Posted by Sam Woodgate.
Reviewed on 25th September 2011.
Live at The Well on Monday, 19th September 2011
It's gutting to see that The Well is, at best, half full for tonight, not just because this show features 5 of the best up-and-coming heavy bands the UK has to offer, but because all this available to you for a mere six pounds. It's disheartening to say the least, but at least those who turned up know a good thing when they see it - it's therefore a mystery as to why so few people get into Carcer City's quality set. There's the odd bit of dancing here and there, but the response from the majority of the audience is fairly muted, which is a shame considering how good they are for an opening band. Still, the Scouse bruisers don't let this derail them, and tear through the remainder of their set with real ferocity, the kind of which will see them destroy audiences left right and centre on another night. Hopefully they'll be rewarded with some real enthusiasm before too long, because they've certainly earned it, based on tonight's offerings.
The threat of an apathetic crowd poses no such problem for Demoraliser, who threaten to completely upstage every band on the bill with their crushing, brilliant set of chugging metalcore, which goes down an absolute storm with those assembled. Wasting no time in unleashing the big guns, the band tear straight into recent single 'Bitter Springs', stirring up plenty of movement down the front of the venue, the amount of which is surpassed only by the number of voices bellowing along with James Dexter's down the microphone at every opportunity. As usual, 'Blood Meridian' provides the biggest sing-a-long of their set, and possibly of the evening itself; it's an astonishing feat, especially from a band so far down the bill, but the message is clear- either get on board or out of the way, because there's no stopping Demoraliser's meteoric rise right now.
So, how do you go about topping a set as good as that? Well, if you're Martyr Defiled, completely flattening the competition with a vicious set of technical deathcore seems like a fairly good idea, and when you have monstrous slabs of brutality such as 'Netherwitch' at your disposal you're always likely to be popular with the pit. New songs such as 'Isolate' are well received by the faithful, but it's the oldest cuts, such as the aforementioned 'Netherwitch' which really stir the floor up into a frenzy. Songs like 'An Act Of Sedition' pack even more punch live than on record, and vocalist Mat Jones is bundled off his mic time and time again by fans eager to add their own voices to the mix. Finishing with a flawless rendition of 'Flawless' (...) proves to be the jewel in the crown of their set, and as the room surges forward for the now almost legendary cry of 'Finish Him!', it becomes apparent just how popular Martyr Defiled have become in recent times, and with displays as crushing as this, you'd find it hard to begrudge them of it.
The Eyes Of A Traitor could of have their work cut out trying to follow such strong sets, but they play with real aggression and determination and don't let the pace of the gig drop one bit. As with Carcer City, the crowd seem more curious than energetic, but it's to the band's credit that they doesn't let this slow them down one bit - tracks from 2009's 'A Clear Perception' are well received by the crowd, and by the end of their set they've drawn the crowd forward by a fair bit, and justified their position as main support even on night as good as this. After a while off the radar for many people (myself included) it's great to see Traitor are back, and every bit as vicious as before.
Even more people have buggered off by the time that Heart in Hand take to the stage, to the extent that there's even less people here than there were at the beginning of the night; no matter, though, because Heart In Hand don't need sold-out shows to shine brightly. Tonight the band are on fire, especially in the form of hyperactive frontman Charlie Holmes, who spend his half-hour onstage (or rather offstage) jumping off whatever he can get on top of, screaming in punters' face or just whipping the pit up into a whirlwind of 2-stepping and dancing that'll bust your nose if you stand too close. It's a ferocious show of intent from the South Coast mob, and one which leaves a mass of bruised bodies and ringing ears in its wake- as the band sign off with an incredible 'Only Memories', you can't help but be drawn in by their wonderfully melodic style of hardcore, and with Charlie ending the set by flinging himself off one of the speaker towers, you're reminded that there's plenty of life left in hardcore yet.
It's slightly depressing to think that none of these bands will be headlining Brixton anytime soon, but for those who care, they'll be tearing up venues like The Well for as long as people are interested; and judging by the calibre of tonight's show, Leeds will welcome them back with open arms anytime.
It was recently revealed that plans had been made to transform The Well from a live music venue into a restaurant; anyone who's ever been will know how vital the part that The Well plays in developing music on not just a local, but a national scale, is.
Please do your bit for The Well by signing the online petition to keep it as a venue, or by attending the all-day "Save The Well" event scheduled for the 7th of January; it would be a crime to lose such a great venue, and it's hard to imagine a music scene without it. Thankyou for your time.