The frenzied crowd, ablaze with pure energy, swarm around the sold out Ritz venue in Manchester. Scores of enthusiastic crowd surfers caught up in the moment tumble around overhead. An extremely excitable and active moshpit ensues. It is impossible to not get involved.
Opening bands Hundredth and Oathbreaker deliver impressive sets and engaged a rapidly forming crowd from early on. Hundredth are first on, a high-energy melodic hardcore band from South Carolina with catchy guitar hooks and a solid rhythm section. It’s all topped off with a great hardcore growl. Second up, with harsher screaming vocals; Oathbreaker from Ghent, Belgium. They played a set laden with doomy-hardcore rock riffs and sludgy guitar tones. This band had a genuinely interesting mash-up of genres and it totally worked. There’s gnarly screamed vocals, a grunge element and, at times, hints of Sabbath.
Charismatic Cancer Bats frontman Liam Cormier bounds around from the word go as the Canadians take to the stage. Crisp hardcore vocals, big guitar tones and kickass drums invade the eardrums of the hundreds as they drop massive songs such as ‘Bricks And Mortar’, ‘Hail Destroyer’, new tune ‘Satellites’ and the hugely popular Beastie Boys cover Sabotage.
After their explosive set, Cancer Bats are quickly amongst the crowd again. It’s something I’ve admired about these guys; their tendency to man their own merch tables. They’re always up for a friendly chat and a laugh before and after their show.
While She Sleeps then rip aggressively into their set, with vocalist Loz Taylor defiantly striding out to the front of the stage to the hordes of frantic fans screaming his own lyrics back to him. He incites the crowd to get involved at every opportunity. They blast out all the colossal songs including ‘This Is The Six’, ‘Crows’ and material from new album ‘Brainwashed’ already proving to be firm favourites in the hearts of the fans. The anthemic Seven Hills goes down a storm with the packed out Ritz venue belting out the chorus with a primal chant.
New material from both bands is greeted with a gratifying response, as gigantic tunes ‘Satellites’ (Cancer Bats) and ‘Trophies Of Violence’ (While She Sleeps) sent invigorating waves of energy cascading over the crowd, injecting a fanatical hype through the already boiling veins of the audience.
In short, one of the most hair-raising, animated and exhilarating gigs we’ve been to in recent times. The old creaking floorboards of the Ritz literally bowing underfoot at every beat from the bands. Very impressed.