“Goth Christmas” at Life of Riley – Explosive Live Music for the Strange and Unusual

Written by on 7th November 2023


On October 26, a thunderous rumbling could be felt all throughout Sunderland, emanating from the hub of all things alternative as ‘Goth Christmas’ shook the foundations of Life of Riley.

Teaming up to melt some faces were Rituals, coming off the back of playing Download Festival 2023 and Sorrow, an unstoppable force from Sunderland.

Where better to host such a monstrous event than Life of Riley, the leading charge in rock nights in Sunderland?

Hosted by Rock Renegade and pioneered by Scott Johnston, also the bassist of Sorrow, the audience was in good hands with their careful curation of a safe and accepting environment, ready to welcome all fans of the spooky and strange.

With 15 years of rock nights under his belt, Scott’s recent move to Life of Riley has introduced a new mecca to the area, bringing weekly rock nights and events to the people in need of their alternative fix. Pool tables and a great atmosphere promise a great night for soaking in the alternative culture.

Opening the evening, Sorrows stormed the stage with an energy that was sure to get anyone on their feet. The powerhouse of a frontman (Simon Spoors) and ground-shaking drums (Christopher Dagg) exploded the stage, bringing a massive response from the audience in the form of crowd-killer dancing and seas of metal horns.

Forming off the back of lockdown, and with a few gigs in their bank, their stage presence is undeniable as they thunder through their opening song. Launching into a cover of Halloween by Misfits, they gripped the audience and refused to let go, right until the very last note was played.

Closing out with their 2022 single ‘God Killer’, Sorrow proved they are a force to be reckoned with and left an impact on the audience that at least their necks will feel for a few days.

An upcoming gig at The Bunker on November 17 promises even more huge vocals and face-melting riffs (Kris Clark), as the band work on the recording of their new EP, due to be released next year.

Continuing a string of earth-splitting shows, Rituals took the stage, donning their best spooky attire. Launching straight in, frontman Lewis McRae seemingly effortlessly belted his gut-churning vocals, to the melodic fire of Ewan Lee’s explosive riffs.

Huge cymbals (Matt Dix) and punching basslines (Dom James) shook the room, leaving no head un-banged. Showcasing their massive talent, that previously won them the Kerrang! Radios ‘The Deal’ in 2023, “I Found Myself In The Dark” from their latest EP of the same title thundered out through the streets of Sunderland.

A cover of Bulls on Parade by Rage Against the Machine got the whole room moving, with Simon Spoors of Sorrow joining them on stage to command the whole audience into a myriad of middle fingers.

Introduced as “the song that changed their life”, the band crashed straight into “Oceans Subside”, one of the band’s biggest songs with upwards of 29,000 streams on Spotify, with the crowd all screaming along until they had nothing left.

With their unstoppable energy and love for what they do, it’s no wonder that Rituals has a deal with Marshall Records and more music in the works. With a chaotic tour schedule, there’s no doubt we will be rocked by Rituals once again in the near future.

With upcoming events towards Christmas and Easter, plus weekly rock nights with Rock Renegade, Life of Riley promises to provide a welcoming environment for all those with a passion for alternative and rock music.

Whether it’s to experience massive events like ‘goth Christmas’ or just for a pint, Life of Riley should always be at the top of your list.

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