When it’s raining biblically on a weeknight and all people are doing is moaning about the rising costs of bills (rightly), it’s not what you’d call the ideal conditions for a gig. But BlackWaters and their supports proved just why it’s well worth ripping up the rulebook on a Wednesday evening and absorbing yourself in the thick of live music.
Delivering an impressively tight set for their first ever Oporto gig, Wolforna made 30 minutes feel like 60 seconds; you didn’t want to move a muscle, take a breath or blink for fear of missing something. A quick scan of the room revealed how hooked the crowd was right from the first tune, ‘Broken Bones and Gritty Fights’. They were exciting and engaging to watch, and they didn’t have to ask twice for people’s attention; it was a given throughout such a well-curated, all-thrills showcase.
Some may raise an eyebrow and call bias when I say I struggled to find fault instrumentally. And there wasn’t a single smooth note out of place vocally either. Of course, the sign of an on-point sound tech but, most obviously, the major, glowing hallmarks of a band who have things well and truly sorted. Wolforna were calm, measured and their immense talent shone through.
The pinnacle point? The melt-your-face-off solo in ‘Reset’, a track I’m certain you’ll become accustomed to playing tirelessly and relentlessly very soon.
The dust settled and FIKA then hopped on stage. It was actually my second time seeing the two-piece in a week, as they’d joined The Howlers seven days prior. They’re enjoying a bunched period of gigging in the city, it seems, and they played a surprise run-through of their material, due to a set-list-free setup. This time, there was even a token cowboy hat in the mix though.
As pints flowed and the room swelled once more, BlackWaters took control and demonstrated boundless energy. All eyes were on their insanely captivating frontman, Max, who did a stellar job of fulfilling his role as the focal point of the band’s performance. They injected all the right vigour into Oporto, too, and you could imagine how much other small venues like Nice N’ Sleazy and Sneaky Pete’s would’ve relished their presence as well.
They knew just how to weave the bigger bops into their setlist, too, with ‘I Want It All’ being one of the most gripping, and ‘Forget Myself’ ordered as the penultimate showstopper.
It was a buzzy atmosphere for BlackWaters, who were all too happy to chat to fans afterwards. The personal touch is what it’s all about these days.