A great night of Heavy Metal in its various genres at the brilliant Devil’s Dog in Digbeth, Birmingham saw Of Virtue, RXPTRS, Colosseums and Second Cities thoroughly entertain. The only shame was venue could have been fuller.
Of Virtue, RXPTRS, Colosseums and Second Cities
Devils Dog, Birmingham – 9 July 2023
Words and Photography: Andy Shaw
Headliners tonight are the vastly underrated Of Virtue from Michigan. This was the last night of their foray into Europe. Their set is made up from tracks from their last album, What Defines You and Omen, their new album due out in September.
Of Virtue kicked off with new tracks, Hypocrite and Cannibals, which are really powerful tracks and wonderfully highlight this band as brilliant exponents of Metalcore.
Vocalist Tyler Ennis is excellent and even takes time for a quick mid-set selfie with someone in the crowd. Next is the new single Cut Me Open, followed by Cold Blooded with vocals shared with guitarist Damon Tate who perfectly compliments Ennis’ rasping vocals.
A.N.X.I.E.T.Y. followed, then it’s into No Control and Suffer. The bijou crowd loved the set, which finishes with Alone then Sinner, where their powerhouse of guitarist Michael Valadez and drummer Kyle Pruehs came to the fore.
Of Virtue come back for an encore of Thanks For Nothing and Surrounded, capping a fabulous set and a brilliant evening.
Fresh from a set at the 2000 Trees festival, RXPTRS provided the main support tonight. However, they were missing guitarist Ian Chadderton due to a family emergency but decided to plough on regardless with their set, and I am glad they did.
Starting with Burning Pages from their Living Without Death’s Permission album, frontman Simon Roach was straight into his trademark energetic performance. Demons In My Headphones was next, followed by a slightly older track ROT, with the rest of the band, guitarist Harley Watson, Bassist Sam Leworthy and drummer Mat Capper making up for the loss of Chadderton.
New single, The World On My Tongue, followed, which is a really powerful track live with Roach, at one point, on his knees, then lying prone on the stage, absolutely giving it everything.
A bit of crowd participation during The Frail then their fantastic set ended with You Me And The Devil Make Three. Despite being slightly hampered by the reduction to a quartet, this was a storming performance.
Second on the bill were another local band, Colosseum, who started with their brilliant new track Designer Antichrist. With frontman Billy Douglas resplendent in a pink balaclava, these guys know how to dish out some excellent Metalcore.
Putrid was next, followed by the powerful Satanist with guitarist Charlie Newbury and bass player Will Mckeowns being a real powerhouse for Douglas’ excellent vocals.
Steezy, then Hate Myself went down really well with the crowd, then Jealousy and drummer Liam Bridgen was in flow. The brilliant set ended with Last Time I Cried, then the fantastic Neck Splitter.
Colosseums are a band that we will be seeing more of in the future.
First up was the local band Second Cities, who made a really strong start to the evening with their variety of emo Metalcore. Kicking off with Blur In Time, they immediately set out their stall for their short but sweet set.
The small but perfectly formed crowd loved it. Then they were into Friend Of Mine, followed by MSRY and Chewing Teeth. Frontman Jamie Martin showed his vocal dexterity and is the perfect foil for guitarist Tony Mac.
This marriage of styles was perfectly shown during the next track, Sacred.
By now, despite a few early technical problems, Second Cities were in full flow, with Martin loving his time on stage. The set ended with Like A Moth, Divide and Say Goodbye.
A great start to the evening, these guys are well worth seeing,