It’s the first Killswitch Engage w/ Jesse Leach London show ever and their first gig over here since Download Festival last summer and it’s well and truly sold out. It’s more than just a homecoming. Is this the gig of 2013? At least until their appearance at Hevy Festival this summer…
Pre-gig meal: Wahaca. Pork pibil tacos, steak tacos, corn and a celebratory Cinco de Mayo margarita.
Top 6 things we learnt watching Jesse Leach & Killswitch Engage in London…
1) This set is flawless. Starting with a new one (‘The Hell In Me’), moving onto The End of Heartache (‘A Bid Farewell’) and then Alive or Just Breathing (‘Fixation on the Darkness’), it’s one of the best opening trios of songs I’ve ever seen. The best thing is that Killswitch don’t play a single bum song for the whole set. That’s 18 songs of pure gold, by the way. Flawless. It’s the kind of set that leaves you in anticipation of their next gig.
2) Jesse sings Howard’s songs better than Howard. It’s a bit of a shame, really, but it’s just true. Take the best tracks from The End of Heartache, for instance – ‘Rose of Sharyn’ and the title track. The lines are delivered with just as much power and verve as when Howard first wowed us with the clarity of his vocal cords but there’s an added grit and guile about how Jesse’s voice wraps itself around the words. He also delivers his lines from the first two and the new album exceptionally. He knows how to make the pit erupt
3) Ironically, we didn’t really need either Jesse or Howard because we sing every single line back. Killswitch are one of the most eminently sing-alongable bands. It’s the most fun and everyone sings along for the whole gig. The whole gig.
4) Adam D has toned down his clowning around. We’re used to seeing him drop fat riffs wearing a tutu or a superhero outfit but tonight, in a black t-shirt apart from hitting some bottles into the crowd at one point, he simply uses the power of the riff to compel the crowd into some ridiculous moshing. The way he uses humour onstage often distracts from just how good a guitarist he really us. Tonight, he doesn’t take the focus off either Jesse or his own class, so high five to him.
5) Sylosis play a great set and sound excellent tonight, receiving a solid reaction, but look awkward when they get up onstage for Killswitch’s encore and don’t really sing along to ‘My Last Serenade’. Luckily, they were the perfect warm-up for the headliner. The Reading tech-thrashers have some excellent songs under their belts now but have also toured for long enough for there to be familiarity. Hopefully they’ll be stepping up to this level themselves, sooner rather than later.
6) All things combines, this is the best gig of 2013. Considering that I’ve seen Fall Out Boy @ The Underworld, Def Leppard @ Hard Rock Cafe, Las Vegas and… Girls Aloud @ The O2, there’s a lot of wild and varied competition for that title. There’s no doubt about it. If there was any anticipation around this gig, it certainly didn’t disappoint. It’ll be remembered for years to come.