Your Demise

support Stick To Your Guns + Break Even + Letlive
author BL date 20/02/11 venue Talking Heads, Southampton, UK

I think for most people, the star of the show tonight was to be Your Demise, that band has exploded over the course of the last year and even took to the US. For me though, I was actually far more interested in the support band Letlive, having listened to their debut album and of course if any of you remember TL's review of it, you might have start to understand why. To say the least, what a show they had in store for us all. Local act Bury The Betrayer played first actually, but I unfortunately missed part of the set so I omitted what I was going to say for them (but keep up the good work!).

Letlive

Letlive were most definitely the dark horse of the show tonight, not many in the crowd were even familiar with the name when it was called out and at first people weren't sure what to expect. Still, like how their simply outstanding debut album was so surprising and out of the blue, they must have sent shockwaves out that reverberated with every person in the audience when they unleashed what I would rank as one of the best live performances I have ever witnessed. Frontman Jason Aalon Butler is more or less the focal point, balancing a swaggery charismatic charm with cheeky flamboyance and out right theatrical pretense in the way he throws himself around, jumps into the pit, even running all the way around the venue floor and climbing tables and speakers. This all seems rather obnoxious, and probably would have been had he not been an outstanding vocalist; his blitzing screams and strained yells sounded like that of one bearing whole-hearted and honest conviction and passion, and his singing was the crux of delivering a more softer and soulful side, as a release from the anguish his other harsh side seems to holds deep. During one moment, he seems to make a speech out to his father, and it turns into a heartfelt, yet at times almost angry speech that was moving as it was surprising - this guy clearly sings his words from experience and it was great to see such a genuine vocalist. The rest of the band were pretty good too though - it wasn't just a one man performance, the drummer Anthony Rivera seems to live and feel his drumkit, bashing each beat like the beat of his heart, racing and pummeling with fiery venom when there is aggression and excitement but then slowing to a trickle where he adds some ghosted notes to accentuate those quieter moments. The guitar trio (as in including the bassist) seemed more reserved in comparison, but still reeked of confidence play and their performance was tight. I could go on and on, but then it would just sound more and more like fanboy praise, and while I wouldn't even consider myself one, Letlive must have got just a few, just a few of those tonight. Fantastic.

9

Break Even

Break Even are some Australian dudes trying to play some melodic hardcore/hardcore punk, and I seemed to be the only one in the crowd not familiar with them. They did impressively well to incite the crowd to go into a frenzy of flailing arms and bodies which was all that was missing from the last set due to no one being familiar with Letlive whatsoever (not that they didn't try to get involved), the only shame of the last set actually. Still, the performance of Letlive made for a feeling of fuzzy afterglow in which Break Even took advantage of the audience being in good spirit and excitable mood and offered a welcome release. Musically speaking it was fairly conventional and actually pretty simple with songs from their critically well received album "The Bright Side", nothing too outstandingly mindblowing but just simply great melodic hardcore music, lots of energy and passion expected and duly delivered. Mark Bawden may not seem so unique compared to Jason from Letlive before him and is certainly more one dimensional performing with just his yell, but still sounded strong and made a mutual interaction with the crowd, receiving back the enthusiasm he gives them lyric by lyric, fist by fist. The rest of the band mostly followed suit and just rode their way trhough looking accomplished and were well received. This is definitely a band I need to check out when I get home.
8

Stick To Your Guns

Now is where the night takes a turn for a turn for the more metallic with long time melodic hardcore/metalcore runners Stick To Your Guns. Much like the headliners, these guys should probably be considered veterans now having served a good part of over seven years experience, having started way back in 2003. "The Hope Division", their latest album didn't get a chance to be reviewed here, but from what I could gather it was a strong album that was deserving of the wide critical praise it received throughout the press. The reception to Stick To Your Guns was pretty much the same as Break Even, people screaming the words to the songs they knew, getting involved in the pit, hardcore dancing and whatnot, the place was buzzing with life and the band seemed genuinely grateful to be on the receiving end. Much like all the lead vocalists have been up til now, Jesse Barnett is no different in displaying his passion and no hesitance to display his masterful display of his vocals, rallying the fans in the audience to his cause and laying down the rules of engagement with authority. Though that said he certainly seemed exhausted by the end, and let the audience invade the stage to finish off the short but fun and definitely sweet "This Is More". Bring on Your Demise, what a crowd do they have to play for tonight.
8

Your Demise

By the time Your Demise managed to get running, I was a little surprised at how much stamina the people here tonight had to keep the explosive crowd reaction going with just as much intensity, and if anything it peaked right here. From the get go with opening song "MMX", The noise level was just so earth shatteringly loud I could literally only barely make out the music at all but nevermind that, this show was seriously becoming something else. Vocalist Ed McRae while no doubt looked the real deal with the way he moved around like a super excitable child jumping and bustling, had most of his vocal work done for him from the audience. So what is there to say? Well Your Demise have certainly come a long way even from the two times I have already seen them; their travels from abroad certainly turning these guys into a live force to be reckoned with. I am by no means an avid listener of the hardcore/punk genre but "The Kids We Used To Be.." was a solid effort that really put them on the map as a British hardcore powerhouse that was even tempting enough to bring them to America for the overseas crowd to enjoy. I have to say that for a place like Talking Heads, the venue certainly can't have seen more action than it did tonight. People must have invaded the stage more than half a dozen times and by the end the band were literally surrounded with a mob of fans screaming and shouting the words. I'm sure it will be a memorable event for Your Demise to remember that Southampton holds them ever so dear.

To see the rest of the photos, check out Lauren Harris Photography's facebook page.

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