I have to admit that I generally prefer smaller shows. Aside from the ticket prices being cheaper, there’s also an intimate atmosphere in the room which I really love. This, however, was not the case with Hatebreed at the Solus – being one of the few bigger shows I’ve really enjoyed as of late.
Opening band Demoraliser (8/10) got things off to an extremely energetic start. Putting on an incredibly tight performance, I really was blown away by the quality of their live show. The rhythm of their music was perfect to bang my head along to and they went from strength to strength as they continued, not a bad song in the mix! Frontman James moved about the stage with a sheer ferocity as he belted out the lyrics and put his heart and soul into the words he was screaming, which is really great to see in a singer. If you arrived late and didn’t see these, then you missed out big-time.
The second support band, Black Dogs (8/10), were another fantastic band. Showing us that they were a band that thrived on playing gigs, they played a wonderfully noisy mix of tunes, and frequently tried to get the crowd involved with singer Gollo actually jumping down to the barrier on a few occasions! It was very interesting to hear back stories behind the songs – I particularly liked hearing about the song which was for people who knew someone they “hated so much, it makes their blood boil”. It was an overall energetic show, with Gollo at one point actually pulling a cymbal from a stand to hit with his mike before chucking it to the ground! Sometimes it was difficult to know where to look as the four-piece played a captivating set.
Something I wish to make a brief note of is the often lack of enthusiasm for support bands at shows, which was sadly the case for both bands at this gig. This sort of attitude bugs me a little, as it takes barely no effort to move about or even just get closer to the stage. If a band plays good music and puts on a good show, it only seems fair to show your appreciation rather than just milling about at the back of the room before finally getting it together to move about and support the headliner!
It was then time for the mighty Hatebreed (9/10), who got things going with a well-received rendition of To The Threshold. The amount of energy this band has is tremendous and one of my favourite things about this band is vocalist Jamey’s vocal style – his anger and yelling is second to none and the sheer amount of emotion he puts into his vocals is phenomenal.
This is truly a band that live for each show they play and really caring about their fans enjoying themselves. After admitting that they’d turned down a slot at the Revolver Golden Gods awards (with Metallica on the bill, amongst others!) in order to play a UK tour, the announcement was met with raucous cheers and rightly so – the band’s last visit to South Wales was in 2010 when they were supporting Machine Head in Newport, so it had been a while. Jamey also told the crowd they wanted to make sure everyone who didn’t come to the show missed out, as they were going to play material from every album, and to the band’s absolute credit, tried to fit as many songs into their performance as possible and promising to play right up to the curfew – and at one point even taking a request from the crowd! This is what you call dedication to fans!
One nice touch was the dedication of their track Last Breath to recently departed Deftones bassist, Chi Cheng, who the band once toured with several years ago. It was a nice tribute to him, with a lot of emotion behind it.
In Ashes They Shall Reap was a particular high point, with everyone in the crowd screaming along at the top of their lungs and the mosh pit going crazy with movement. I’ve always found this track to come across better live, due to the feverish crowd participation and the strong driving force from the whole band and this was definitely the case at Cardiff as well. The set ended with crowd favourite (and rather aptly titled) Destroy Everything, and the room exploded with energy from everyone as they knew it could be their last chance for a while to see the band, due to their busy tour schedule.
All in all, a fantastic night with some great bands on the bill. It really was refreshing to finally see Hatebreed play a headline slot, as they truly revelled in the strong reception they got. Hopefully it won’t be too long before they’re back on UK shores once more!