Gallows/Feed The Rhino/Brotherhood Of The Lake - Bristol, The Fleece - 5th October 2012 Print E-mail
Written by Johnny H   
Saturday, 13 October 2012 04:00

Gallows_PosterAnticipation levels were running at an all time high here at URHQ in the run up to this show, not just because this was the first chance for many of us to catch Gallows live with Wade MacNeil as frontman, but more to do with the fact that the self titled album the band had released recently is just about the finest slice of hardcore punk to be released anywhere in the world in 2012 (just don't tell Keith Morris I said that).

 

A fair few others must be feeling exactly the same way as us too as tonight's show is sold out a few times over and even before opening band Brotherhood Of The Lake can pull up their hoodies in anticipation for their ambient intro taped arrival on stage, (looking somewhat how I'd imagine Swedish metallers Ghost might look if they all had Asbos) the dancefloor is crammed full with guys all doing the half headbang.  Being kind of local-ish (the Brotherhood hail from Plymouth) most certainly doesn't hurt the quintet's ability to pull the punters in early doors. Specialising in modern metal that is as bleak as it is as doomy I cannot begin to pretend to be a fan of this screamy stuff, as it all tends to blend into one massive blur of feedback for yours truly, new song title 'Nun Splitter' most certainly did make me smile though. Don't worry about me though guys, you carry on screaming as the kids seem to love you, and what do I really know about heavy metal music these days anyway?

 

Having heard a lot about Feed The Rhino in the run up to tonight's show, I must admit I certainly wasn't expecting the frenzied reaction that follows the arrival of the lads from Kent on stage.  Singer Lee Tobin and his mental metallers certainly don't let the lack of dancing space bother them as they rattle through a set built on their own brand of metal/punk that instantly has the audience eating out of the palms of their heavily tattooed hands.  Again though I have to admit I get lost during Feed The Rhino's set somewhere between the umpteenth request for a circle pit/wall of death, and the millionth posed guitar jerk from brothers James and Sam Colley and I suddenly find myself wondering if bands actually have a checklist of activities they must get into their set to get it reviewed as being a good gig these days.  Believe me Feed The Rhino had a great gig here tonight and the tunes from current album 'The Burning Sons' all sounded rather fine, it's just that watching them live left me feeling a little cold, something I never got when watching the likes of The Ghost Of A Thousand, Outcry Collective or The Plight and just look what happened to all of them.

 

FTR

 

 

The last time I saw Gallows live they appeared to be a band at war with themselves rather than the world they had always kicked so hard against to that point, devoid of a reason to prove themselves whilst playing to an audience largely made up of people already sold on the 'Grey Britain' concept, the band's performance at Rebellion 2010 bore all the hallmarks of an outfit in need of a change of focus or they might not be around for very much longer. That change came with the departure of frontman Frank Carter, the fiery singer setting sail for pastures new looking for some Pure Love, whilst his former band mates chose to regroup with a new ace up their sleeve in the shape of former Alexisonfire and current Black Lungs guitarist/singer Wade MacNeil taking over as the man (mountain) out front.

 

So tonight straight out of London England by way of Toronto Canada I finally get to witness the reborn Gallows live, and boy do they leave an instant mark! Opening with 'Misery' it is immediately obvious that whilst still sounding a hell of a lot like the Gallows of old this is now an altogether different band, perhaps it's down to Wade's more controlled approach to his stage craft or maybe it's just down to the fact that whilst playing tracks like 'Everybody Loves You (When You're Dead)' and 'Last June' the band actually look and sound like they believe in what they are saying once more. That is taking nothing away from the Frank fronted years you must understand because at their peak Gallows with the ginger wunderkind were simply unstoppable, it's just I always thought once that version of the band had hit the University circuit there really was nowhere left for them to go.  With this version I think the possibilities are endless.

 

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This is because in a little over a year together the guys have not only managed to pen tracks as good as 'Outsider Art' and 'Odessa', songs that will no doubt appeal to an all new audience but they also continue to deliver the earlier classics such as 'In The Belly Of The Shark' and 'London Is The Reason', albeit now with that underlying level of reigned in aggression I mentioned earlier, rather than the all out feral assault of the early years something that as I experienced could alienate potential new fans as quickly as they won over others.

 

Certainly no one is leaving early tonight as Gallows hammer their way through their back catalogue with sweat drenched ease, the audience showing their appreciation in equal measure to tunes such as 'Vapid Adolescent Blues', 'True Colours' and 'Depravers' from the new album, as well as the older ones like 'Death Voices' via a constant stream of stage diving.  By the time we get to the encores of 'Victim Culture', 'Abandon Ship' and the perennial set closer 'Orchestra Of Wolves' even the photographer in front of me has decided he wants a piece of the action as enormo-lensed camera in hand he sails proudly over my head caught in the perfect Gallows moment. "Ladies and gentlemen we really do have a man overboard here tonight." The crazy bastard!

 

Look there really is nowhere I'd rather be than watching Gallows right now, so you going to join me?

 

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