Review & Photography by Sian Connolly for MPM
Well, tonight kicks off with one of the first of many winter gigs that I have been extremely excited to attend.
The bill tonight was a solid, four-band lineup that was definitely set to create chaos. As dusk hits and so does the cold November air, the streets around the o2 Ritz in Manchester are lined with shivering yet “ready to mosh” metalheads.
With a headliner hailing from the US, this crowd was a huge blend of fans coming from all over and boy were they ready to let loose.
First up on the dot at 7 are Japanese metal core monsters, Knosis. When I tell you, I was not ready for the storm that was about to hit the stage. Holy hell these guys know how to put on a show. From the second the lights dimmed and the four piece hit the stage, my mind was in overload.
These guys’ energy was truly beyond words. The amount of shows I’ve been to this year and nothing compares to this performance here tonight. Whether it was one guitarist jumping in the air or the other having a mini mosh on stage, Knosis definitely made good use of the stage space.
Put it this way, I took more photos of them than I have done in one gig…. My camera definitely isn’t happy with me and neither is me tomorrow morning when I have to sort through them. I could easily sit and watch these guys all night and it’s clear the crowd agrees.
Being the first band up on a pretty strong lineup did not put these guys off. They had the crowd up and moshing within minutes.
That cold weather was definitely not a thing in this room anymore. Sweat was dripping as the circle pits swallowed the room. Their set was short but sweet as lead singer, Ryo Kinoshita (ex-Crystal Lake singer), dived off the stage onto the barrier and held hands with the crowd for the last song. Absolutely insane.
A short while later, next up are Aussie’s Melbourne metal heads, Void of Vision. From the get-go, you can clearly see that lead singer, Jack Bergin, is a man on a mission ready to tear this room down and well, he did a pretty good job.
A couple of seconds in and people were ready for a good scrap (friendly scrap, of course). The guys have a true gothic vibe as Bergin comes out wearing a spiked leather jacket paired with dark makeup and of course, those mean metal vocals.
With heavy drums and scathing guitar riffs, Void of Vision are a force to be reckoned with. Bergin was clearly no stranger to crowd control as he commanded the room with sheer confidence.
If Bergin claps, you clap. If Bergin wants a mosh pit, you deliver a mosh pit, gift-wrapped with a bow on top. These guys could easily do a headliner gig and the room would be full, no problem.
Our third band for the night are another Aussie lot hailing from Perth, Make Them Suffer. Now I’ve been wanting to see these guys for a while, some of their songs have been on repeat for probably an unhealthy amount of time… They dived straight into their set with an absolute banger, Ghost of Me and the crowd went ballistic.
The only letdown I’d say was the lighting, it was a very dark and smoky set which is good and all for the atmosphere but visually, it could’ve been better. However, that is hardly an issue compared to the vibes in the room, both the band and the crowd were going wild. MTS consists of two vocalists that pair perfectly together. The harshness blended with the softness was like music to my ears, chefs kiss.
The highlight for me was hearing my favourites played live, Bones being one of them. The breakdowns are just executed to perfection as well as the mosh pits. We even had people up on shoulders moshing, which I have never seen before but it was awesome.
Ending their set with my all-time favourite, Doomswitch, the crowd went crazy. Now this song is one I would absolutely recommend, the guitar, the vocals, everything just screams proper good metal and it was even better in person.
As the set ends, the drummer throws his drumstick to the crowd, one hand shoots up in the air and you could even hear the catch from the back of the room. Such a satisfying end to the set.
Now finally, the band that people have flown from multiple different countries for, New York moshers, Stray from the Path.
There was no time wasted with these guys, the second Drew Dijorio (lead singer) ran out onto the stage, the energy was unmatched. He is an absolute force sending the crowd into an uproar. I’m not joking, the floor was bouncing. Literally shaking.
Every single body in this room was jumping and screaming along to their iconic opener, Guillotine. Wow. It’s safe to say that Americans know how to bring the chaos to the UK because this room is on fire. Drew is his own entity, when he’s in the room, he owns it.
The guitarists are also on point, giving off their own, cool as f vibe as well as Craig, the drummer, at the back of course but still, his skill doesn’t go unnoticed. I can say I probably fangirled a little when I saw Craig.
After being obsessed with his Downbeat podcast, it was pretty cool to actually see him smashing it out on the drums in person.
During my three songs in the pit, it was like all hell broke loose. Body after body flew over the barrier, security rushing to catch the next crowdsufer. At one point, I was pinned up against the stage, security behind me with legs and arms of a metal head flying everywhere.
This was easily one of the craziest gigs I’ve been to this year. The crowd was relentless. And the pits. Oh my gosh, they looked terrifyingly beautiful.
The fourth song especially was the pit starter, everyone went wild for Chest Candy. As the night continued, the crowd only got crazier.
The atmosphere was euphoric, if only I could’ve bottled it and saved it for those hard days. We were treated to some Stray classics such as Loudest in the Room, Ring Leader and Fortune Teller. Each song creating its own monstrosity in the pit.
If a tooth hasn’t been lost tonight then us metal-heads haven’t done it right. Those walls of death were festival worthy. Bottles flying in the air, beer all over my camera, I think I even saw someone with crutches throwing some moves.
As the night came to an end, the encore was one on its own. Finishing off with First World Problem Child was the perfect end that we didn’t know we needed.
Oh and we can’t forget the special appearance from Ryo (Knosis), him and Drew shut the Ritz down, hardcore style.
What a night for the books.