Unless you’re a resident of Bristol, the novelty of a gig in the underbelly of a boat is something to behold – particularly when the Thekla is a wonderful little venue that has a fantastic sound system: the three bands on tonight benefit from it fantastically. On arrival, with twenty minutes until doors, there’s only about 50 people outside which would suggest that it could be a little sparse inside. My predictions were thankfully proven wrong as, by the time the first band take the stage an hour later, a good number of punters are ready to watch.
That first band is Killus (6) from Spain. Despite their corpsepaint and fake contact lenses looking more suited to a university Halloween party than a metal concert, it does give them a presence and stage show element that helps you understand their inclusion on this bill; special mention to bassist Luar Fixx as well who has the smile of a maniac and the charisma to make the stage look three times its actual size as he prowls it with menace. They might have a lot of programmed backing tracks but it gives a real Marilyn Manson-esque edge to their overall sound, and the industrial stomp that they produce from their guitar playing does enough to get heads banging and the crowd jumping. A very solid start to the evening.
Talking of industrial stomp, it would take a band with the prowess of Rammstein to follow Avatar (9) tonight, who are going from strength to strength with every venture they make over here. ‘I am making myself captain of this ship and I want to sink it with you!’ cackles Johannes Eckerström as the band tear through Hail the Apocalypse, Let it Burn and Bloody Angel with pits opening up and crowd sing-a-longs aplenty. For a band who I was not particularly impressed with when seeing them very nearly a year ago open for Avenged Sevenfold, it’s a great joy to be proven wrong in such a way. The synchronised head-banging and antics from ringmaster Eckerström are finally adding to the demented circus the quintet try to bring to every single show and after finishing with Smells Like a Freakshow and Tower, it’s a mystery as to why they’re not the headliners on these shores as opposed to in Europe. They’ll be filling out venues this size and bigger when they next hit these shores.
If there’s one thing you can rely on The Defiled (7) to do, it’s give 110% at every show. Tonight is no different – they get the crowd going, they’re energetic on stage, they bring smoke machines for added effect and you begin to forget that this is their first UK tour with only four members following the departure of Aaron Curse this summer. The biggest setback from them tonight is that they had to follow Avatar; you can’t help but notice the crowd slowly thinning as the night goes on and the atmosphere deflates quite significantly which does The Defiled an injustice. Their showmanship is excellent but the Wall of Death present during Blood Sells leaves a huge chasm on the floor that isn’t properly re-filled and when frontman Stitch asks for a circle pit later on it’s executed with less than ten people. Things do pick up with Five Minutes and the encore of Sleeper and Call to Arms but by then it’s too little too late – The Defiled have, to pardon the pun, been blown right out the water.
The Defiled setlist
As I Drown
The Mourning After
No Place Like Home
A Call To Arms
Photos from concert at O2 Academy Islington on 27/11/14 by Linda Heron to view gallery on Planetmosh FlickR click here.[flickrapi user=”planet mosh” get=”photoset” id=”72157649542528005″ size=”z” count=”100″]