Gig Review: Motionless in White / Skold / Defying Decay – Stylus, Leeds (9th December 2019)

So, I’m going to start this review with a word that describes the entire night… Eccentric!

Defying Decay (c) Jack Barker

The first band of the night, Defying Decay, made quite the entrance in their unique outfits, including lead singer Jay Euarchukiati sporting a zebra covered 2-piece suit. The stage was very full as the seven members found their positions. The crowd seemed to have very mixed reactions to start with but soon seemed to warm up and matched the enthusiasm being displayed on stage. Throughout the entire set, Bunn Bnn on the turntables displayed some impressive kicks while drummer Mark Mironov was continuously engaging with the crowd between songs.

A few songs into the set, they played a cover of Linkin Park’s “Faint”, and Euarchukiati really didn’t need to sing with how loud the crowd were belting out the lyrics. Bassist Pleng Thongboonma jumped down to the barrier and was fist bumping the fans at the front before heading into the crowd for the majority of the remaining set.  With a quick swap to an acoustic guitar and Euarchukiti grabbing a guitar too, “Ghost” was the penultimate song of the set. With a thank you to Motionless in White for bringing them on the tour and a quick photo with the crowd, Defying Decay left for the evening.

It was time for Skold to take the stage, which now looked a little sparse in contrast to how full Defying Decay made it seem, with only three band members taking their places. It would be wrong if I didn’t mention the outfits that were equally as interesting, however in very different way with a more industrial gothic look. Opening with “Triumph of the Will” released in 2016, the audience slowed their mosh pits and started nodding along.

Skold (c) Jack Barker

The entire performance was different to anything I’ve ever seen, and Nero Bellum definitely has an interesting way of playing his synthesiser, lifting it into various positions rather than using the stand. With a quick “Lets step this up a bit” later in the set they upped the tempo for “Don’t Pray for Me” which definitely got the crowd moving again. As soon as the band left the stage the typical ‘Yorkshire!’ chant started.

With a quick stage set up, as the lights dimmed ready for Motionless in White, either more people arrived last minute, or everyone just moved forward in sheer excitement because the venue felt jam-packed from where I was standing. As soon as the band hit the first note, the head banging was in sync and the crowd were singing basically every word. It didn’t seem to matter whether the songs were off the new album Disguise or from their back catalogue, everyone was ready to party. “Necessary Evil” had the whole venue jumping, especially with lead singer Chris “Motionless” Cerulli encouragement “On the count of 4 everybody up and down!”. “Rats” is one of my favourite Motionless in White songs and I don’t think I was the only one judging by the crowd’s reaction.

Motionless In White (c) Jack Barker

After a few songs back to back, Cerulli spoke about how good it was to be back in Leeds for the fifth or sixth time and at that point he was waiting for the ‘Yorkshire!’ chants to begin. Drummer Vinny Mauro started a beat to the chant, to which Cerulli joked they should ‘Sample that sh*t and put it in a song!’. “Disguise”, the title track of their latest album, could have easily been a track from an older album with the reaction from the crowd and clearly has the potential to be on the band’s setlists for years to come.

Most of Motionless left the stage as all the lights pointed towards Maura for a powerful drum solo. Tim Skold then joined them on stage for their collaboration, “Final Dictvm” from the album Reincarnate. For the final song of the main set, they played one of the heavier songs of the evening “Devil’s Night”.

Their energy didn’t waver throughout the entirety of the set and given that it was a Monday night, the entire venue felt buzzed. As soon as Motionless in White left the stage, there were mixed chants of ‘Motionless!’ and ‘We want more!’. No surprise, but they saved arguably their most popular song for their encore, “Eternally Yours”. Throughout the song, Cerulli untied the roses from his mic stand and threw them to waiting fans, while confetti cannons showered the crowd.

With a thank you to the fans, the band left the stage with a final statement of “Maybe we’ll see you next summer!”. I wonder what they could be hinting at…?

Pics by Jack Barker Photography

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