Silent Screams open up the evening, and sadly the sound tech does the band no favors. While they lack a polished sound onstage, it’s clear that the band’s generic take on modern metalcore is well orchestrated and they achieve a decent balance between melody and heaviness. Half of the venue has already made their way in to watch the band, however those present don’t really heed vocalist Joel Heywood’s countless calls to get the crowd involved, however he doesn’t relent and keeps trying his best. Pitifully the crowd fail to react when Heywood shouts “I want you to scream for me”, following his count of “1,2,3” the band are met with silence from those present. And the band close with The Way We Were and a call from Heywood “If you know this one, get over the barrier and on the stage”, when no one attempts such a feat, Heywood instead jumps into the crowd and when back on stage asked the same of the crowd, again to no avail.
Gideon (8) come out to what seems like a completely different crowd, vocalist Daniel McWhorter announces that it’s “Time to wake this room up for real” before the band launch straight into the set with Cursed, which sees the room up immediately. McWhorter again shouts “wake the fuck up” before the band drop into their first breakdown of the night. From start to finish, of what seemed a short set compared to Silent Screams, the band keep the crowd in a frenzy, sadly showing up Silent Screams, and their attempts to get the crowd moving. Tracks like Champion and Pulling Teeth from their newest record, Cold go down brilliantly with the crowd. While metallic hardcore may be seen by some as a generic genre, Gideon prove they’re anything but; from their stage performance to the tracks, they show exactly how to marry brutal riffs with brilliant rhythmic timing and the occasional melody too.
Speaking to drummer Jake Smelley after their set, he explained the reason Gideon’s set felt so short, while they managed to perform six songs from their set, technical issues back stage had meant they’d had to cut their set time, meaning Calloused was cut from the band’s set for the evening.
In Hearts Wake take to the stage one by one as calm intro to new album Ark plays, before the band divulge into heavy hitter Passage and just like the track’s call of “Brace for the impact”, the crowd erupts into what seems like a constant mosh pit throughout the band’s set. In Hearts Wake manage to incorporate both heavy and cleans vocals into their performance brilliantly, with both vocalists give a near impeccable performance. Vocalist Jake Taylor introduces Frequency explaining how the inspiration for the song comes from the whale that sings at a different frequency to all other whales, meaning it can’t communicate with others of their species. The band use this as a metaphor for feelings of isolation, and the song provides a great calm in the set, and the crowd echo back the lyrics to the band.
Chaos ensues however with the introduction of “Capture the flag” with the band bringing out a large inflatable dinghy to a soundtrack of The Lonely Island’s I’m On A Boat leading into their own, Survival as Taylor surfs the crowd in the dinghy, towards the sound desk where a flag with the band’s logo is planted. The song then gets interrupted by Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You before the band finish the song to chants of “We will survive” reverberating throughout the room. A Call of Duty sound clip announcing “Flag Captured, game over” closes out the song, and quite possibly the most outlandish thing I’ve seen at a gig in a long time. The band’s set features a great mix of old and new tracks, with each song going down a storm with the crowd, and closing song, Refuge from their split EP Equinox, with Northlane, sees one of the biggest pits of the evening.
In Hearts Wake have put in hard time over the career, and it shows, their instrumentation, and vocal abilities are near perfect, and the band get a great response from the crowd, while it may not have been a sold out show, the energy in the room certainly made it feel like one.