KILLSWITCH ENGAGE/TRIVIUM/MISS MAY i/BATTLECROSS
O2 Academy, Glasgow
Tuesday 4th February 2014
'Force Feed Lies' kicks off the band's set on what's their first time in the UK, and with only a twenty five minute set, they go from zero to a hundred miles an hour in only a few seconds, determined to give Glasgow the very best show that they can.
The vocals from Kyle "Gumby" Gunther are slightly lost in the opening barrage but with a fix quickly in place, the band plough on.
'My Vaccine' is a slower paced track and Gunther does his best to get the crowd energised - something that he succeeds in doing. Guitarist Hiran Deraniyagala ferociously head bangs away at the side as does other guitarist, Tony Asta while still managing to throw out the riffs.
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'Beast' has pockets of the crowd nodding to the beat whilst others, encouraged by Gunther, raise their fists to the beat pounded out by drummer Adam Pierce. Asta performs a solid solo before joining up with Deraniyagala for some great twin guitar work.
'Flesh And Bone' makes it seventy five percent of their set taken from their latest album, 'Will Of War', while final song of the night, 'Push Pull Destroy' (taken from the band's 2011 debut, 'Pursuit Of Honor') has bass player, Don Slater, using an unusual picking style but he still gets the job done in flamboyant fashion bringing to an end their set short but well received set.
"See you at Donington" comments Gunther just before he exits the stage, and judging by their performance here and the audience reaction to the band's short set, I think a few more people will be checking them out at Donington in June.
Force Fed Lies
Flesh & Bone
Push Pull Destroy
Kyle "Gumby" Gunther – Vocals
Tony Asta – Guitar
Hiran Deraniyagala – Guitar
Don Slater – Bass Guitar
Adam Pierce - Drums
Official Website: http://battlecrossmetal.com
Miss May I
To be honest, I wasn't familiar at all with the output of Miss May I prior to this gig – the only unknown quantity on this four band bill for me – so I was quite interested to see what they had to offer.
Their set got off to a good start with 'Relentless Chaos', which had vocalist Levi Benton trying to initiate a circle pit from the very beginning although his attempt was perhaps slightly too early as a majority of the audience still seemed to be gauging what the band sounded like.
'Masses Of A Dying Breed' had some good vocals from bass player Ryan Neff but unfortunately Benton got carried away trying to get the crowd involved and this obscured some of Neffs vocal lines. 'Our Kings' was the bands big song of the night getting a huge response from the crowd.
The twin guitar sound is buried somewhere in the mix, unfortunately, as the drums and vocals seem to be pushed to the fore. A shame for the guitarists Justin Aufdemkampe and B.J. Stead who were oblivious, however, and seemed to be having the time of their lives.
'Day By Day' had drummer Jerod Boyd pumping out the solid beats which managed to get the fists raised in the crowd. For those unfamiliar with the song, it's a more traditional number than some of the bands catalogue with its repetitive guitar riff and solid pace.
As the set progressed, though, it is clear that Miss May I are certainly a popular act with some of the younger members of the audience, indeed, a crowd of about a dozen teenagers standing next to me were all singing their hearts out for the entire duration of the set.
'Hey Mister' has the band giving it everything one last time with Aufdemkampe and Stead coming forward to soak up the atmosphere from the stage. With the band also scheduled to appear at the Download Festival later this year, it's clear that this tour will certainly boost their profile.
Masses of a Dying Breed
Day By Day
Miss May I are:
Levi Benton – Lead Vocals
Justin Aufdemkampe - Lead Guitar
B.J. Stead - Rhythm Guitar
Ryan Neff - Bass Guitar/Clean Vocals
Jerod Boyd - Drums
Miss May I Online:
Official Website: http://missmayimusic.com
After Miss May I's gear was pulled from the stage, the unwrapping of Trivium's equipment began in earnest and seemed to take the best part of thirty minutes, so the audience were expecting a 'show' as opposed to a performance and I don't think anyone was disappointed with the outcome.
The shouts of "Trivium, Trivium" started a good ten minutes before the house lights went down, at which point the anticipation was tangible. The crowd were (literally) packed into the venue and there was a marked difference in the audience numbers compared to the first couple of bands. With the dry ice filtering across the stage, the house lights dimmed to huge applause that only seemed to grow in volume as the intro music started and drummer Nick Augusto stepped onto the stage.
Huge plumes of smoke finally announced the arrival of the band on stage and 'Brave This Storm' kicked off proceedings. Bass player Paolo Gregoletto uses his ego-ramp early on encouraging his side of the audience to get involved whilst Augusto sits atop his drum riser keeping time like a metronome.
The first crowd surfers make a bid for freedom only to be caught by security who are trying grab the surfers whilst also trying to avoid getting in the way of the small band of photographers lodged between the stage and the audience barrier.
Trivium are, of course, touring on the back of their latest album, 'Vengeance Falls' which was released in October 2013, and there's a generous amount of new tracks on show here. Especially worthy of note was the early inclusion in the set of 'No Way To Heal', which has main man Matt Heafy and guitarist Corey Beaulieu almost having a face off on their respective podiums which are placed on either side of the stage while Augusto pounds his drum kit into submission.
The dry ice makes an appearance as the strobe lights burst into life giving the feel of a proper stage show. Another new number, 'Strife' sees an immediate increase in the number of crowd surfers as the band put on a monumental performance – and one of my favourite songs of the night.
It's almost a shame seeing the band in a venue so small when the band are capable of selling out a larger venue on their own merits, but the advantage here is that you get so close to the band that you don't miss a single thing from their performance.
'A Gunshot To The Head Of Trepidation' has the heads of those seated upstairs bobbing away while downstairs becomes a jumping mass as Beaulieu and Gregoletto prowl the stage trying to elicit a response from every single person they can catch sight of. A killer guitar solo from Beaulieu seals the deal with this one, making it another surefire favourite of the night.
The intro to 'Shogun' slows the pace slightly before the main riff kicks in and the crowd are both surprised and delighted as bubbles fall from the lightining rack to cover both them and the band – theatrics are something that Trivium do very well and this is certainly the most inventive stage set that I've seen them utilise.
An abudance of powerful generators blast more plumes of smoke into the air at various points during the bands set too, making for a very dramatic set overall.
No-one of course, could forget the 'In Waves' album and the audience are treated to the title track towards the end of the set before finishing on a high with 'Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr'. This may have been a double headline tour with Killswitch Engage, but in reflection this was Trivium's night and no-one else on that stage could take that away from them.
This was a truly great performance from a band who are surely destined to headline the biggest and the best music festivals all over the world – something to look forward to, then.
Brave This Storm
Like Light to the Flies
No Way To Heal
Shattering The Skies Above
Through Blood And Dirt And Bone
A Gunshot To The Head Of Trepidation
Down From The Sky
Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr
Matt Heafy – Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
Corey Beaulieu – Lead Guitar,/Backing Vocals
Paolo Gregoletto – Bass Guitar/Backing Vocals
Nick Augusto – Drums
Official Website: http://www.trivium.org
After the supreme performance by Trivium, Killswitch Engage were always going to have a hard time to better it, but with the clock hitting ten, they hit the stage with power and professionalism that they are renowned for.
Their intro music of Survivor's 'Eye Of The Tiger' caught the crowd slightly off guard but they were quick enough to join in as the band finally took to the stage. Straightway, vocalist Jesse Leach raises his hands to acknowledge the roar from the audience as he takes to a Glasgow stage with the band for the first time in over a decade.
There was no messing about, though, as the band got straight down to business with 'A Bid Farewell' bathed, as they were, in red light as white searchlights dotted all over the stage rose and fell, lighting every single corner of the venue. Lead guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz bounced happily from one side of the stage to the other as the first crowd surfers made a break for it. The bouncers situated between the crowd and the band certainly earned their wages from this gig.
The fast and frantic intro to 'This Is Absolution' allows the crowd to sing along before they switch from hands in the air mode to head banging mode in a split second. The slower middle section is just sublime before the track picks up the pace once more, and the lighting engineer goes into overdrive with a succession of blue, yellow and green lights interchanging giving the song (and the venue) a unique atmosphere.
There is a bit of entertaining inter-song chat from Leach who admits that he's not been to Scotland for a while and does miss it – cue much reminiscing on his part about the last time he was in Glasgow where he ended up buying his Clan tartan (the McCulloch clan it transpires) on his previous tour with the band back in 2002 and he does sound genuinely thrilled to be back in the city and with the band.
There are two guys in tuxedos down towards the front who also provide some amusement for Leach as he tries to work out exactly why they're dressed like that – we never really did find out though!
With the comedy elements done and dusted, the band return to the serious business and pull out a killer performance of 'Rose of Sharyn' while 'Rise Inside' with its epic guitar intro is a surefire crowd pleaser. Leach uses literally ever inch of the stage even the large empty area behind the drummer, Justin Foley, who doesn't hit a wrong beat all night and seems to be thoroughly enjoying the performance.
There's no let up as the band tear through 'Fixation on the Darkness' and 'My Last Serenade' with guitarist Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel too, running from side to side across the stage in unison with increased regularity, showing that it's not just Leach who's having a great deal of fun and this enthusiasm transfers easily enough to the audience who seem to get more and more wild as the set continues.
Interestingly, however, none of the tracks performed tonight are taken from 2009's self titled album, which is a shame as there are some genuniely good tracks on it, but what the band did perform was done to the best of their abilities. As with all things, however, the set came to an eventual end with 'My Curse' as the crowd show their appreciation for what was a great performance from Killswitch Engage, but on the night they were beaten to the post by a superior set from Trivium.
A Bid Farewell
This Is Absolution
The New Awakening
The Arms of Sorrow
This Fire Burns
Beyond the Flames
Rose of Sharyn
Fixation on the Darkness
My Last Serenade
In Due Time
The End of Heartache
Killswitch Engage are:
Jesse Leach – Vocals
Adam Dutkiewicz – Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals
Joel Stroetzel – Rhythm Guitar
Mike D'Antonio – Bass Guitar
Justin Foley – Drums
Killswitch Engage Online:
Official Website: http://www.killswitchengage.com
Killswitch Engage photos - (c) Gary Wolstenholme. All other photos by Carlan Braid.