We are Stronger than Before’ Miss May I Euro Tour with support from Currents, Fit for a King, Void of Vision.
So I’m new to this game and had no idea of what to expect. Camera gear – check……phone and ID…….check……route to a venue that I’ve never been to before……check…..ear plugs…nah!!
I thought I was prepared for my first night of doing photography and a review for Rock N Load, but little did I know how hard it would actually be. I mean, how could I write a review on four international Metalcore bands that I had never heard of? I’d checked out Void of Vision and Miss May I on good ‘ole YouTube beforehand to see what kind of music they produced and to be honest, I started to get pretty excited at the prospect of photographing them from what I had seen. Ok, I have to be the first to admit that Metalcore isn’t usually my bag, but despite this, these kinds of bands always look full of energy and know how to get the crowd roaring. With Miss May I headlining, I knew it was going to be a cracker of a night.
The Exchange is a small venue in the centre of Bristol known for hosting many types of gigs. As I rocked up with my kit and spoke to the doorman to get my pass, I couldn’t help noticing that compared to others, I was perhaps a little overdressed for the evening. I knew it was going to be hot and dark but I’d prepared myself as much as I could. I purchased a sweet cider, handed in my jacket and made my way to the front by the stage to get set up. As usual, I got a few stares from people, so I pulled the camera out of my bag and created an imaginary bubble around me that people couldn’t touch…..hopefully.
As the first sound check got underway, I took a few snaps to test the light…..yep, as expected, not great and only consisted of one red and white spotlight. A bit of a photographers nightmare really and I began to worry my lenses wouldn’t cut the mustard. But I was ready to go.
First on stage were Currents from Conneticut, USA featuring Brian Wille on vocals, Dee Cronkite on bass, Chris Wiseman on guitar and Jeff Brown on the skins. For some unknown reason I had expected all of the supporting bands to be from the UK, but these were a young bunch of dudes who I would never have pictured being in a Metal band. As I placed myself as near to the stage as I could, the crowd started to get twitchy whilst each member from the band grabbed their weapon of choice and tuned up. Last band member on stage was vocalist Brian Wille, who I couldn’t help but think looked like the ‘Ed Sheeran’ of the Metalcore world. As he introduced the band, the crowd squeezed together and the night started with the Currents first track Apnea. I always think it’s tough for support bands, with a crowd that would usually be gagging for the headliners to appear. But it was quite visible that this wasn’t the case. Brian kept the crowd moving for the rest of the set whilst I looked on amazed, wondering where ’that’ voice came from. Leaning over the crowd with a dripping brow, that mighty voice of his had given the crowd a taste of what was to come and wanting more. To finish the set, bassist Ryan O’Leary from Fit for a King made a guest appearance supporting Brian on vocals.
Next up was Void of Vision, who’ve been hitting the heavy music scene since 2013. Based in Melbourne Australia, members Jack, Mitch, George and James have been doing some serious national tours and have built up a vast fan base with the intention to hit it hard in Europe. It didn’t take vocalist Jack long to emit his energy on stage, giving me a run for my money trying to get a decent shot of him. Dressed in an oversized shirt and baseball cap, he impulsively jumped from one side of the stage to the other. Reeling them in with some guttural lyrics, Jack enticed the crowd to form the ‘pit’, setting the scene for the rest of the night. It was clear that Void of Vision meant business and were there to make their mark. I couldn’t keep still any longer and as I tried to get any kind of shot, I found myself moving with the crowd. The sound was mind-blowing and I was starting to appreciate why they had such a following. I’m far from an expert on this genre of music, but from the atmosphere that had been created, Void of Vision with their powerful presence are certainly a band to keep a close eye on.
The room emptied as the crowd hit the bar to get watered and I stood sweating ready for the next round. On came the band members of Fit for a King – a four-piece band from Dallas, Texas, with Ryan Kirby on vocals, Ryan O’Leary on bass, Bobby Lynge on guitar and Jared Easterling on drums. Having several albums under their belt, the band are well established in the metal scene. As they were all geared up ready to make some noise, the room quickly filled up. The crowd had loosened up by this time and I had a feeling that the night was about to get raucous, so I moved to the front, keeping my hands tight around my camera.
Soon enough, the frenzied crowd were raising their hands miming lyrics to each track. Full of vigour, bassist Ryan O’Leary knocked out some twisted and heavy bass lines then praised the ladies who had entered the pit, whilst Ryan Kirby undoubtedly packed a punch with his vocals and kept the crowd buzzing. The music I was hearing was edgy. Fit for a King were raw…and I liked it….a lot.
Whilst the crowd waited patiently for the last sound check, System of a Down’s ‘Angels deserve to Die’ rang out through the PA and the crowd sang along. It was like they had become one. Finally, the wait was over as Miss May I took the stage. From Ohio, USA, the band formed in 2007 and have a major following with some of their material even being used in productions such as Saw V1. They were Metalcore royalty. Comprising of Ryan Neff on bass, BJ Stead on guitar and Jerod Boyd on drums, lead vocalist Levi Benton needed no introduction. They wasted no time breaking into their first track of the night and I became eager to catch a shot of Levi with that mane of hair. But despite trying to remain in one place, I soon got pushed back by the mesmerised crowd. There was no uncertainty that the crowd were having a good night, but I was thinking of hitting the road. My memory cards were full and my eyes were tired and as I headed back home I learnt that I’d lost the hearing in my left ear. ‘Tog’ ear, we call it…..that’s the sign of a good night!
Review & Photography
Pacific Curd Photography