05 December 2018
Firstly I would like to thank whatever friend of the band gave them a map so they could finally find their way back to the UK again, tonight’s show proved how much they have been missed and just how powerful a band they are.
First up tonight were BLIND CHANNEL and if I had to sum them up in two words it would be energetic and white, so white they could be Scotsmen with a tan.Joking aside with a three band bill and a venue curfew the boys did not have a lot of time to play with or as they were on so early, many punters to impress but the violent popsters gave it their all.
From the moment they took to the stage it was a whirlwind for the eyes and a tornado for the ears. These Finnish youngsters have something going on that is for sure. If you take a big chunk of Linkin Park, a dab of Limp Bizcuit, the beats of Skindred and the chaos of Crossfaith you are pretty tied down to what these boys sound like, add to that the total frenzy you have on the stage and you are going to be impressed.
As a photographer as well, these boys were a pleasure to shoot as you are on the go constantly with no downtime as there is always something happening up there and with the dual vocalists in Joel Hokka and Niko Moilanen you have some pretty boy shots too.With songs like “Over My Dead Body” , “Like a Brother” and “My Heart is a Hurricane” this band are festival pleasers from start to finish. Keep an eye out for them as they are going to be turning a lot more heads.
There is a lot happening in the ALL THAT REMAINS camp and a lot of people were surprised that they even made this tour what with the tragic news of Oli Herbert’s untimely passing. It cannot be easy for the band to go up there night after night after losing a brother.
You may wonder where the band will be left after losing such an integral part but based on tonight’s show the live element is still very healthy and with the bands don’t give a crap attitude I can see them continuing on in the groove they have cut themselves in this industry.
Tonight there is no chat, no banter, it is just down to business and as “Two Weeks” starts you know that business is heavy. I have loved this band for well over a decade and remember that first track I heard and how I sat down and bought their whole discography in one swoop and spent a whole night listening to the amazing mix of brutality and melodic tones.
That love has not waned over the years as they became more and more the individual band we see before us.
“Whispers (I Hear You)” is next up and the quiet is short lived as Philip Labonte screams until the veins pop in his neck and his baseball cap nearly flies from his head. The boys get a full hour and manage to cram 15 songs in(so not talking does have it’s advantages) and before long the pit has opened, the Pit Troll is on duty to throw people about like a rag doll and the large quantity of people here to see this band are rapturous(and a bit sweaty).
In amongst the chaos there are some sublime moments with one of my favourite tracks “The Air That I breathe” and the beautiful “What if I Was Nothing”. We are told this is a sure fire way for men to get their leg over(but I have to say if I tried to sing this I would get a full five finger death punch). Considering the situation the boys pulled off a brilliant set and as they start the new journey I wish them all the best.
Now that the long wait is over and as much as I enjoyed the first two bands it was a bit agonising to be this close to SEVENDUST and not seeing them yet. The wait to see them has been a tough one. Funnily enough I was introduced to this band by my then teenage nephew back in 1999 and since then they have never been far from my ears.
They were always a band that just did not seem to make the big time in the UK and that perplexed me as the music is incredible and Lajon Witherspoon’s vocals are amazing as can be heard as the band dive straight into “Dirty” and the missing years disappear along with all the profanities spat out every time I read about an American tour.
From Dirty we get to “Ugly” and that staccato, machine gun chatter pours from the PA and the pits once again start up. From this we go to “Pieces” and I cannot take my eyes off Morgan Rose on drums and vocals, the man is insane on that kit. He is the cheerleader for the pit…the fans are trudging to his beats. They may be in a world of their own but they are missing his brutality, his screams and his stick acrobatics.
As we charge through the set there is a little lull from the band which gives the crowd a chance to start the local chant of here we fucking go which the band turn into a song in an instant with it becoming a death core chant. With the crowd still cheering this on the band drop into “enemy” and right there you can take a look at what the essence of this band is. They brought something new to music back in the day.
SEVENDUST is not about the past though as if you have heard the most recent release “All I See is War” you know this band is just as relevant today as they were when they hit the scene. This is in my top five albums of the year and I am a bit disappointed there are not more tracks from it tonight but I feel that is probably down to the length of time since we have seen them. I hope that this is a teaser for a quick return( they did promise not to wait so long to come back).
Another surprise omission tonight is “Angel’s Son” a song that most people will associate with the band but tonight it is replaced with “Shine” and it is dedicated to Oli from ALL THAT REMAINS and I am sure I saw a tear run down Lajon’s face.
“Thank You” goes out to the fans and you can tell it is heartfelt as is “Bitch” and this gets the whole place going crazy. The pit is twirling, the ones on the outside are pumping fists and Lajon is strolling through the whole thing like the coolest hardass on the planet, if ever there was a lead actor for another Tarantino western it is this man.
The boys finally came back, for me it was way too short a set but I would have sat there till the early hours of the morning but it was still perfect. It took me back to that first listen, the smile it put on my face then was written all over my face tonight and I left with two plectrums, a host of amazing photos and a memory to last a lifetime.
This band should have been massive globally and hopefully with the new album, lots of touring and a host more festival slots it will finally happen. They are on top of their game and have so much to offer…but, here is my warning, you have two more years tops to get back to the UK or you will have a mad Scotsman chasing you down demanding an explanation.
Images and words Ritchie Birnie