of hardcore game of tic tac toe: the pair grabbed the snare and floor tom, put them at the front of the stage and began drumming together whilst the other two snuck off stage to play their parts in hiding. This was obviously a bit of a stunt and didn’t serve any musical purpose really, but was fun to watch nonetheless. Once the playground games were over, Ashby and Wastie got back on stage to finish the song, which quite literally went out with a bang as Comley flung the snare drum on the floor for the final beat.
‘Lights Out’ was another highlight from the set, with Ashby’s imaginative layering of guitar loops creating a mysterious opening for the song. He kept adding in parts, but left loads of space for the music to breathe. It was also interesting to hear the strong shift of feel between this and the verses, where the guitar part sounded very much inspired by disco and funk, contrasting with the rest of the band’s songs. Wastie’s bass and Comley’s vocals also mirrored each other at times during the song – a simple but effective touch. The band’s closing number, ‘Under’, was a smart choice to end the set: all four members made sure their audience was hit with a final wave of impact before calling it a night. 8/10
© Emily Engleheart