Bullet For My Valentine – Killswitch Engage – Cane Hill
It was a cold, brisk walk of excitement along Eglinton Street to the O2 Academy to see Bullet For My Valentine, Killswitch Engage and Cane Hill. When I first saw this line-up announced I did a double-take. It couldn’t be possible… this was a massive line-up. Bullet For My Valentine and Killswitch Engage are two headliner acts in themselves… and with Cane Hill thrown in there too, I knew this show was one not to miss.
I found a nice spot at the back of the standing area with a good view of the whole stage for Cane Hill. The lights dimmed, and the New Orleans based aggressive metal up-and-comers appeared through the smoke. As soon as they came on they got straight to it, heavy as fuck. I had become a fan since hearing ‘Time Bomb’, and had a rough idea of how I’d expect them to be live. They didn’t disappoint in the least. They were fucking crushing, and I found their don’t-give-a-shit attitude refreshing – dark, and heavy, with a touch of psychopathic tendencies. Their stage presence was impressive too, with a lot of movement all round… windmilling, foot stomping and thrashy turns. Sadly, the venue wasn’t at full capacity, and were a little cold to start, but Cane Hill managed to overcome the staleness of the crowd, completely unperturbed. Within four songs, the mosh pits and crowd surfers appeared. There was also a brief moment where Elijah Witt brought up where they came from, “…the worst country in the world, America“, then proceeded to discuss Donald Trump and started a chant “fuck Trump, fuck Trump“, which the crowd participated in keenly. Cane Hill… I fucking loved them! They were exactly what I expected and hoped to see from them. They sounded huge, and put on a real show. I can’t wait until they’re back in the UK again… but as headliners.
I made a quick pit stop at the bar before Killswitch Engage’s set began. The venue was filling up a lot more by this point. Obviously, a lot of fans there for Killswitch Engage. I managed to grab a spot at the very front, with a nice clear view. Perfect.
The stage went dark, spotlights appeared, and then the mighty American metal titans took to the stage. They opened with ‘I Stand Alone’, and with the first riff, the crowd were at full-swing. Mosh pits, singing, horns, and crowd surfing! I’ve seen Killswitch Engage before, back in 2009 at Download Festival, so I already knew what I’d be in for. Having said that, Howard Jones was vocalist back then. This was my first time seeing Jesse Leach in the flesh and how he preformed. What can I say? Was there anything bad about this set? Absolutely fuck all! Killswitch Engage are at the top of their game. They’re an absolute pleasure to see. The whole band were so energetic, thriving off of the feedback from the crowd, and dishing it right back! Jesse pointed out how glad he was to be back in Scotland, as he has Scottish roots. He admitted he loves Glasgow, “It feels good to be home. Fucking cheers guys!” and took a swig of his drink. Going on to play ‘My Last Serenade’ and ‘End Of Heartache’, the whole place erupted, the crowd singing right back. Killswitch Engage went onto finish their set with one of their new songs, ‘Strength Of The Mind’, and once again absolutely smashed it. Killswitch Engage aren’t a band you normally see supporting other bands… you could tell by watching them. Their set felt like they were the headliners, and they absolutely killed it. Another band added to my list to go see when they return to headline.
Before Bullet For My Valentine took to the stage, I once again made a quick pit stop to the bar, then had a little look around to see how full the venue had got. Pretty damn well, it turned out. I found me way back to my spot as the lights dimmed for the final time. Motörhead’s ‘Ace Of Spades’ thundered through the PA, getting the crowd in the mood, and warming up those vocal chords. Suddenly, Bullet For My Valentine’s intro music started, backing lights shone bright, and the Welsh metalcore giants took to the stage, kicking off their set with ‘No Way Out’ from their new album ‘Venom’. That’s one way to get shit going down! Bullet For My Valentine are one of these bands that just keep on getting better. They know what they’re doing and execute it well. The one thing I noticed was Bullet For My Valentine’s new look – shirts and ties – a new mature look. The next thing I noticed was how settled Jamie Mathias has become since last November. The connection between Matt Tuck’s and Jamie Mathias’ vocals is solid. Perfectly in sync with each other. A highlight was when I finally got to see ‘Tears Don’t Fall: Part 2’ played live. There’s just something about that track that really gets me… y’know? Maybe it’s the way they’ve slowed it down, or the guitar effects, or because it’s a new chapter to the story. Maybe all of the above. Who knows? I loved it anyway! There was a brief moment from Matt Tuck, to thank the crazy Scottish fans for “rocking the fuck out with us tonight” and thanking the support bands, which is always nice to hear. Manners go a long way.
On the subject of crazy Scottish fans, Matt Tuck then introduced the next song which involved crazy Scottish fans chanting in the music video, ‘Hearts Burst Into Fire’ and the place went mental. Bullet For My Valentine then went on to play a couple of songs from ‘The Poison’. Hearing anything from that album gives me real big nostalgia feels. That album is a piece of art, and I don’t care what anyone else says. There was a noticeable shift in the actions and aggressiveness of the crowd when these songs were played, especially ‘Tears Don’t Fall’.
After much cheering and chanting, the encore opened with new song, “Don’t Need You”… my first time hearing this song live, and it was phenomenal. It’s made me even more excited for their next album.
In summary, this show was fucking great. All three bands did as much as anyone could have hoped to see, and they patently love what they do. A 10/10 show from me.
Review: Carol Black
Photos: Dave Jamieson