The ABC is crowded with an unusual audience as While She Sleeps and Cancer Bats roll into town. There’s the heavy metal fans, the ones I recognise from countless gigs in Glasgow and will see at countless more. There’s the scene kids, who travels in packs and who I may well have seen before, but blend into one giant blob of baseball caps and shorts. Then there’s the new folk, the people who look slightly out-of-place and aren’t really into heavy metal. However, they have come out tonight because bands like While She Sleeps are getting big and it is awesome to see.
Before we get to that however, a lot of those same people are scared shitless by Oathbreaker. This Belgian lot are not here for a chit-chat and they roar through their set. Lead singer Caro Tanghe spends the whole set hidden by her hair as she screams into the microphone. Behind her the sonic maelstrom kicked up by the band is at times completely inaccessible and yet also draws you in. These guys are good and even if there is a sizable portion of the crowd who just look bemused by proceedings, they are definitely one you should check out.
Hundreth don’t leave quite the same impression. Their melodic hardcore is never bad, but as I have said before, in the current scene just being good won’t get you anywhere. I’ve heard it before and I’m going to hear it again and on this night they didn’t do anything to make me want to go back for more. Despite this, they obviously have some fans in attendance, so it may well ring true for some.
After a tough year, While She Sleeps are back and judging by this performance are still kicking. Loz’s vocals haven’t been affected by the surgery and he’s a constantly engaging front man. What’s most important however, is just how good these songs are. The two punch of ‘This is the Six’ and ‘Seven Hills’ is devastating and sees a sea of crowd surfers descend on the security. The new stuff sits well too and ‘Brainwashed’ and ‘Our Legacy’ sound particularly great. ‘Our Courage Our Cancer’ has one of the biggest sing along’s of the night and closer ‘Four Walls’ already feels like a classic. In their one hour set While She Sleeps show why they are becoming one of British metals biggest bands and it’s a damn pleasure to watch.
In fact, you would be forgiven for forgetting there is still more to come tonight and some people do seem to leave following Sleeps set. All fool them though, because Cancer Bats are one of the best bands we have at the moment and even after the slightly subdued response to Searching for Zero (although I loved it) they are in fine form. The big Sabbath inspired riffs on the likes of ‘Bricks and Mortar’ shudder along besides Liam’s throat wrenching vocals. The heaviness of ‘Lucifer’s Rocking Chair’ and the brilliance of that Beastie Boys cover all just stand to prove that these guys are the real deal. ‘Hail Destroyer’ is still one of the best hardcore tracks written in recent years and Cancer Bats are just a near perfect live band.
More than anything else, tonight feels like a celebration of where our music is right now. Cancer Bats and While She Sleeps are bands that are set to sit at the top of our food chain for as long as they want to and if they keep putting on live shows like this, then we can all sit back and enjoy it.