Apologies to the lovely chaps in RSJ for not making it in time to catch their opening set, but a man’s got to eat at some point during the day. Especially when said day is bound to involve some daft drinking behaviour due to some unexpected good news earlier on (congratulations to Nathan and Ana!). Still, I’m reliably informed they did a grand job of firing up a pretty packed Underworld for what has been a highly-anticipated return for both earthtone9 and the headliners.
So, fed properly and a few beers down already, it was time for earthtone9 [4/5] to hit the stage. This was the first time I’d seen them since their return to activity last year, and the early part of their set was a little underwhelming due to some frankly awful sound – muddy and quiet is not the way to experience this band, and it seemed as if it was affecting their performance a little, making for a slightly restrained affair. Thankfully, the murk lifted fairly quickly to reveal them powering through a set full of classics, with Karl Middleton in full imperious form. Particular highlights were a vicious run-through of their recent cover of Entombed‘s ‘Wolverine Blues’ and a triumphant, glorious ‘Tat Twam Asi’ replete with mass singalongs from the crowd.
Now, the last two times (at the same venue on the Imprint tour, and the ill-fated Tattoo The Planet mini-fest thingy) I was supposed to see Vision Of Disorder [5/5] the shows were cancelled. Knowing they were at least in the right part of the country after they tweeted a picture of the venue was a huge relief, given this minor habit of disappointing me! Their latest album (reviewed by Chris Ward here) is a slamming, riff-laden return to the form that saw them defining the metalcore scene at the turn of the century, and even contains some of their best songs yet – no small feat, given the quality of their earlier records.
Having had my mind set to rest by The Cursed Remain Cursed and its collection of brutalising metallic hardcore, all that remained was to see the band perform these new songs live and I wasn’t let down one bit. Tonight was simply this: a setlist drawn from all of their albums, including a solid selection of stuff from the latest, delivered with their trademark high-energy stage presence and a positively feral performance from frontman Tim Williams. Sounds like a good time, right? The assembled crowd in The Underworld certainly thought so – a sea of flailing arms and legs that didn’t stop unless the last note faded away was the result of VoD starting to play, and, like all the best shows, both crowd and band fed off each other’s energy to explosive effect. Next time they come around, you’d be mental to miss it – I’ll be there, for sure.