Reviews

Cancer Bats: 30 May 2013 - Dublin, Ireland

Photo Credit: Joseph Gibbons

This is a punk rock show, and it's exactly where Cancer Bats feel most at home.

Hoax

Cancer Bats + Gacy's Threads + Hoax

City: Dublin, Ireland
Venue: The Academy
Date: 2013-05-30

Since the release of last year’s Dead Set On Living, Cancer Bats have a cool confidence about them. By far the band’s best record to date, Dead Set On Living was full of well written songs; the craft honed from examining the song-writing of Black Sabbath when the band was learning covers for their Bat Sabbath shows. Such attention to how Iommi structured his immaculate riffs and the interplay between Ward and Butler really filtered through; albeit, in the context of a catchy metallic hardcore record. Add this greater understanding of song-writing to their 365-days-a-year touring habit and what you are left with is a tighter Cancer Bats armed to the hilt with awesome songs.

The band has always made a point of playing Ireland when touring Europe; in fact, tonight is the band’s third time to play the basement room of Dublin’s Academy. But the odd thing is, Cancer Bats Irish fan-base does not include your straight-up, leather-jacketed metal-heads. Maybe it’s the band’s name; maybe they are turned of because of the band's existing Irish fans—a mix of faux-punks, hardcore kids, and hipsters. It could also be because of the grey area that exists for bands that span the punk, hardcore, and metal divide; never owning one scene. Whatever the reason, the metal-heads of Ireland are missing out on a band whose heavy riffs, if given a half the chance, would surely endear themselves.

Openers Hoax have no problems endearing themselves to the crowd tonight. The London based five-piece are entertaining to watch, and their brand of post-hardcore—think Glassjaw, letlive.—really makes an impression. There are plenty of quirky intricacies to the music that recalls the likes of Adebisi Shank, and in bearded frontman Adam Carroll, they have a vocalist who can actually sing as well as entertain the crowd. Tonight is a warm up to the band’s first appearance at Download Festival; if they play like this, these guys have the potential to make quite a bit of noise in the post-hardcore scene.

With the bright hooks and knotted melodies out of the way, Belfast’s Gacy’s Threads tear through a set full of no nonsense hardcore. There is little in the way of variation besides the odd injection of d-beat speed, but the band’s intensity more than makes up for it. Vocalist Aaron Vance prowls the stage like a pitbull and judging by how he humbly thanks the crowd for listening, his bark appears much worse than his bite. The band’s set is the equivalent of banging your head against a brick wall and even though the crowd remains surprisingly static, the cheers at the end say enough.

There are plenty of cheers at the ready once the siren call and opening drum beat of “R.A.T.S” signals the arrival of Cancer Bats onto the small stage. The Ontario, Canada natives are in rowdy form tonight and it doesn't take long for the excitement to seep into the crowd. Screaming while arched over the barrier and flanked by guitarist Scott Middleton and bassist Jaye R. Schwarzer with drummer Mike Peters dropping his heavy handed beats from the rear, frontman Liam Cormier is a whirlwind of lank hair and positive vibes. He screams, "This wasn't the life that I planned," into the faces of the front row during "Road Sick", and by the smile stretched across his face at the end of each song and his friendly banter with the crowd, Cormier seems content with his lot.

The songs from Dead Set On Living really are another class and receive the best reaction tonight. But the band refuse to forget their roots and dedicate one of their earlier songs, "Shillelagh", to their Irish fans who respond by whipping up a circle pit around a load bearing pillar. Middleton's pole-axing riffs stand as Cancer Bats' own pillar of sound and his driving force is no more apparent than when you see the band live. The guitarist is not much of a showman and is the most reserved out of the bunch, content to head bang at the back while effortlessly unleashing riff after glorious riff; "Sorceress", for example, containing more squeals than an abattoir. His playing on "Bricks and Mortar", "Old Blood", and the Corrosion of Conformity homage, "Lucifer's Rocking Chair", sets the place in motion; especially during the latter, as the crowd come close to suffering a mass contusion as they pogo up and down inches away from the low ceiling. "Deathsmarch" is a rally call in a live setting with its defiant refrains of "Hey world, you'll never break me," shouted back at the sweat-drenched Cormier with gusto by the crowd. And it wouldn't be a Cancer Bats show without the ubiquitous Beastie Boys cover, "Sabotage", which goes down as well as expected only to be outdone by a furious rendition of "Hail Destroyer". With tonight's show a definitive success, the open road beckons again for this pack of metal lifers, and it's safe to say they will be welcomed back to The Academy's basement with open arms for a fourth show down the line.

Hoax

Gacys Threads

Cancer Bats

Cancer Bats

Cancer Bats

7

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less
9
TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less
9

If space is time—and space is literally time in the comics form—the world of the novel is a temporal cage. Manuele Fior pushes at the formal qualities of that cage to tell his story.

Manuele Fior's 5,000 Km Per Second was originally published in 2009 and, after winning the Angouléme and Lucca comics festivals awards in 2010 and 2011, was translated and published in English for the first time in 2016. As suggested by its title, the graphic novel explores the effects of distance across continents and decades. Its love triangle begins when the teenaged Piero and his best friend Nicola ogle Lucia as she moves into an apartment across the street and concludes 20 estranged years later on that same street. The intervening years include multiple heartbreaks and the one second phone delay Lucia in Norway and Piero in Egypt experience as they speak while 5,000 kilometers apart.

Keep reading... Show less
7

Featuring a shining collaboration with Terry Riley, the Del Sol String Quartet have produced an excellent new music recording during their 25 years as an ensemble.

Dark Queen Mantra, both the composition and the album itself, represent a collaboration between the Del Sol String Quartet and legendary composer Terry Riley. Now in their 25th year, Del Sol have consistently championed modern music through their extensive recordings (11 to date), community and educational outreach efforts, and performances stretching from concert halls and the Library of Congress to San Francisco dance clubs. Riley, a defining figure of minimalist music, has continually infused his compositions with elements of jazz and traditional Indian elements such as raga melodies and rhythms. Featuring two contributions from Riley, as well as one from former Riley collaborator Stefano Scodanibbio, Dark Queen Mantra continues Del Sol's objective of exploring new avenues for the string quartet format.

Keep reading... Show less
9
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image