First up on Manchester Academy II’s stage is Canada’s ONI. Their progressive metal sits well with the Children of Bodom sound and they are indeed a good fit for this crowd. The six-piece just about fit on the cluttered stage, which has Jaska’s drums under cover and some cool looking search lights dotted around the back of the stage. All will, no doubt, be revealed later…
ONI hit us hard with some mind-bending metal. Frontman Jake is a big presence at the front of the stage, switching from clean vocals to growls on regular rotation he has an arm-span that looks as though he could gather up this sizeable early crowd and give us all a big metal bear-hug. He doesn’t of course, he’s got singing to do… and some serious head banging/hair windmilling as well.
Also hard at work at the front of the stage is Johnny D. Not every band that roll through town has a Xylo-synth player in their ranks, but this one does and it certainly gives them a unique edge. Johnny works his magic in a manic looking fashion and certainly gives ONI their proggy edge. Mixed in the dual guitars and they conjure up some unusual noises through the set and we can instantly see why these guys have been chosen to go out on the road with Devin Townsend later in the year.
That’ll be one hell of a noisy bill!
ONI famously worked with Randy Blythe on their ‘The Only Cure’ track. As Jake announces it and it’s Richmond Virginia connection, at least a few people suddenly take a keen interest expecting him to appear for the track. Of course, he doesn’t, but the track still sounds huge with just the ONI guys at the controls.
So our first impression of this band live is a very good one. ONI will be back again this summer for Bloodstock Festival and we’ll definitely be there to catch them on the strength of tonight’s introduction.