The snapbacks and beanie hats are out in full force which can mean only one thing; there’s a hardcore band in town!
First support act Empress’ prog-metal leanings don’t exactly fit with the theme of the evening, however, and their tuneless Mastodon-lite impression fails to ignite a crowd who evidently enjoy their music shorter, sharper and, well, more tuneful. Humorously, the vocalist bore an uncanny resemblance to golfer Rory McIIroy, but despite possessing a reasonably enjoyable throat-shredding scream, I’d wager that the Ulsterman possesses a more palatable singing voice. Despite being utterly bored I did feel a twinge of sympathy for them towards the end of their set after one buffoon bellowed “you’re shit” during one of the quieter moments in their final song, which they couldn’t have failed to have heard.
Up next were Brutality Will Prevail who did their best to prove that spectacularly generic ‘tough guy’ hardcore also looks set to prevail. The folks down the front seemed to relish the opportunity to hurl themselves into each other as circle pit after circle pit started up, but perhaps I’ve just seen enough uninspired and unoriginal hardcore bands for one lifetime to find anything about this band to enjoy.
Cancer Bats have always bridged the gap between hardcore and metal with effortless ease and have thankfully avoided being bracketed alongside many of the turgid ‘metalcore’ outfits that seem to be clogging up the arteries of modern metal. Despite the two support acts doing their best to turn me into a thundering grump, Cancer Bats have clearly been doing this for long enough to ensure I’d be leaving with nothing less than a grin the size of a teenager who’s just found a jazz mag in the toilets of a service station.
‘Bricks and Mortar’ from last year’s well received ‘Dead Set on Living’ gets things off to a suitably pulsating start and the pace rarely lets up from there on in. ‘Sorceress’ and ‘Deathsmarch’ from 2008’s ‘Hail Destroyer’ are greeted like alternative national anthems and their legendary cover of Beastie Boys’ ‘Sabotage’ sees bodies diving from the stage in shapes that would impress Tom Daley.
There can’t have been many touring bands that have visited Leeds as many times in the past five years as Cancer Bats and their close association with the city is evident when charismatic frontman Liam Cormier lends his sizeable lungs to the customary chant of “Yorkshire, Yorkshire, Yorkshire”. And, after another night of bludgeoning riffs and head-spinning screams, it’s safe to say that Yorkshire will be welcoming these bats back with open arms for years to come.