Last week Cancer Bats and While She Sleeps came to Birmingham for a co-headlining show at the Institute in Digbeth. Eager fans were already queuing outside the venue hours before the show in the spring sunshine.
The first band of the night was female-fronted Oathbreaker [7/10] from Belgium. The singer did not show her face to the audience for the entirety of their set. Their atmospheric and heavy sound was complimented by the lighting. The audience’s reaction to the band’s set was difficult to gauge.
Next up was melodic hardcore band Hundredth [9/10] from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. By the time they took the stage, the main room of the Institute was almost entirely full. Almost as soon as the band launched into their first song, a mosh pit opened up. They played their new song, ‘Unravel,’ (from their forthcoming album FREE) that had come out the day before and some audience members already knew the words. During their last song, the singer got into the crowd and moshed with the audience, which was really cool. The only downside of Hundredth’s set was an overabundance of strobe lights, but that is the venue’s fault, not the band’s.
Then it was time for While She Sleeps [10/10] to take the stage. The crowd roared loudly as they came on. The band opened up with ‘New World Torture’ off their new album Brainwashed, which was released that week. One of the highlights of the set was when they played ‘Seven Hills,’ and almost everyone sang along. It was slightly disappointing that they only played one song off The North Stands For Nothing, but understandable given they just released a new album. The songs off the new album sounded fantastic live and a large portion of the audience seemed to already be familiar with the songs despite their newness. Despite having recently taken time off touring due to their frontman Loz Taylor having throat surgery, the band was in top form.
Finally Cancer Bats [10/10] took the stage. They opened up with ‘Arsenic in the Year of the Snake’ off their recently released fifth studio album, Searching For Zero. The songs off the new album were received well by the audience and it was clear many fans were already familiar with them. But, the band thankfully was careful not to ignore their older material in favor of the new album. They were extremely energetic and interacted well with the audience. Frontman Liam Cormier clearly loves what he does so much, which is part of what makes Cancer Bats such a fantastic live band. When they played a cover of ‘Sabotage’ by the Beastie Boys, the entire room got moving. The band finished with a cover of Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’ in honor of being in Birmingham.
The night was absolutely fantastic. Each band was unique in style from the others, but similar enough that it was cohesive. All of the bands put on a great performance and the audience’s enjoyment was clear through their dancing and singing along.