As a city with a thriving metal scene, often being cited as the hometown of metal having birthed the likes of Black Sabbath, to a start a tour in Birmingham is undoubtedly a good move. From local band Cytota to Memphis May Fire amassing a cult-like following after wowing the audiences of Slam Dunk festival and their own headline tour, every band had something new to offer to the table, providing a thoroughly entertaining show.
Birmingham based Cytota are first to take to the stage with their metalcore rabble and insightful lyrics. For an opening band, they attract quite a crowd and manage to whip the crowd into a frenzy with a lively stage presence, crashing guitars, fast rhythm and friendly banter ending their set on a high, humble looks on faces as the crowd bay for more.
It wouldn’t be a Birmingham show without a hardcore act taking to the stage, so next up are Japanese band Fact. Fact steal the show with their hardcore-punk stylings after ditching the cliché masks associated with their earlier releases and pouring all of their creativity into their music with an astounding pay off. Whilst providing a raucous and visceral show not far from early Minor Threat and Black Flag, they make the crowd laugh with anecdotes and maintain a controlled and technical edge heavily associated with metal.
The Word Alive bring their party attitude and ludicrous behaviour to the stage and tear the room apart with bodies flying two and fro, 10 people crowd-surfing in the first 5 seconds of their set (I counted, it was wicked) and the walls and floor shaking with the pure brutality of their presence. Songs both old and new enticed the crowd and their stage presence, which is almost as if choreographed with heads banging as one and synchronised wind-milling blowing the minds of many.
Not many bands could follow three perfect sets like that, but Memphis May Fire made spines chill from the first moments of their set. They enter the room in pitch black with sudden shines of light working with a heart-monitor, before shooting into hit The Deceived. Sometimes it’s almost difficult to process everything going on at once in MMF’s set, with vocalist Matty Mullins jumping from one side of the stage to another, strobe lights flashing, guitars crashing and drums pounding. The auditory and visual cacophony strangely works and it is what MMF are known for, pure passion in every note of every song. They keep this act going no matter what. Even when their kick drum pretty much explodes, they just carry on with jokes and conversations flowing at a rate unknown and leaving the room on an absolute high.