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Alien Ant Farm/Soil/Local H: O2 Academy, Bristol

Words: Craig Huntley, Pictures: Louis Du Toit
4th March 2018

alien ant farm

Alien Ant Farm had it all at the start of the century, hit albums with hit singles, most commonly known for a Michael Jackson cover of 'Smooth Criminal' and the Mr Miyagi starring 'Movies' video.

Over the last 10 years, the hits have dried up but the fan adoration and tours have not. With their last album released in 2015, the band are touring the UK and Ireland to remind their fanbase they are alive and well.

Opening the night are post-grunge stalwarts Local H who have been around since 1987. With nothing left to prove and opening with 'All Right (Oh Yeah)' their set, although short and sweet, is a quick blast through their vast back catalogue. For a band who are over 30 years old, they still have thechops to get the crowd moving on a wet Tuesday evening.

Soil, on the other hand have been around a little less having formed in 1997 and getting their first (and only) major hit in the heavy as hell 'Halo' which they played like it was the first time tonight.

alien ant farm

Lead Singer Ryan McCombs having joined, left, then re-joined in recent years has a thunderous voice as the rest of the band stalk the stage around him.

'The Hate Song' and 'Unreal' from the set are particular highlights. It's a shame that capitalising on the success of 'Halo' has been such a struggle for these hard-working Chicago rockers. Tonight they showed that they are still hungry and a band with much to offer the discerning Metal fan.

Alien Ant Farm, having not had an album out since 2015's 'Always and Forever', decide to do an almost greatest hits set from across their discography. Dryden Mitchell can still hold the audience in the palm of his hand as he stalks the stage like his life depended on it.

Playing 'Movies' early in their set is a masterstroke as the crowd are clearly waiting for the more well-known songs, so once that's out of the way they can let the setlist breathe a bit with newer songs.

alien ant farm

Including a portion of 'In The End' by Linkin Park in 'Attitude' after Mitchell tells the crowd that it was Chester Bennington's favourite AAF song is a nice, although heart-breaking moment.

Come encore time, the band return to the stage for a breakneck version of 'Smooth Criminal' to end the show. Alien AntFarm may have been forgotten by the masses but the hardcore fans crammed into the Bristol O2 Academy have had the best of nights.


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