Live Review: Spiritbox w/Loathe and Brand Of Sacrifice at O2 Institute Birmingham!

The “Eternal Blue” tour is one of a number of recent runs that have been not only sold out but had venue upgrades, such is the clamour to witness heroes like Spiritbox. The decision to have the much loved Loathe on board for this run is astute business and gives it the feel of a co-headliner even if it’s not, meaning the fans get real value in their ticket price.

After what feels like the longest wait of all time but in reality is just over an hour, we get into the O2 Institute in Birmingham just in time to catch the start of the set from Canadian Deathcore champions Brand Of Sacrifice [8/10]. They’re a heavier opening band than one might expect but they do themselves justice having only themselves arrived at the last minute following multiple flight cancellations. The 1500 capacity venue is sold out and it’s as hot as hell which is in keeping with their fierce performance, only hampered by the lack is stage space for the band to move around. That’s partly due to a trio of drum kits being on stage but it does mean there is only room for Kyle Anderson to stalk the front of the stage like the Apex predator that he is. He’s wearing a trademark combat vest as the winds of plague escape from his throat and while by the end he looks tired, he gives absolutely everything to the performance. Cuts like “Demon King“, “Lifeblood” and “Exodus” go down a storm even this early while the absence of “Charlotte” is a surprise.

Having witnessed Loathe [9/10] as a headliner at Tech-Fest just a few days ago, tonight is a far more intimate experience. There is a lot of love for the Liverpool natives in the room and having cracked America there is the feeling that shows of this size may be few and far between going forward. Erik Bickerstaffe suffers from the failure of a wireless pack connected to his guitar early on but rise to the occasion, the band playing on as a trio uninterrupted. As with their other more recent shows “Dance On My Skin” is the only older song in the set, the band showcasing the critically acclaimed “I Let It In  And It Took Everything” with cuts like “Aggressive Evolution” and “Gored” particularly well received. Kadeem France dances around the stage between lung busting roars, his energy infectious and stage presence second to none. While other frontmen disappear behind the curtain for a few moments while not involved to have a breather, France takes a seat on the cloaked drum rig of Spiritbox and puts a towel over his head like a tennis player on Wimbledon centre court, his arms in the air, swaying like he’s conducting an orchestra, all of which adds to the spectical.

Behind the bands tonight a big screen has had a few static images but for headliners Spiritbox [10/10] they have full on visualisations to add to light canons either side of the stage. The band are received like homecoming heroes with each and every song getting the sing-a-long treatment to the point that Courtney LaPlante doesn’t even need a microphone. She puts on a sultry performance during her clean vocal moments before those trademark uncleans hit like pure fire, begining with “Rule Of Nines“, through “YellowJacket” to “Circle With Me“. The crowd sway like marionettes during the softer moments, bounce to the DJent fuelled breakdowns and even get out the mobile phone torches for a few moments, “The Mara Effect, Pt. 3” being particularly heartfelt. LaPlante reminds us that just because we look different and love different doesn’t mean we deserve any less as well as humbly stating that if her band can be on the stage, anyone can. It’s a fitting end to a wonderful night and when she announces that the band have to go, the crowd actually boo. There is still time for a joyous rendition of “Holy Roller” to bring the house down though.

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