Trivium seem to have a knack of travelling with excellent line-ups around them. This time a co-headliner with Killswitch Engage, but also giving stage time to two hard working and promising up-and-comers: Miss May I who we’ve seen around the block before and Battlecross on their first European venture.
Michigan’s Battlecross seem to have made it their mission to be intense, heavy and energetic on-stage, yet relaxed, affable and approachable off. A great bunch of guys who do everything to let their fans know that they’re there to have fun, who then blast through a 25-minute set as if they’re just warming up for better things.
Their performance focussed heavily on their current release, War of Will, with a single hark back to older material. Parading around the stage, headbanging and posing like experienced pros they gave a good account of themselves to a fairly full venue in the time they had available. Fingers crossed they shifted a few CDs and shirts before the night ended as well.
We last saw Miss May I opening for BFMV some months ago in the same venue. I’m not sure why, but I found them to be a bit better than last time. Maybe just because they’ve got more shows under their belts, or maybe because they suited this audience more. Either way, they did well and played an impressive if short set, leaving the audience applauding for more.
Next up were two bands who are both renowned for their live shows. It was quite apparent as the decor was being erected that Trivium would be the first of the two headliners to take to the stage. Two towering “T” structures were placed at the stage sides and the first of the full sized drum kits unveiled before the lights went down and Matt & co swaggered on.
Straight into new track “Brave This Storm”, they didn’t seem to pause for breath for the entire set. One downside of a co-headlining show is that it often reduces the time the bands get to play, and in this case it was about an hour each. Trivium did their best to squeeze every sweat-drenched minute out of their allowance.
Focus was on the David Draimain-produced Vengeance Falls and I have to be honest – the Disturbed influence is almost as noticeable live as it is on the album. This may or may not be a bad thing, depending on your taste. Personally it jars and I’m expecting one band and hearing another, while I know others just hate Disturbed so it puts them right off. I’m more annoyed because previous release, In Waves, was near perfection and I was hoping for more of the same.
Talking of the last album, we only got two songs from it which is a hell of a shame but with a decent number of albums to pick from and only an hour to play there had to be some give. “In Waves” itself was the highlight for me, and it’s no surprise that the curtain fell after long-standing classic “Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr” which I still remember them playing the first time I saw them at the Cockpit in Leeds in… 1990-something.
A great set. Good sound, great lights, and even a couple of machines throwing foam down on the crowd at one point. Just… because.
And onto the final band of the evening, Killswitch Engage. Striding on stage to Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger“, they ditched the cheese early and hit the crowd hard with three varied openers before pausing for a quick chat… then launching in to chaos again.
Adam was fairly casually dressed this evening, in cutoffs and a knee support bandage but was as tonto as ever. Whatever that guy eats before a live show should not be given to children… I actually wonder if they have to strap him into a polystyrene-filled box for safe transportation between gigs.
With the exception of a short pause due to a lighting issue, the band belted out song after song covering their entire history in the time they had to share. “A Bid Farewell”, “This Fire Burns”, “My Last Serenade” and encore “My Curse” ensured great pits, a constant flow of stagedivers and not a person in the house who wouldn’t have a sore neck the next morning.
Not a duff song in the performance, and a great value concert for the ticket price. In my opinion, Trivium just edged it as band of the night but I am more of a Trivium fan anyway, so I’m perhaps a little biased.