Gig Review by Kirsty Hillyer with Gig Photos by Lee Allen

Cancer Bats

Oathbreaker are the anomaly on tonight’s bill. I have to admit the genre ‘blackened hardcore’ is a new one on me but their unrelenting set certainly ticks the former description. For those of you, that like me are new to this sub-genre then expect a dirge of doom and melancholy. A section of the crowd is chanting indecipherably as they enter. The sound is all over the place in their opening track, and whilst it improves, the quality throughout the evening isn’t great. However, it is the first night of the tour so fingers crossed it improves.

Oathbreaker

Oathbreaker

Oathbreaker

Oathbreaker

Oathbreaker

This is a band that couldn’t really care less that there are people in the room. Hailing from Belgium their front woman, Caro, hides behind a waterfall of hair and they provide no crowd interaction or conversation on any level. Is it a sweat catcher? Crowd defense mechanism? A disguise? Whilst they have very shiny, long, locks there needs to be something a little more than their performance being about the hair for me. Hardcore as a genre requires an engagement and connection through emotion, eye contact and facial expressions. I love the film ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ but I felt like I was enduring their interpretative soundtrack and it felt draining before the night even got started.

Hundredth

Hundredth

Hundredth

Hundredth

Hundredth

With a good amount of support in the crowd, Hundredth were up next. These guys are more of a straight up hardcore offering, from South Carolina, USA.  Complete with mic swinging, water spraying, guitar spins and high kicks, these guys put on a show. The pit opens up instantly and the Kung-Fu action is in full effect. Providing the first shout outs to the co-headliners and ramping up the energy in the room. By the last song singer, Chadwick Johnson, Is in the middle of the pit with a Kung-Fu congregation primed to worship at the alter of While She Sleeps.

While She Sleeps

While She Sleeps

While She Sleeps

While She Sleeps

While She Sleeps

The majority of early doors queuers were here for While She Sleeps, which is why I’m surprised they aren’t ending the bill tonight. Whilst I’m here for Cancer Bats they have always notoriously undersold Birmingham dates and have a more mixed crowd. The divide is clear as the static sidelines are awash with Cancer Bat tees whilst the main floor is a younger crowd starting the cheers and chanting early for these Sheffield boys.

Whilst I’ve never been a fan of these guys (their music videos last 30 seconds max whilst I remember who it is and swiftly channel hop) they killed it tonight. After a slow start this evening there is a sea of moshing bodies, crowd surfers and lead vocalist Lawrence Taylor is high fiving them as they pass over the barrier. Opening with The Divide/New World Torture of their latest album ‘Brainwashed’, they certainly picked the right album title for enthrall woven over this crowd.

As the circle pit opens up Lawrence is promptly in the pit leaning into the crowd as he declares this ‘The best welcome back we’ve ever had’. This was a ‘Brainwashed’ heavy set, except for ‘Crows’ off their debut album ‘The North Stands for Nothing’ and a few off ‘This is the Six’, including the title track.

Cancer Bats

Cancer Bats

Cancer Bats

Cancer Bats

Cancer Bats

With an awesome crowd and band rapport this set was always going to be a tough call to beat by Cancer Bats. Sadly as the crowd shift rotation occurred, a good third of the crowd had left the building, hopefully the remainder of the ‘While She Sleeps’ fans are now C.B converts.

Even if you aren’t a fan of Cancer Bats you have to concede that these guys know how to put on a show. They enjoy what they do and they take time hanging out with fans in the smoking area prior to their set. The interlude music of Andrew WK fits perfect for these guys to enter the stage.

They open with ‘Arsenic in the Year of the Snake’ off their new album ‘Searching for Zero’ with guitarist Scott Wilkinson shredding the intro, solo on stage. As they rest of the band kick in the sound is the best it’s been all night. They start as they mean to go on as bassist Jaye R. Schwarzer is promptly on the speaker stacks.

The set is the perfect mix of album favourites, the singles and a quarter of the set providing a good healthy dose of the new album. They, of course, played ‘Sabotage’ and being renowned for their Black Sabbath sets it would have been rude not to end the night with a ‘War Pigs’ cover. Cancer Bats are a bunch of guys who know how to have fun on stage and deliver a great set. There is nothing worse than seeing an apathetic band going through the motions, these guys will never be in danger of that. Completely underrated, show them more love people.

See the complete Photo set by Lee here.

One Response to “Cancer Bats + While She Sleeps + Hundredth + Oathbreaker at The Institute, Birmingham, UK – 22nd April 2015”

  1. Gig Junkies » Blog Archive » Cancer Bats + Lord Dying + Palm Reader + Incite at The o2 Academy 2, Birmingham, UK – 22nd January 2016 Says:

    […] last seen the Cancer Bats on a joint headline tour with ‘While She Sleeps’ it’s great to see them perform to a united front. Joint headline […]

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