36 Crazyfists/All Hail The Yeti/’68 – Birmingham, O2 Academy 2 – 20 January 2018 Print E-mail
Written by Rich Hobson and Allan Maxwell   
Saturday, 27 January 2018 04:20

Speaking to 36 Crazyfists’ frontman Brock Lindow before the show, it quickly becomes apparent just how happy he is to be playing in Europe. And why wouldn’t he be? The band have sold out several of their UK shows, pulling in the crowds eager to catch material from the latest record ‘Lanterns’ and see a well-stacked bill of great metalcore-and-beyond bands in All Hail The Yeti and ’68. A Saturday night in January, the room is already fairly full for local openers Failure Is An Option, already all-but-finished with their short set by the time we hustle through the doors.




There’s something to be said about bands that wear suits on-stage. Whether its Akercocke or Faith No More, Dog Fashion Disco or Barrabus, it almost serves as a signifier that everything that happens over the next – whatever – minutes is going to be a bit madcap and special. ’68 uphold that tradition well, taking to the stage in black suits vocalist Josh Scogin steps up to the mic; ‘Hello, we’re a band called ’68. We’re here to play some of our bottom 40 hits – if this works, it’s going to be LOUD’. Lugging their own equipment, the band lunge into a rip-roaring rendition of ‘Whether Terrified or Unafraid’, sounding louder than any band we’ve ever witnessed in the dank confines of the second Academy room.


Part hardcore, part riffy radio-rock and part noise rock, ’68 sound completely different to about 90 per cent of the flotsam you’re likely to hear opening a metal bill, making their inclusion here a delight and an oddity at the same time. Weirder still is that the show almost completely removes the crowd part from the performance equation; Josh roars and howls and gestures directly at drummer Nikko Yamada, who in turn thunders along on the drums pausing only to gesture, step away from the kit and pace around the kit as the song allows. This is high-octane performance at its most vitriolic, a total delight to behold and all-too-short when the band take their bows and leave, the sentiment largely being that the crowd would absolutely go in for something bigger and longer.


All Hail The Yeti


On paper, the metalcore wail of All Hail The Yeti would be perfect as the back-up to 36 Crazyfists, not least because the formula of big riffs and massive choruses has done the Alaskans plenty of favours over the past 24 years. In practice though, the sound of AHTY seems to earn the disapproval of detractors and tonight there are enough out that it quickly becomes apparent that the band are up against it to try and impress the crowd. Making matters worse, the Academy sound system takes a characteristic turn for the worse, completely burying the guitars in the mix so that the only musical accompaniment comes courtesy of low-end bass and drums, completely neutering the riffs before the band have even started.


Even so, they put on an impassioned performance, vocalist Connor Garritty snarling each song with the power and energy that would do Corey Taylor or Ivan Moody proud. As good as songs like ‘Before The Flames’ and ‘Mr. Murder’ (complete with guest vocals from Mr. Lindow himself) are, they need the riffs to really deliver the electricity needed to really excite. Without it we’re just left feeling like we’re listening to the records from outside the venue, largely neutered of any enjoyment that could be had.


36 CrazyFists


The latter-day story of 36 Crazyfists has largely been coloured by adversity and eventual triumph over the same, and tonight is no different. Sound issues have clearly been addressed between bands and 36CF are fighting fit as they lunge into ‘Lanterns’ opener ‘Deathwish’ and incite absolute rapture for the next hour and a half. Golden oldies sit pretty alongside brutal new cuts as the band power through some heavy hitters right from the off, dropping ‘At The End of August’ and ‘Wars to Walk Away From’ to set up the first sing-alongs of the night. Its testament to their songwriting prowess that the old songs still sound fresh compared to the muscular power of ‘Lanterns’ era material, whilst it speaks worlds of their talent for insanely catchy choruses that fans are singing along to both ‘August’ and ‘Wars’ despite the former having a 14 year head-start on the latter.


Ubiquity is so seldom achieved by modern metal bands and yet, when 36 Crazyfists were on the way up that was the way of the world. As such it’s a unique and genuine thrill to sing along to the likes of ‘The Heart and The Shape’ and (mass favourite) ‘Bloodwork’ alongside a sold-out crowd, Brock clearly caught up in the moment as he gives over singing duties to a roaring crowd. Grinning from ear to ear, Brock and co. are like kids in a candy store as they blast out genuine belters like ‘Better To Burn’ and ‘Also Am I’, living it up completely as the energy of the crowd and the band forms a symbiotic relationship – as one rises, so does the other. Brock has one of the most inimitable voices in metal, put on full display on tunes like ‘Below The Graves’ and ‘Time and Trauma’ as he delivers each song with incredible force and emotional vulnerability.


36 CrazyFists


A short encore break sees the band come back on with Alice In Chains’ ‘We Die Young’, the band playing tribute to another inimitable group. US setlists usually cut off after the closing roar of ‘Slit Wrist Theory’, but clearly chuffed on the sheet excitement of the crowd he is playing to, Brock leads the band through two more numbers before the show ends, in the heavy-as-all-hell ‘Sleepsick’ and ‘Eightminutesupsidedown’, a choice cut from the band’s first record.


After chatting with Brock, it’s clear that he truly values European audiences, citing the interest and passion for the band being much higher this side of the Atlantic. Looking around at a completely sold-out, passionate crowd (with few phones in sight), it’s hard to argue with that assessment, the band having arrived to a crowd who literally hung from every note. While some bands might take this as a note to kick back and relax a little, let the crowd do some of the work, 36 Crazysfists turn the dial up another few notches, thundering through a set which is sure to delight fans old and new alike. 


PHOTO CREDIT: All photos © Allan Maxwell/Über Rock. Photos taken at The Cathouse, Glasgow. You can view our full gallery of photographs HERE.


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