Gig Review: Parkway Drive / While She Sleeps / Lorna Shore – Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham (2nd October 2022)

After sorting issue at box office with passes, it was a rush down to the stage in time for the start of the show. But we made it. Just!

Lorna Shore (c) Sean Larkin

Walking into arena, I noticed the it was shortened with a curtain up at the back and also around the top tier of seats, which made me think the gig hasn’t sold well. It’s not too surprising given the current financial climate and with so many other good tours taking place, people are having to make choices on who they go see. However, while there were pockets of empty seats, the configured floor space was full, which would prove to help in creating a great atmosphere

First up were New Jersey deathcore band Lorna Shore who quite simply exploded onto stage. No messing around with this rapidly rising five-piece. Opening with “To the Hellfire” and “Of the Abyss” set the brutal tone for their short 5-track set.

Recently seen at Bloodstock, it was interesting to see the difference in performance indoors. It was going to a busy night for security judging by the number of crowdsurfers flying over the barricades during this “warmup” thirty minute slot. Certainly both fans and security were warming up nicely by the time the final notes of “Into The Earth” rang out!

They definitely had a lot of fans in attendance and it makes you wonder how long it’ll take for them to hit these shores again in a headline capacity.

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While She Sleeps (c) Sean Larkin

Next up While She Sleeps, playing a gig close to their home turf of Sheffield. They received an excellent crowd reaction for a support band, perhaps partly due to being the “local” act, or maybe just because they put on a hell of a show.

There was a great atmosphere throughout and the crowd surfing was pretty much non stop for the set. For those not crawling over the heads of their fellow fans, their were pits aplenty to go mad in, and While She Sleeps’ music is the perfect background for that kind of chaos.

While the likes of “You Are All You Need” and “Fakers Plague” went down well with the fans, a special cheer was saved for the end when two stage crew came out holding up a massive banner. This was the first announcement (at least locally) that While She Sleeps will be playing a headline show at Alexandra Palace in September next year. I have a feeling most of the people here tonight will be booking trains and hotels for that one.

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After a chance to recharge, the lights go down and it’s time for Parkway Drive.

The last time I saw them was for their headline set at Bloodstock in 2019, like Lorna Shore this was a chance to see how they performed in a (slightly) more intimate setting.

Typical for the band, we enjoyed an atmospheric entrance with the background screens and the band being escorted out by torch-bearing hooded figures. All apart from lead singer Winston. Where was he? Well we didn’t have to wait long! After a heart attack inducing bang and bright light he appears on the runway and led us straight into opening track “Glitch” followed swiftly by “Prey” and “Carrion”. Oh and fire. Lots and lots of fire!

Parkway Drive (c) Sean Larkin

I’d say that a fair number of people were here for the music, and a fair proportion of those will have decided that the pyro would make the ticket price worthwhile. I mean, you can sit at home and listen to Spotify, but unless you shove your head in an open fire while you’re doing it, you’re not going to get the full Parkway Drive experience. The Arena was hotter than Paul Hogan’s shrimp-searing barbie on Bondi Beach at Christmas.

Unfortunately, I just wasn’t happy with the fire pictures I captured. They weren’t doing justice to the scale and (frankly) innate terror experienced at being so close to flames jumping up higher than my house. I urge you to check out the pictures taken by some of the other photographers who got just the right angle without searing their eyebrows (and head hair and body hair and… hell, everything) off.

“Darker Still” is a departure from this. The song is a change of pace for the band, and to emphasise this the lights and flames die and the audience provide the only illumination. As if the song wasn’t powerful enough… Oh, and a live string section. No backing tracks for this bunch.

Fans will know the music, but you can’t emphasise the experience of seeing Parkway Drive live. This is a band with great albums but an exceptional live show. From their humble beginnings supporting other acts in pubs in Sydney to absolutely owning arena and festival stages, tonight’s performance 100% justified their incredible rise.

Long may it continue.

Pics by Sean Larkin Photography

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