Kicking off the night is Incite from Arizona; the room is pretty empty, but that doesn’t stop this hardcore-tinged metal band from putting their all into the performance. Starting with ‘No Remorse,’ Incite blasts their way through a half-hour set. During ‘Rightful Spot,’ we are treated to an early appearance from Cancer Bats’ own Liam Cormier on guest vocals. Front-man Richie C gets everyone in the venue to get their middle fingers up on ‘What The Fuck’, and their horns in the air for ‘The Slaughter’. The room might be near empty, but that doesn’t stop the world smallest pit breaking out for last song of the night ‘Army’
Next up are Lord Dying, who work with minimal vocals, letting the music do the talking. This three-piece from Portland play straight metal, no need for a bassist, with Nickolis Parks on the drums holding the band together, giving guitarist / vocalist Erik Olson, and guitarist Chris Evans room to show off their chugging riffs. There is little interaction between the band and crowd; instead, Lord Dying seems to be in a world of their own, most songs mixing into each other with no titles shared, and no banter in-between. In fact, we only find out the last song has been played, and finished when Olson states ‘Yeah, that’s it’ before the band leaves the stage.
Main support comes from recent Nottinghamshire residents (so recent this is their first ‘hometown’ show) Palm Reader. They play a mix of songs off albums Bad Weather (such as the stunning Noble Host), Beside The Ones We Love, and an as-yet-untitled offering, that may or may not even make it to record. The band take full advantage of the now full room. Bassist Josh Redrup flings himself around the stage, while guitarists Sam Rondeau-Smith, and Andy Gillan are surrounded by halos of hair. Vocalist Josh McKeown is front and center throughout, switching from deep growls to melodic singing with ease.
Finally, the headliners take to the stage, smashing through several songs in quick succession before taking the time to announce, for anyone who isn’t aware, ‘We are the motherfucking Cancer Bats!’ The room is a sea of nodding heads, outstretched arms and shouting voices. The aim of the game tonight, according to vocalist Liam Cormier, is to get through as many songs as possible before curfew, so follows the onslaught of crushing riffs, flashing lights and moshing bodies. Songs such as ‘Hail Destroyer’, ‘Lucifers Rocking Chair’ and a brilliantly anarchic cover of the Beastie Boys ‘Sabotage’ whip the room into a frenzy, one minute the floor opening up into a circle pit, the next bodies squashed forward, shouting back the lyrics to a delighted Cormier.
During the hour and ten minute set the band do get a few minutes of breathing time, as Liam recollects the first time Cancer Bats played Nottingham in the tiny Basement, before kicking into the ten-year old ‘French Immersion’. Part way through the set Cormier also shares with the crowd his tour long collection for a cancer charity (anyone attending the last few shows take note!) and plans to shave his head ‘to show how serious I am’ at the end of the tour. The band end the night with the ‘whoa whoa’ of ‘Satellites’.
Words and photos by Carrie-Anne Pollard