Daywalkers – Live

Grand Central, Manchester. 15/12/2009
By Chris Oliver

I’m a happy man when Tonn Piper walks into the Thirsty Scholar. I’ve wanted to see his band, Daywalkers, for years, but circumstances just keep conspiring against me. My joy is somewhat short-lived, however, as I find out they’re playing next door at Grand Central. This wouldn’t normally be a problem but I’m due on stage at 9. Musicians being musicians (i.e. late for everything) I don’t finish until ten. Next-door I find Daywalkers on stage, bashing out one of their more sing-a-long numbers, ‘Low Down Dirty Scoundrel’.

Daywalkers is one of the Manchester metal scene’s best-kept secrets. Best described as a nu-metal four-piece with influences ranging from dub to electro. Fronted by the aforementioned Tonn Piper (aka Rufio), he has been a name on the Manchester scene for over ten years. Not yet thirty he’s been a drum ‘n bass MC since his teens and has appeared this year with Goldie and Broke ‘n’ English, amongst others. He is very keen for his audience to get behind Manchester bands – and he puts his money where his mouth is, working with local community organisations and music outreach programs.

Daywalkers are a seriously heavy band, most often sounding like a cross between Pantera and the very best of rap-metal, but they have much more flavour, with reggae breakdowns and the occasional drum and bass-style beat all thrown in to the mix with guitarist, Phil J’s meaty riffs and face-melting solo playing. They go down a treat in the packed out Grand Central, the dance floor crowded and bouncing.

I have to admit to being a little surprised when Piper – who must be 6’3” and would look more at home in a gangster rap video than in a rock pub – dives from the stage and crowd surfs. The audience looked pretty surprised too. Daywalkers finish a strong set with a new track, ‘Fearless’. It’s the most high energy of their offerings – and that’s saying something. If I still had long hair, it would have had me moshing away with the rest.

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