Bloodywood have been building a dedicated fanbase since the surprise drop of the band’s first single, “Machi Bhasad,” back in 2019. The song was a breach of fresh air in the over-saturated heavy metal scene. It wore its musical influences, such as Rage Against the Machine, Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit, proudly on its sleeve whilst ensuring it had its own clear identity. That identity was Indian, Indian and proud! They have since independently released a full album, Rakshak (read our review here), and played a handful of UK shows, including Bloodstock festival gaining more fans at every opportunity.

Tonight was primed to be one of their biggest headlining shows to date, and along for the ride was Lake Malice. This Brighton-based duo has also been gaining a reputation as one of the UK’s best up-and-coming groups and, along with Bloodywood, has been nominated for a Heavy Music Award, specifically in the best UK breakthrough artist category, but also the best breakthrough live artist meaning expectations were high.

Lake Malice took to the stage and were instantly a ball of pure energy and played an encapsulating set that caught the attention of everybody in attendance. I purposely avoided listening to anything by Lake Malice before the show due to the aforementioned nominations, as I was keen to experience this band completely untainted, and right from the outset, their set was mind-blowing! Vocalist Alice Guala had some impressive lungs growling, shouting and singing out her lyrics to perfection, whilst guitarist Blake Cornwall backed her up expertly with the help of their touring bassist and drummer.

Guala’s techno-looking catsuit further accentuated her already well-established focal position on stage, ensuring the crowd was hanging on every lyric she spat out with near perfection. Lake Malice ensured that they interacted with the audience throughout, demonstrating their nominations were well deserved. If I had one criticism, it would be using a backing track to enhance the set. Now, I am well aware that this is now standard practice for most bands, but Guala’s over-layered vocals broke the immersion slightly during moments where there were clear lyrics but clearly not being sung live. This was minor, though, and did not affect the overall show.

Honestly, without the backing track, their set would have been relatively flat, so this criticism became a pretty moot point in the grand scheme of things. In short, make sure you see this band live at the first opportunity; you will not regret it!

As mentioned, this was Bloodywood’s biggest headlining show yet, and expectations were high. The band’s logo illuminated the back wall and signalled the show was about to begin. This was accompanied by the crowd chanting their name in unison. The stage was awash with a red glow as the drummer sat motionless as the venue began to fill with sound. This was followed by the rest of the band taking to the stage; with each member, the cheers became louder. Finally, a beat from the dhol began the beat of the first tune of the night, “Gaddaar,” and with that, the audience was locked in!

Throughout their set, vocalists Jayant Bhadula and Raoul Kerr interacted with the crowd like pros, encouraging pits, clapalongs and singalongs that the audience was only too happy to participate in.

Bloodywood ‘Rakshak’ album artwork
Bloodywood ‘Rakshak’ album artwork

It was a short but very, very sweet set, and at several points, guitarist (and main musical mastermind) Karan Katiyar broke out the flute for “Aaj” and “Jew Veerey,” much to the delight of the fans in attendance. Throughout the set, both Bhadula and Kerr took the opportunity to thank the fans for their support, highlighting messages of positivity, support and gratitude as an independent band.

These messages were received in kind and answered by shaking the entire venue with every perfectly delivered tune. It’s hard to pin down any specific moment from this set, but the most well-received track was unsurprising “Machi Bhasad” near the end of their set, the very song that brought Bloodywood to the attention of the world.

This unsuspecting band from New Deli owned the night and, with the support of Lake Malice, may very well have fully started their rise to the top and inevitable global recognition!

Lake Malice Setlist:

1. Magic Square
2. Power game
3. Black Turbine
4. Creepers
5. Bloodbath
6. Stop the Party
7. Blossom

Bloodywood Setlist:

1. Gaddaar
2. BSDK.exe
3. Aaj
4. Dana Dan
5. Joe Veerey
6. Zanjeero Se
7. Machi Bhasad
8. Ari Ari
9. Gaddaar (alternative version)

Photography from Manchester Academy on March 28th, 2023 by Maryleen Photography