Escape The Fate/Set To Stun/Shields – Manchester, Club Academy – 21 January 2018 Print E-mail
Written by DJ Astrocreep and Sabrina Ramdoyal   
Monday, 29 January 2018 04:40

Screamo is not something that normally appeals too much to me, but I figured it was worth a try, given the size of Escape The Fate's support and that they are a touch more commercial than a lot of their contemporaries. It gets to the night of the gig and heavy rain is pouring from the skies, but I soldier on out anyway, making the familiar trip across to Manchester and head to the venue. Rather surprisingly, they're on in Club Academy, which is the second smallest of the Manchester Academy venues, located down in the basement. I grab a seat towards the back of the room just in time for the first support band to take to the stage.


Shields 1


First on are Shields, who are based in London. The crowd is quite small, maybe a quarter of a room full, when they take to the stage, though this does not seem to deter the band from putting their all into the performance. Utilising dual vocalists for alternating the rough and clean vocals works well for them and they get a good reaction from those present. During their 25-minute set, the crowd slowly gets bigger as people slowly trickle in, escaping from the rain, though this doesn't seem to dampen the spirits of the crowd as they show a decent appreciation for Shields, who use the small gaps between songs to speak quickly to the audience, before continuing on with their set. A good performance, despite the early stage time.


Next on are Southern California based post-hardcore band Set To Stun. This is where I get lost a bit, as although there is plenty of energy from the band, the dual vocals with them does not seem to work for me. I had heard from friends that their recorded songs were pretty good, so had had a level of hope, but it instead seemed to be a mix of clichés from the post-hardcore genre. Autotuned pop-punk style delivery, mixed with rap delivered - in all fairness - in a manner that most rappers would probably take a second to admire mixes with rough vocals that do sound very rough. The audience reaction is very mixed, as it starts pretty well, dips considerably, before rising to pretty good again by the end of the set.


Set to Stun 3


As mentioned earlier, the energy is excellent and the attitude is exactly what you would expect, as even during the first song the guitarist jumps to the barrier, puts a finger up, then jumps the barrier into the crowd for a bit of the song. This is followed by him later leaving the side of the stage to go to a nearby viewing platform to play directly to them. Their antics made for good viewing, but they definitely have to work hard on fixing their sound and not leaving long periods of silence between song. Potential is there to go either way, but it sadly just did not work for me tonight.


While waiting for ETF to take the stage, the crowd sings loudly along to some of the background music, bellowing the likes of ‘I'm A Believer’ and ‘We Built This City’ well above the music levels. Finally, Escape the Fate take to the stage, and the crowd reaction nearly lifts the roof, which is surprising given the room only being around two-thirds full. Opener 'This War Is Ours' fades to light cymbals briefly, as the boisterous crowd once again take over, well above the sound system again. This is repeated several times throughout the set, with the crowd joining loudly in too.


Escape The Fate 1


Early in the set is ‘10 Miles Wide’, arguably their biggest and best song, which comes from the album ‘This War Is Ours’, which is now ten years old. There is a definite change as the set progresses from the earlier heavier post-hardcore/metalcore sound that they had over to a lighter but not altogether fluffy newer one. Some newer songs are played, which the band acknowledge are not yet even released, such as ‘Four Letter Word’ and ‘Do You Love Me’, all of which get an equally good reaction as their older tracks do. Vocalist Craig Mabbitt mentions the tilt towards their softer side with a comment of “this song is a bit more emo and about a girl called Ashley” to loud cheers from the crowd. There is time for a cover of My Chemical Romance's ‘Dead!’ to finish off the main part of the set before a one song encore finishes the night well.


Escape The Fate, I have to admit, did impress me. They were better live than I had feared beforehand and made up for the below par Set To Stun. There were some genuinely good guitar moments, with the only disappointment for me is them leaving out the cover of ‘Paradise City’ that they had performed on another leg of the tour. That and the solo being missed off were probably on account of the late running of the gig, even though the band finished 25 minutes before curfew. Still, if that is the only complaint about a headline band of a genre you do not normally listen to, they've done pretty damn well. A good gig!


Escape The Fate 7


PHOTO CREDIT: All photos © Sabrina Ramdoyal/Über Rock. You can view our full gallery of photographs HERE.


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