With five bands on the bill (none of which were local supports tacked onto the lineup by the venue or promoter – all five bands were actually touring together!) things were inevitably not going to run on time, so it was probably a surprise to absolutely nobody when the door time and subsequently our interview with The Agonist wound up being pushed back until later.
It was unfortunately the case that by the time the interview had taken place, the opening band GrandExit had already taken to the stage, but thankfully we only missed a few songs. They were alright enough and the music weren’t bad but they just didn’t stand out, which isn’t a great quality to have when you’re the opener on a lineup as long as this one.
Up next was Australia’s Dawn Heist, who were a breath of fresh air with their unique sound, which consisted of played-in synth/keyboard lines mixed up with massive and heavy riffs. Their frontman, Pat, was fantastic and really got the crowd going – by the time their set drew to a close, there had even been a few circle pits! They were a fun and engaging live band, and were really enjoyable to watch.
The third (or alternatively, “middle”) band on the bill was the awesome Mors Principium Est, who stole the show and were on fire for the entire duration. The whole front line of the band were constantly headbanging in tandem with one another – which is no mean feat! – and you couldn’t help but want to join in! With frontman Ville introducing them as a band that played dance music, it got a few laughs from the crowd and it continued that way throughout the rest of their set as various members of the band bantered with the crowd between songs. It’s always more enjoyable when a band is out to have fun.
In all honesty, Mors Principium Est had the crowd eating out of their hands from start to finish, and they arguably got the best reception of the night because there was a lot of movement from start to finish – and it only seems fair, as they put on an extremely tight performance as well as having a laugh with the crowd. If we still scored bands individually, they’d have been a good solid 9 for sure – or maybe even a 10! Best band of the night for sure.
Threat Signal, the penultimate band, were up next and at first they were pretty good. They had a wonderfully charismatic frontman who seemed to make it his life’s mission to constantly interact with the band’s drummer and it was amusing to watch him go round hitting and spinning cymbals to say the least! Unfortunately, their set did seem to drag due to the sheer length of it and some of the songs seemed to sound incredibly similar to one another, so it wound up feeling like they were onstage for eternity and I found myself feeling a little miffed that Mors Principium Est and Dawn Heist didn’t get longer when Threat Signal must have had about an hour-long set in comparison to their half-hour sets.
It was already getting quite late into the night when headliners The Agonist took to the stage, but they livened things up by kicking things off with one of their best songs, You’re Coming With Me, from their most recent album Prisoners, with a good chunk of the crowd getting involved and singing along to the chorus.
The Agonist played a set which was a good mix of all three of their albums and it was a particular highlight to see Born Dead; Buried Alive and The Escape was another fantastic inclusion.
The only real problem seemed to be the band’s lack of stage presence, as they just seemed to stand in one place and perform, with frontwoman Alissa just remaining in one section of the stage and just tending to introduce each song rather than getting a little more crowd involvement and engaging a little more with audience members. Maybe they were just tired from their journey from Paris the day before, but it was a little disappointing that they weren’t just a little more engaging. It was, however, a good and solid performance with each and every song well-played and accompanied with perfectly-punctuated vocals from Alissa.
They closed with Business Suits And Combat Boots to roars of cheers from the room, and it can definitely be said that The Agonist went down an absolute treat. It’s a shame the performance let them down a little, and the show would have probably been a little better if there hadn’t been such a vast amount of bands playing, but it was still a great night all the same.