Prior to this gig I didn’t listen to a lot of the music of the bands on the lineup as a part of a new reviewing tactic. However I had an idea of what was to come – an evening of head-crushing, double-peddling, wall-of-deathing splendour. There was all of this in spades!
First on the bill were Counting Days, showing off six songs from their recently released debut album Liberated Sounds. A short but sweet set which pulled out all the stops in their sub-genre (including the aforementioned head-crushing, double-peddling etc.) warmed our ears up for the madness to come. Perhaps my favourite moment of their set was when lead-screamer Thom Debaere said “This next one’s called ‘Die Alone’, sing along if you know it”. It’s moments like that when you step bad and chuckle (kick ass song by the way!).
Whilst they did bring increasing amounts of people to the front it seemed they didn’t have the crowd they deserved. These are early days though! It was great to see a relatively unknown band screech onto the map and our minds as they have done recently and I shall be counting the days till I see them again (see what I did there?).
Next up were The One Hundred who followed shortly with their signature blend of hip hop and metal which incurred the first moshing of the evening – plenty more where that came from! A very entertaining set was delivered with something for everyone from flipping off the people in the balcony to “opening this fucking place up” and barked commands from frontman Jacob Field to “bounce”. I was lucky enough to shake his hand up while picking up my free The One Hundred sticker for my drums, and his charismatic authority on stage had dispersed and a genuine fan of this music and culture was present. What a cool guy and what a cool band!
Finally we had the headliners of the night Crossfaith, who warned us of their coming with a rousing theme park-esque track being played prior to their appearance saying “15 minutes till the show begins, keep your hands in the air at all times and go nuts” or something similar. Unlike the other bands, Crossfaith kept us waiting, growing the suspense and tension. When drummer Tatsuya Amano came on before the show to test his drums he revealed his kit… It must’ve been the biggest bass drum I’ve ever seen and delivered quite a sound, one I aspire to own one day!
Later we found that Tatsuya is an absolute nutter on the drums, very entertaining to watch. When their arrival to the stage came about, they began very efficiently and the jumping started instantaneously and I kid you not, the floor was literally bending. A lively, electric set was torn through at breakneck speed until a reflective moment from singer Kenta Koie came about. Whilst it was difficult to make out what exactly was being said (considering they’d spent the last half hour tearing my ears off!) his message was clear: “Our music is a weapon” received an enthusiastic response as did “There are no borders in this music”. This is apparent upon consideration, given that this is a Japanese band travelling thousands of miles for their second headlining tour of the UK and their second time in Brighton, doubling their fan base in Brighton. That was a very reassuring moment.
This calm moment was soon interrupted by an incredible performance of “Devil’s Party” which was arguably the most manic track of the night, during which I regret to say I got a stitch! The rest of the set was a crowd-surfing, stage-diving Nirvana which led to Kenta declaring that this was the “best gig of the tour so far”. Now whether that was a rehearsed pleasentary or genuine confession, we don’t know but we certainly felt it was a very special night.
I walked away very pleased with my hand having been shaken by Jacob Field, the other clutching my The One Hundred sticker, my forearm generously baptised by Crossfaith keyboardist Terufumi Tamano’s Jack Daniels and my mind blown. I spotted some fellow metal heads on the train home who had clearly been at the gig, they told me it was “The best gig they’ve ever been to” which says it all. I hope very much to catch them at Reading Festival this year, but till then, thank you Crossfaith and Co. for an incredible night!