Bullet For My Valentine / Killswitch Engage / Cane Hill – Inverness Ironworks, 1st Dec 2016

I consider myself very lucky to have been able to attend this particular gig as I gather that there are only a few very select dates where BFMV are playing their A-bomb album The Poison in full during their current UK tour.

Still buzzing from the Glasgow Academy gig (reviewed by James) and the vibrant after-party in the Cathouse the night before, I needed little motivation to get out of bed and rendezvous with my chauffeur, the J-man, and before long we were on our way to the capital of the Highlands. There’s some spectacular scenery to take in on the 114 mile stretch of the A9 between Perth and Inverness, but before I start to sound too much like Michael Palin I’ll note that me and Jona probably missed a good chunk ofit. We were too busy headbanging to the soundtrack for our road trip which was comprised mainly of Disturbed and Bullet’s current tour support, Killswitch Engage.

We reached our destination early afternoon and after getting very casually re-acquainted with New Orleans nu-metallers, Cane Hill (who I’d hung out with very briefly the night before) I grabbed the chance to reassure them that their set wasn’t going to be as lacklustre as it had been crowd wise in the 02 Academy the night before. I developed a big affinity for the band when I saw them destroy the fourth stage at Download festival this year. One of Cane Hill’s road crew commented that was perhaps the most intense UK show the band had ever played. With that in mind I was very eager to show them what Scottish crowds were made of… thankfully I wasn’t made out to be a liar.

Before I continue I’ll take the time to give you a brief overview of the venue. The Ironworks is a purpose built, medium sized live music venue with a 1000 person capacity. It’s been up and running for just over a decade and has admirably brought some of the biggest names in music to Inverness. It’s clean, modern and the staff are all very friendly, bar the lady who ID’d me as I was trying to buy a pint for Jona (just joking, she was nice too). At 33 years of age it’s comforting to know I still look youthful enough to be considered worthy of the Challenge 25 policy.

Before doors went green I decided to take a more proactive approach and drum up a little bit of energy in the people queueing outside. I was recognised by a few Glasgow metalheads who had also made the trek up north so this helped eliminate any social awkwardness that might normally be felt when there’s a 7ft lunatic shouting at you in the street like a preacher who’s trying to convince you the end is nigh.

My madman methods paid off in spades when it finally came time for Cane Hill to take to the stage and get the show on the road. Second song in and lots of dudes with vests realise that I won’t attack them like some crazed killer and the moshing madness that I’m somewhat famous for gets underway. Once started it never stopped and with a request from security to slow down on the amount of crowd surfers you can get an idea of how crazy things were becoming. The best part about it was you could clearly see the crowd activity was invigorating the band even more than they already were. Closing with “Time Bomb” and thanking the Ironworks crowd for being amazing, Cane Hill left the stage with a large number of new fans that night – no doubt in my mind.

I needn’t have worried about trying to motivate the crowd for Killswitch Engage’s impending arrival. It’s obviously very rare for a band of their eminence to be playing these parts and local metal fans had turned out in force and all had the same evident, hair trigger mentality. You can imagine their reaction when Bane declared his own kingdom in the middle of the pit. Opening with “Alone I Stand” the dance floor explodes harder than I think it did the night before.

There is only a brief let up in the energy that KSE inspires when, in an incredibly commendable display of compassion Jesse Leach calls a show stop and halts the band’s performance due to a young lady in the front row being attended to by security staff after suffering a seizure. Jesses announces that the band will only start playing again once the lady is safely evacuated. In a display of callousness that almost defies logic, a heartless dick in the back is heard shouting “Get her the fuck out of here!” If the person who did that ever reads this review – HAVE A WORD WITH YOURSELF!

Had I pinpointed the person who did that I would have taken a less than friendly approach but in a true testament to his character, Jesse jumps down on to the pit barrier and as the lady is being carried to a place of safety he reminds the crowd that the metal community is one of unity and as family they should always look out for each other. Hats off to you, Jesse we salute you! KSE finished their twelve-song set on a high with “Strength Of The Mind” and left lasting memories for the Invernesian fan base that positively embraced them.

Now for the grand finale and everyone’s reason for being there. Hearing The Poison played live and in full is not something I will forget in a hurry. It’s an album I’ve listened too literally hundreds of times so I was well versed with all the individual breakdowns and allegros. Seeing as tracks were played in the same order they appear on the album the chaos I helped create in the pit was pretty much scripted, like a violent form of musical theatre.

As soon as the lights went out and Apocalyptica’s haunting intro to “Her Voice Resides” began to sound it was time for the centre of the floor to open up. Those as equally familiar with the song as I am need no direction from me or the band as to which point they need to push the plunger and leave a crater in the middle of the Ironworks. If for some wacky reason that gig was your first time hearing that album and you were hoping for a breather after the first song then you seriously lucked out! As avid BFMV fans will know, you’re launched straight into one of the band’s big hits, the nay-sayer defying “Four Words” which is acknowledged that night with a huge circle pit.

After some brief banter with the crowd BFMV kept the train rolling and thrilled the audience with another one of their heavy hitters, the awe inspiring “Tears Don’t Fall”. I’ll praise the band not just for kick-ass delivery of the music but for actually taking a fair bit of time in between the remaining eight tracks of  The Poison to engage with the crowd and pay lip service to fans who had been loyal to the band ever since that album’s original release back in 2006.

We all know signed bands who don’t seem to like engaging with their audience and treat almost every gig as if they were a flesh and blood jukebox, going from one song to the next like a mechanized, factory process. There are of course fans who prefer it this way, living by a creed of “I didn’t pay to hear them talk”. Each and every one to their own I suppose.

With a three-song encore made up of “No Way Out”, “Your Betrayal” and “Don’t Need You” BFMV emptied the tanks of whatever the Ironworks punters had left that evening and bid farewell to a room full of smiling faces.

Top job lads!

Photos by Bukavac Photography (taken at the Glasgow show)

Bullet For My Valentine: official | facebook | twitter | youtube | instagram

Killswitch Engage: official | facebook | twitter

Cane Hill: facebook

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