Bullet For My Valentine / While She Sleeps / coldrain – Dunfermline Alhambra, 11th October 2015

I don’t think I’ve been to Dunfermline in my life before. It’s a small town just north of Edinburgh and a pleasant drive from Glasgow. Tonight it was to play host to a triple-header of a bill at its Alhambra venue as BFMV undergo a tour which takes in some of the locations that many bands often skip. This kind of thing seems to be happening more often these days, which is good to see. DragonForce, Hayseed Dixie and The Darkness – to name just three – have done similar tours in recent years.

Tonight’s venue is a converted – kind of – theatre, so it’s ideally laid out for performances. The sloping floor is interesting, but at least the seating in the front half has been removed. I remember the old days of the Manchester Labatts Apollo (not the O2 Academy, I think) which was seated. At least, it was for Pantera and Slayer. After the seats got completely destroyed during those gigs, they seemed to work out that it was cheaper to unbolt the seats, remove them and replace them afterwards…

coldrain Dunfermline 192Despite the massive queue outside, the staff did well to get pretty much everyone in before openers coldrain took to the stage. Thanks to the organisers for not taking the easy route of shoving on a support band the second the doors opened, especially when they were a band this good.

Not an act I’d encountered before, the Japanese quintet posed, strode and bounced around the stage as if they were born to be there. With a sound that reminded me at times of Papa Roach and at others of something more approaching Hatebreed (yeah, I know… quite the jump) they exuded confidence and were one of the most effective “warm up” bands I’ve seen in a long time.

It was obvious that a number of people in the audience were already fans, but judging by the increased number of people bouncing, cheering and moshing by the set’s end, they gained a fair few more tonight. Count me amongst them.

While She Sleeps Dunfermline 192Somewhat less exotic than Nagoya, Sheffield is the hometown of the next band to get the crowd raving. While She Sleeps had a decent eight songs to impress a crowd that – again – already seemed to be in their favour. Those eight songs were split exactly 50/50 between the band’s two albums, and they opened with the title track from current release Brainwashed.

By the second song, frontman Loz was being held aloft by the crowd and things only proceeded to get more mental, with challenges to overwhelm the security staff with crowdsurfers being undertaken more than willingly by the sweaty masses. There’s no doubt that this is a band who wish they were in the audience to watch their own performance! I gather that they stuck to their on-stage promise to turn up at both after-gig parties as well.

Musically, I preferred coldrain but there was no touching While She Sleeps in terms of sheer entertainment value. Definitely one to recommend.

Welsh headliners BFMV ambled casually onto stage at 9:30 to begin a great-value 90-minute set. While there were definitely elements here who’d turned up for the support acts, from what I could see 100% were interested in what Bridgend’s finest had to offer. They weren’t to be disappointed.

Note that I’m not a Bullet fan as such. I like them, I know of them and I know a couple of their songs. They, frankly, blew me away at the Academy a couple of years ago when we attended to see support act Halestorm – my daughter loves that band. Obviously, we stayed on to watch the headliners and I was very much impressed.

From tonight’s performance, I’m happy to say that that wasn’t a one-off. Bullet For My Valentine are a band who know how to rock a crowd. Not just to play a well-crafted set, but to tweak things here and there (Matt’s clean solo beginning to “The Last Fight” being one example) to keep things interesting. Matt does a great job of engaging the audience, enough to keep them gripped without boring them.

Set-wise, the songs were heavy on the Venom front what with it being the new release, but the guys also focussed quite a bit on The Poison due to it being ten years since the debut album was released. I don’t think any song came as a disappointment to the fans, being greeted either by waving arms, banging heads or pummelling fists and elbows. Temper Temper was the only album left untouched, and from what I gather nobody was going to complain about that.

Pits were formed, friendships made and more than a couple went home with scars to add to their collections. I didn’t hear a single dissenting voice on the way out, either.

A great gig in a very nice venue, with three acts who are all at the top of their game.

Keep an eye out for forthcoming pictures from Carly. She got some great shots of the bands!

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