Having kicked off the trip round Europe the night before in Germany, Impericon’s Never Say Die! Tour rolled into Wolverhampton for the first UK show. This year’s venue, the Slade Rooms, was quite small considering the size of the tour in previous years, O2 Academy 2 the last two years, and the O2 Academy 1 the year before that. To see its size being consistently decreased is unfortunate. But, given that this year’s line-up however was a very niche one, consisting of primarily hardcore bands, the choice of a smaller venue was not too surprising.
Having arrived fairly late due to other business, we only caught the tail end of Capsize’s set, but from what we saw, the audience seemed to receive them well. Next up were No Bragging Rights [7/10]. Considering how empty the room was, they put on an enthusiastic and strong performance, sprinkled with small interludes between songs where singer Mike Perez would use the time to get across the message behind each of the songs played. The crowd responded positively to this and got behind them the best they could in their limited numbers.
Up on stage after NBR were Portuguese heavy hitters More Than A Thousand [9/10], who took to the stage with an infectiously positive attitude and right from the get-go tried to get the crowd moving and involved in their set, doing a decent job with what they had. Their sound was perhaps the most divergent from the general hardcore sound of the tour, stretching into a more metal-sounding instrumentation. This was refreshing to hear and also incredibly well done. The crowd, which was steadily growing in size, were more eager to participate as More Than A Thousand’s set went on, which made singer Vasco Ramos’ grin even bigger.
After that was Canadian metalcore band, Obey The Brave [9/10], who we were excited to see live after interviewing their vocalist Alex Erian earlier in the day. Having played on the Never Say Die! Tour in the past, they showed off their wealth of experience with performing for this sort of crowd. During our interview, Erian mentioned that the UK audiences had previously been less receptive to their music and he was hoping to change that. It appears his wishes were answered as the audience responded positively to performances of singles ‘Full Circle’ and ‘Raise Your Voice’ off the band’s new album Salvation. There were certainly people singing along to every song. The band’s passion for what they do was truly evident in their performance and they did a great job of warming the audience up for the bigger acts to come.
The first big name of the evening, Stick To Your Guns [7/10], took the stage in front of an eager audience. They definitely sounded good live and the audience was clearly enjoying their set. However, they did not engage as strongly with the audience as the other bands that played. Among the usual fan favourites, they played the recently released track ‘Nobody,’ from their forthcoming album Disobedient, which will be out in the upcoming summer.
Next up was Comeback Kid [8/10], another band who have played on past Never Say! Tours and have been hanging around on the scene for a long time now. Having seen them perform before, we knew what to expect from them and their showing was just as good as we remembered. Their set was hyped-up and energetic, and a complete cavalcade of off-beat drumming, powerful shouted vocals and loud riffs, with very little breaks in between (which may be due to the smaller set times with so many bands performing). They ended their set on the classic ‘Wake The Dead’, off their 2005 album of the same name, which was incredibly well received across the room, which had filled to the seams by this point.
L.A. hardcore veterans Terror [8/10] brought the evening to a dynamic close. The band is known for putting on a fantastic live performance and they certainly lived up to their name. They played a good mix of older favorites and newer material. The crowd went crazy for “Live By The Code,” the title track from their latest album. Throughout their set, the audience matched the band’s energy, dancing and singing along.
The show itself was amazing, and as you’d expect from hardcore bands there was a lot of passion and emotion in all their performances, which transferred well to the crowd too. There are very little gripes that anyone can have about Never Say Die’s semblance in Wolverhampton (except for maybe the abundance of hardcore dancers, who nobody would miss if a plague took them away). Overall, it was a fantastic night and the rest of the tour is sure to be just as amazing. Hopefully the success of this year’s Birmingham show will encourage them to host it at a bigger venue next year.