Standing in the blistering cold, a teenager in a onesie was joined by a gaggle of excited gig goers, waiting for the gates to open. Once the doors opened and everyone shuffled inside quickly to get out from the cold, the atmosphere was electric already. Due to an illness in Texas In July, who were originally billed on the tour, London boys Polar stepped up to take their place in the line-up and they made sure that no regret was felt by the crowd.
Opening up the night were a relatively new band I only discovered a few weeks ago whose music video, "Embrace The Evil" has had me hooked ever since I watched it. Hailing from Italy, Upon This Dawning's intro was ominous and haunting as the stage was bathed in a dark red light. The band slowly slunk onto the stage and swayed, raring to go. Vocalist Daniele Nelli steps onto his platform and curls his hands and arms as if possessed by something demonic. Well they certainly know how to grab your attention early on. Their first song "13" rips open the floor and the crowd is surprisingly pumped for an opening band, but there is something about UTD that really captures your imagination.
Check out the song "Where The World Ends"
Whether it's their admission of being "really weird" or their incredibly theatrical performances, one thing's for sure, they put on one hell of a show. "Anima" follows and their stage presence continues to ignite passion and energy in the crowd. "Embrace The Evil" comes on and everyone, including myself, loses their minds. This being their most popular song, having recently released an exceptionally awesome video for it, the crowd wasted no time in showing the band they knew how they felt about it. After spitting about 3 mouthfuls of water into the crowd, most of which landed on me, UTD closed off their set with "A New Beginning" and "Obey," which featured the mother of all stomps, many of them, bass and guitar spins, jumps and general all around mania. Holy crap what an opener.
More Than A Thousand were on as the wailing sounds of a bomb siren goes off and the room is bathed into darkness once more. The siren is replaced by a slow heartbeat, which sets the crowd off who start chanting and cheering. MTA's vocalist Vasco Ramos looms onto the stage ferociously, his giant physique casting a terrifying shadow across the crowd. "London, my friends, what the fuck is up!" are his first words and the bodies below cheer. Opening up with "Feed The Caskets" and "Heist", the set starts off a little shaky and the vocals don't quite hit the right spot. They managed to pick up their paces though with "It's Alive" and "First Bite". Their final song was "No Bad Blood" which brought frontman Ramos crashing down on the crowd, his heavily shaped body throwing some monstrous shapes.
Replacement band, Polar, took to the stage next and amped up the energy and heat to a new level of mania. Being from London these guys obviously have a large fan base and so their replacing Texas In July, didn't appear to be met with sour feelings. Opening up with personal favourite, "Blood Lines", the room exploded into flashing lights and flying bodies. Vocalist Adam "Woody" Woodhouse jumps into the crowd and nearly gets dropped by the flailing arms beneath him. Eventually he pops back onto to the stage and makes a short speech about his apologies for Texas In July not being there and Polar being there instead. "Mountain Throne" breaks the somewhat quietened room apart but then the energy begins to falter again with "Black Days" and "Glass Cutter". This may well be down to the fact that Polar were so late to the billing that the enthusiasm wasn't as hectic as they had hoped it to be. No matter though as their final song "H.E.L.L" was sung with such passion and ferocity it made up for the somewhat lacklustre set I'd just seen.
Finally Betraying The Martyrs come on, and the room suddenly doubles in numbers. All the bodies are pushing to the front and the room shakes so much that water from the AC drips down dangerously onto the floor. Playing all their most popular songs definitely got the crowd going, but nothing could have prepared anyone for the "Let It Go" cover, which drew the biggest response from the crowd. Now I don't know if that's something that should reflect badly on the band as more people knew the words to the Disney song rather than their own songs, but all I can say is it was one of the highlights of the evening for everyone. Their light show was flashy enough to induce an epileptic fit, one or two bodies flew to the ground in a ferocious circle pit and one poor soul ended up with a busted nose. A successful end to the night one might say!