I was optimistic about this gig as I listen to the bands records most days and couldn’t wait to hear some of my favourite songs of the early 2000’s. As with all bands that have been hard at it for 14 years things change, was this going to be for the better?
The band came straight out the gate with "Pencil Pusher" from the new album Chapter & Verse. This brought solid, punchy riffs with determined vocals from Matthew Davies-Kreye. The second track "High Castles", from 2013 offering Conduit, was met with an equally positive crowd reaction, even though it lacked the spark you would expect from a band playing their more current material.
The appreciation that the band felt for such a large turn out and great crowd reaction was shown in Davies-Kreye thanking everyone for coming out on a Sunday, at most breaks in the set, as well as throwing in some interesting and informative views on the current and impending political situation. This wasn’t at any time preachy or pushy but a little awkward and I personally would have preferred to hear another tune.
You could have been fooled into thinking the night would fall into a mix of new tracks, that punters weren’t too familiar with, and pauses for political refection, but the venue drew a deep breath as the first notes of "Bend Your Arms to Look Like Wings" rang out which quickly descended into a full on pit as the band dropped the tune. By this time the heat started to build in the room along with the cheers, as the Welsh screamo-hardcore troop followed with "Storytelling".
There was a real buzz in the room as Davies-Kreye’s vocals, were by this time, being delivered from leaning halfway over the pit. It was as if he was singing right at each and every one in the room personally. It was unclear if the loss of Kris Coombs-Roberts voice was the reason for Davies-Kreye to push his vocal, but it did seem a little stretched at times. But what it did lack, he made up for in willingness to please, as classics like "Escape Artist Never Die" and "Roses for the Dead" blasted out and had the crowd screaming every word.
The band were technically brilliant, but noticeably it was drummer Casey McHale who really shone, bringing a real natural energy to songs like "1%" which worked really well in a live set. After this beautiful onslaught of epic songs, a fantastically tight, Funeral for a Friend returned our vital organs and left the walls dripping with sweat and people bursting out of the venue.
Cracking night had by all new fans and old.
Check out the song "You've Got A Bad Case Of The Religions"