Traveling into London all the way from Hicksville, Kent (on a Sunday evening) meant that I sadly arrived at the Islington O2 Academy too late to catch Apologies, I Have None.
However the venue already held a respectable amount of people, and listening to the conversations taking place it seems that Apologies, I Have None were very well received.
I have since checked them out (as I was not aware of them before the show) and I’m gutted to have missed them. I must also applaud BoySetsFire for taking some home grown talent on the road with them, and the diversity in sound of the three bands on the bill proves that hardcore is anything but a one dimensional genre.
Bane have been around since the mid ’90s and their sound is typically old-school, not that this is a bad thing – they certainly had a dedicated following in attendance tonight.
Singer Aaron Bedard at first seemed daunted by playing on a high stage behind a barrier, and for the first half of the set he paced about like an agitated beast, before climbing down into the pit and performing the rest of their set leaning over the barrier, sharing vocal duties with most of the first few rows. This also seemed to give the band more space to jump about the stage.
I swear the guitarists spent more time in the air than with their feet on the ground! I have not been to too many hardcore shows over the last few years, but there is always an energy and vibe that is often missing from other genres of heavy music, so it was good to feel it again.
BoySetsFire kicked off their set off with the call to arms of Rise, Rise from After The Eulogy. The room was heaving from the start, and the band quickly followed their opener up with Requiem and Release The Dogs.
It’s a brave move starting out with three songs that could have just as easily been the crowd-pleasing encore, especially when they are here promoting a new album that people may not be that familiar with yet. But the newer tracks went down equally well. The band seem very comfortable together, joking with each other between song and ‘chatting up’ the girls in the front row.
Frontman Nathan Gray has become a great centrepiece for the band, even though he doesn’t regard himself as “much of a rockstar.” His vocals are perfect, going from pitch perfect ‘clean’ singing to throat wrenching anger and back again in a heartbeat. Most similar bands would need two vocalists – and still not pull this off as well as he does.
One thing I noticed when I arrived tonight was the amount of couples at this show, but watching the dynamics of the crowd throughout the set, it occurred to me that BoySetsFire really do have something for everyone. During the heavier stuff you see the boys nodding their heads and then during the more emo (yep I said it) moments, especially My Life In The Knife Trade and Handful Of Redemption all the girlfriends hold on to their fellas’ arms that little bit tighter and nuzzle in that little bit closer.
I think this really shows the breadth of BoySetsFire appeal and this can only be a good thing. As I wrote in my recent review of their latest album While A Nation Sleeps these ‘Boys’ really should be playing to the masses at much larger venues, and if this “comeback” is anything to go by, they could very well get there. Soon.