Grey skies shroud the Birmingham skyline which has been saturated by rain for days, as roadies load various bands gear into the back of the O2 Academy in Birmingham the temperature drops and snow starts to fall. An early in the year tour rolls into the city tonight as 36 Crazyfists are in town. A few flakes of snow won't stop these hardy Alaskans though, they are used to much worse than an moist English snow flurry.
The third of four nights on a sold out UK tour sees them take on a small Birmingham venue packed to the rafters and hails the success the band are finding after twenty four years of hard graft.
Early doors tonight allows a local support act in Failure is an Option to grace the stage, the extremely youthful six piece producing a mix of nu-metal and metalcore. Whilst some members look a little nervous on stage that doesn't come through in their solid performance. Brandon Hart the most confident of the group really displaying what this band could become given a little more quality stage time.
Second act and openers for the whole UK tour are '68 a two piece ensemble who you may not have heard of before. They produce what can only be described as the wildest cacophony of sound I have ever heard, to the point of blowing me away. An intense half an hour where the energetic pair with a drum kit and a solitary guitar destroyed the room with a wall of sound. Imaging Royal Blood crossed with tonight's headliners and you have a pretty good picture of what you get. A psychotic stage performance of unadulterated energy and angst in what for me was the best set
of the evening.
With the crowd quite literally blown away by '68, All Hail The Yeti have a hard act to follow, but the well established group take it all in their stride. The old school biker vibe they give off hints of a Zakk Wylde influence, but Black Label Society these are not! The metalcore outfit with their chunky riffs and big choruses perfectly compliment the headliners in the line up, and to be honest are on the verge of overshadowing them. The stage presence and vocal girth of front man Connor Garrity the perfect antidote to a cold wet English evening, as sweaty men and women alike writhe in the pit. A short but very sweet 45 minute set is rounded out with a cameo from 36 Crazyfists frontman Brock Lindlow, and as the saying goes "the crowd went wild".
Tonight's main event take it up another level, the Alaskan hardmen with a career nearing the quarter century mark have put the hard slog in to get to the point of a sell out UK tour. And this room is more than sold out, its full to the point of bursting, which can only mean one thing, when their set kicks off things are going to go insane!
Opening with Death Eater from their latest album, Lanterns, they mean business the anthemic hardcore vibrance with the raging riffs of the metal core sound, drinks go flying and limbs flailing as the crowd laps it up. A good third of tonight's set is made up of new material, showing the confidence the band has in its progression.
But its not all new work, the set is littered with classics, At The End of August, We Gave It Hell and Time and Trauma. All highlighting the old school flavour of the band, nu-metal groove laden riffs, scream ridden vocals and throbbing vibrant bass lines. Just what we have come to expect. An interesting rendition of Alice In Chains classic We Die Young kick starts the encore that is rounded out by their debut masterpeice Eightminutesupsidedown.A great way to start a dreary year so far.