Last week saw me heading just down the road to the Electric Ballroom for the Veil of Maya, The Devil Wears Prada and August Burns Red. Now I’ll be the first to admit that this is not my favourite live venue as I find the sound can be a bit hit and miss, especially if you watch the stage from the upper level. Why would you do that you may ask….well, I’m 5”3 so sometimes it’s a necessity if I want to watch a show through something other than the person in front of me’s camera phone. However, I have to say that this night, they got it spot on, even all the way at the back. Top work! I also have to say right at the start that this was by far one of the best gigs I have been to the whole year. At the end of this gig I would happily have been shoved into a Groundhog Day life and repeated this evening time and time again.
Up first were the Veil of Maya who obviously had a following in the crowd; a crowd who were clearly determined to go mental for metal. Not one to disappoint, they got right on it and straight in your face – staying there all the way through their set. Their singer, Brandon Butler, stood at the front with an ‘I own this stage’ attitude with the bass and guitarist playing with a focussed determination. The opening song brought out the venom immediately and almost as soon as he opened his mouth to scream the nights first pit kicked off. The crowd were definitely up for more of this and with encouragement from the stage later on managed a passable wall of death. So far this was turning out to be a rather loud, in your face night and as bands tend to get better as the bill goes on, I was suitably happy at this stage. If you like things on the more gentle side vocally then you may not be overly keen on this band, but those that were there were in the mood for growls and loudness; so it was a perfect pairing all round. If you get a chance, go and see this band!
Up next was The Devil Wears Prada and as most of those present seemed to have been put in grow bags till they were a ridiculous height, I headed upstairs to the back for a better view (or ‘a’ view). I wasn’t overly happy at first as I’ve said the sound in the venue can be hit and miss, but tonight they managed to create the front of stage feeling all the way to the back. Though my fellow upstairs’ers were not exactly going mental, I didn’t feel that I’d lost any of the atmosphere and was 100% drawn into the performance as TDWP gets onto the stage. More melodic in a way with keys and additional vocals, TDWP is also heavier at the same time with the drums and guitars keeping it mean.
I was seriously impressed with this band even from the first couple of songs. I still cannot believe I hadn’t been to see this band before this night. Mike Hranica has a great stage presence, staying close to the edge and interacting with the crowd in a way that says ‘we’re all at this gig together’ just as if he was standing at the front facing the stage with the rest of them. I struggle to write a massive description of what their set was like as I was far to mesmerised by everything to take much note of anything except how much I as enjoying this set. TDWP had the crowd in total control and you could see the anticipation during each song as they waited for the signal to go mad. There was no shortage of moshing or head banging during this set and even though I didn’t know the songs, I also found myself completely sucked in to anticipating those moments just as much as those at the front. Though I by far prefer being right at the front, I would not have given up my view that night for anything. Watching that many people go mad is a beautiful sight indeed. I got to see a mosh pit switch to head banging in unison – perfect choreography. It was also good to see the band looking like they had also been through a fantastic gig, with Mike’s shirt being completely soaked through by the time they played ‘Mammoth’ (check out their latest video for this) – so much so he didn’t want to take it with him off stage and threw it away.
Born To Lose
After this set I could easily have gone home a very happy gig go’er, but there was one more band to come. Now I do remember saying to my mate that there was absolutely no way whatever band came on afterwards could ever top that performance which was definitely one of the best I’d see in quite some time. All I can say is it was a damn good job I didn’t bet any money on that as I was wrong. August Burns Red knew they are the headliners and revved the crowd up even further to the menacing tones of…Rozalla’s ‘Everybody’s Free’. Yes, not one I was expecting to hear either, but this was soon blasted away as the band started to play with their ‘you will fucking listen to this’ style.
Again this is a hard band vocally and more mature sounding in this way than their predecessors, with the drummer clearly knowing his shit from the way he was smashing those drums. The crowd were well and truly warmed up by the time this band hit the stage and they went crazy throughout the set. Which was not hard as the songs mixed up speed with slower, heavier parts – so heavy in fact that my pint kept making bids for freedom as the beat from the speakers kept moving it off the shelf. The performance was so fluid and tight that it can be hard to distinguish any one thing that was especially good as it was all good! From the drums, to the guitars, bass, lead and backing vocals, everything about this performance made me very happy.
I was not the only one thoroughly enjoying the night from the sight of the brutality that was going on in the crowd from the jumping, moshing, head banging and just general all out going for it. Towards the end of the set there was the obligatory drum solo – though solo is not the word this time as down goes the bass to be replaced with another set of drums – only for them to then swap places. Two drums and two great drummers equals one even happier reviewer.
The set ended soon after this much to everyone’s disappointment, but as gigs must, even this one had to end at some point. If anyone out there has a time machine, then please send me back to the start of that evening as I would love to do it all over again. A 100% fantastic night of metal!
The Eleventh Hour
Cutting the Ties
Ocean of Apathy
Salt & Light
To see the photo galleries from this gig click here