Most bands have felt the effects of the pandemic on their touring schedule – especially tonight’s headliners Loathe. The Liverpool four-piece released their critically acclaimed debut record I Let It In And It Took Everything just as the pandemic began to rear its ugly head. The band began to tour the record, but then had to sit back and wait nearly two years to continue its live rollout. Tonight, they’re making up for lost time by playing it live in full.
Joining them on this journey is the electro-influenced post-hardcore outfit Modern Error. The brainchild of twin brothers Zak and Kel Pinchin, on record the band rely heavily on how their dynamic music is produced, so it is exciting to see how this concept works in a live environment. Unfortunately though there’s a sense of disconnect, and the electronics rig the band use just doesn’t produce the desired effect. An element of intrigue in the musical mash-up remains, but whether it’s a technical issue or an enthusiastic audience remains to be seen.
Before the crowd can salivate over the main event, Belgium shoegaze outfit Slow Crush take to the stage and instantly make a statement. The music is beautiful yet crushing, there are layers of mesmerising duelling and harmonising guitars which almost mimic backing vocals and even take on the presence of a whole new instrument.
Slow Crush rely on a delicate balance of sombre calming sounds and hammering distorted crescendos which wash and crash over the audience, but their tour de force is the wall of sound they create backed up by Isa Holliday’s ethereal vocals. Based on this performance, it is safe to say Slow Crush will have won over some new fans on this tour.
There is a collective release of nervous energy in the air as soon as Loathe step on stage and play the first note of set opener ‘Aggressive Evolution’. The crowd erupts and true to form the band match that energy with strobe lights bursting into life and flashing in sync with every note. The visuals are effective in amplifying every track, and vocalist Kadeem France has charisma for days – the crowd hang on his every word.
Although Loathe play their latest record in its entirety, they make sure that they show how important every note and lyric is to them, throwing their all into their performance and giving the Bristol crowd the best experience they possibly can.
After pretending to close with the title-track of the album the band return for an encore with ‘White Hot’, and the crowd’s response to this is to give every ounce of energy they have left in appreciation of the wild night they are experiencing. For many fans, Loathe are a vital jewel in the UK heavy music crown and this performance proves it without a doubt.
Images and words: Tim Birbeck