If you don’t like Cancer Bats, we’re not sure we can stay friends. If you also don’t like Turbowolf, well…let’d not even talk about that. If you don’t like Brutality Will Prevail…okay, we;ll let that one pass. Anyhow, all three of them packed out London’s KOKO on Friday night for Cancer Bats’ largest UK headline show to date. That’s why we’re going on about them in a spurious intro paragraph, obviously. We sent Gavin Lloyd along to see if the Bats were up to the challenge. (HINT: they were).
Six things we learnt watching Cancer Bats play their biggest UK headline show to date:
1) Brutality Will Prevail are doing just fine without Ajay. The hardcore elitists may have been bickering amongst themselves over Ajay’s departure, however Louis Gauthier provides a more than strong replacement. The band prove why those in the know have been raving about them for a while now. They hold their own on a stage much bigger than they’re used to and still sound ferocious. It’s just a shame that the early stage time sees them playing to a disappointingly sparse crowd. However those gathered at the front scream every word and the few hardcore dancing plonkers have a whale of a time.
2) The Turbowolf fanbase is much bigger than you may expect. They have been slogging away on the toilet scene for a while now but it clearly hasn’t gone unnoticed. The room dramatically fills up to what is near capacity, even more impressive when you take into account the band take to the stage before eight o’clock. Furthermore the Bristol mob’s retro take on the punk n roll template brings the party vibes early doors and those gathered here to watch them spend little time in starting the mosh pits. Despite their being old-hands on the circuit, it’s a night of new things for Turbowolf – not only does new bassist, Lianna Davies, make her live debut, but the band preview the first of the new songs they’ve been busty working away on in Bristol since last October. ‘American Mirrors’ is a mischievous little number that slips into the ‘wolf’s set like it had always been there.
3) Chris Georgiadis is one of the most unique and charismatic front men this country has provided us with in a long time. Whether he’s flailing around the stage in his eye catching shirt with hair everywhere or conducting hilarious call and responses from the crowd, he proves himself a bona fide rock star that’s just waiting for everyone else to catch up. Alongside the rest of the band with their unique style and reckless disregard for fitting in, it makes them one of the most effortlessly cool bands around today.
4) Cancer Bats have a lot of bangers. It’s not until you see them playing a set that includes songs from all four of their albums (plus their early demo) that you realise they’re yet to drop a clanger. It’s no secret that they are on tour a lot but with the wealth of quality material on offer there’s no signs of anyone getting bored any time soon. This results in a set with no let up in pace and the scenes that greet the closing triple threat of ‘Sabotage’, ‘Hail Destroyer’ and ‘R.A.T.S’ are nothing short of ridiculous.
5) Liam Cormier lives up to his nice guy reputation and his passion for his fans has resulted in a crowd that cling on to his every word. As he clambers into the masses to the resounding chants of “CAN-CER BATS!” ringing out from the crowd post show it’s a shame not more “rock stars” are as genuine as he is. Not many people think Cancer Bats are “just ok” and it makes you question why they’re playing below the likes of Coal Chamber and Five Finger Death Punch at Download.
6) The band are no longer underdogs and are in fact big enough to play a packed out KOKO. Okay, that may have been obvious due to the gig being booked in the first place, but what is the band’s biggest gig to date was a resounding success. Bands have been booked to play big venues before their time and get subsequently swallowed up by them in the past, but Cancer Bats own the stage and love every second of it. They still having the excitement and fresh feeling of a new band, but with the ability and range to put together a killer setlist. It may have been their biggest show to date but it’s hard not to imagine the band going on to even bigger and better things.
Cancer Bats @ KOKO – 15 March 2013 setlist:
Bricks & Mortar
Trust No One
Lucifer’s Rocking Chair
Sleep This Away
Black Metal Bicycle
Sonic Mind Assault
Scared to Death
Pray for Darkness
Sabotage (Beastie Boys cover)