A hell of a double-header, though quite a surprising one given that the two acts have very little in common with each other musically. Having said that, Hatebreed have opened for a huge variety of headliners so adding Volbeat to the list isn’t anything to complain about. And, hey, who are you going to get to warm up for a band that’s often billed as the world’s best party band than the world’s most intense support act?
I think this makes four “venue” shows where I’ve seen Hatebreed (i.e. not festivals) and they never, ever fail to give 100% and impress even more. This isn’t a band that hope the crowd enjoys their show, they demand it. Uncompromising and hammering through their 45-minute set at full tilt, the band barely paused for breath ensuring that those who’d bought their ticket on the strength of the openers (I confess I did) would not go home feeling ripped off.
I would like to say that all the classics were in place, but with a shortened set that’s just impossible. It was still surprising to hear “Live For This” in the opening salvo, more annoying for me as I was still in the photo pit at that point so had to be content with singing along while trying to grab pictures!
The whole catalogue was touched on in one way or another, though (except for covers album For The Lions) with recent tracks such as “Put it to the Torch” and “Honor Never Dies” rubbing shoulder with the likes of “I Will Be Heard”. As a celebration of a 20-year history this was as good as you could hope for in 45 minutes.
Finishing with the high note that is “Destroy Everything”, Jamey and co. left the pit and the front rows battered, bruised, sweating and smiling like fools.
I don’t think any of the diehards present left upset by anything other than the fact that the set had to come to an end and, who knows, maybe some of the Volbeat faithful who got there early might pick up an album this week. Jamey Jasta’s promise that the crowd would be going home with sore necks from Hatebreed and sore throats from singing Volbeat songs was half complete.
Oh, to the guy in the pit who looked like a shortened Kerry King with facial tattoos – trying to flip someone over your shoulder and piledriving them skull-first into the ground by grabbing their head and neck might look cool on WCW, but that’s because they’re actors. Doing it in real life is how you cripple someone, you fucking dick. People like you are what gets moshing banned in some venues.
Half an hour of standing around and the lights dropped, Motorhead (and Whitfield Crane) belted out “Born to Raise Hell” (thankfully not the entire track like last time) and Jon popped up from behind the drums to let the crowd know that the entertainers were here.
Opening with “Hallelujah Goat” and rolling into “Guitar Gangsters and Cadillac Blood”, Volbeat looked to be giving the crowd as much chance to draw breath as Hatebreed before them.
The traditional pairing of “Ring of Fire” followed by “Sad Man’s Tongue” got the crowd singing if they hadn’t been already, and the hits followed thick and fast – “16 Dollars”, “Dead but Rising”, “I Only Want To Be With You”…
Annoyingly, the sounded started to get a bit crappy as the set progressed. I’m not sure if someone was pushing little sliders up a bit too much but by the send half of the set, things were definitely getting a bit mushy on the audio front. Still, there was enough visual entertainment with a good light show and Rob and Anders taking turns to out-pose and out-gurn one another.
Only a short break was needed before the encore tracks and the Danes (plus Rob) finished on a high note with the song which got me into the band in the first place, “Still Counting”.
There was one small slip, when Michael forgot what country he was in, saying they only had five more dates “here in England”. I think he thought the boos were for the limited tenure of their visit… Mind, not as bad a clanger as Amon Amarth putting “Glasgow, England” on the back of their tour shirts last year. Oops. [almost to the day, actually!] This didn’t stop one guy near us acting as if his mother had just been called a slag in front of a thousand people. Chill out, dude, it was just a slip from a guy who plays six shows a week in more countries than you can probably name, not a deliberate slur of your national identity.
My wife reckoned they weren’t as good as the last time we saw them at the ABC, I put it on about a level except for the sound quality. Mind, I was hyped from seeing Hatebreed again…