The streets in the city centre may be laced with festive lights, the intoxicating aroma of overpriced market goods and the buoyant feeling of merriment, but over at Nottingham’s finest independent venue, The Maze are celebrating the festive period in a slightly different manner. The team at IKE Productions have developed a sterling reputation for bringing the best alternative acts to Nottingham venues, but tonight, their Christmas all-day event boasts a line-up more mouth-watering than the thought of Christmas dinner itself.

Opening my evening are Borders, a four piece metal outfit from Lincoln whose performance suggests that their upcoming EP (set for release in 2017) will be well worth your attention. Although they hardly set themselves apart from other acts in their genre, the band showcase a promising set laden with bludgeoning breakdowns and an impressive range of screams from their passionate front man. Once they have tightened a few of the more technical elements to their sound, Borders will be a formidable force on the live circuit.

The penultimate act of the night is Holding Absence, a band whose captivating presence and passion in their live performances is already well documented. Despite being a fairly recent venture, their members seem to have created something truly special. Tonight’s performance does more than justify their recent hype, as their sound washes over the crowd like a tidal wave of pure emotion. The pitch perfect cleans and defiant cries of Lucas Woodland soar elegantly amongst their impassioned instrumental work. Their sound strikes you like being pulled to safety from your most desperate moments. It’s a feeling of shambolic desperation which offers newfound hope in abundance. This is what it must feel like to have seen the likes of Linkin Park and Bring Me The Horizon in their early days. Expect an incredibly bright future from Holding Absence.

Headlining this festive affair are the upcoming titans of UK metal; Carcer City. The band strike while the iron’s hot following Holding Absence’s breath-taking spectacle with their own exceptional showcase of a truly powerful live performance. Although they walk on to a relatively small crowd, this doesn’t reflect their ability, as they power through a collection of highlights from their latest release ‘Infinite Unknown’. Their captivating choruses and devastating breakdowns are virtually flawless, ensuring that almost every intricate detail is maintained in their performance. Lights are strobing frantically and smoke cannons flood the room in a molten haze, coinciding with their suitably colossal anthems.

It’s always strange to see an outfit of academy sized quality playing to such an intimate crowd, but I consider this a privilege. It should only be a matter of time until Carcer City reach the status they deserve and terrorise larger stages. Make sure you catch them at UK Tech-Fest near Nottingham in July next year.


Words by George Fullerton