Polaris // Alpha Wolf // Great American Ghost // Stepson // Live Review // The O2 Academy // Birmingham

Carrying on from the other night, I’m back once again at the O2 Academy, Birmingham for another night of ridiculously loud music. The bill for the night was ridiculously stacked, with Stepson, Great American Ghost, Alpha Wolf and headliners Polaris, who I’ve been waiting to see for longer than I can remember at this point. Upon arrival to the venue, the queue was small but excited, and that didn’t take long to change as people flooded in at a breakneck pace, all rushing to secure a slot in the venue.

Up first were Stepson, and God damn I was blown away. I’ve always loved them recorded but the atmosphere and energy they created on stage blew all my expectations out the window. Their time on stage flew by as I found myself glued to the front for the entire duration of their set. Despite it taking a couple of songs to get moving, the crowd warmed up to the Aussie metallers quickly as it didn’t take long for the pit to open up. A great band that I can see headlining a tour of the same size very soon indeed.

Great American Ghost was the next band to Grace the audience with their presence and pardon the language but fucking hell what a set. Until this show, they were just a name I’ve heard thrown around but now they’re on repeat for me, and the crowd based on the reaction I saw and heard. From endless pits, crowd surfing from the vocalist and a true onslaught of pure brutality, the entire set was truly something to behold. The stage presence was the best part of it all though, the band made that stage their own and put out one of the best performances I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing in this venue.

The main support, Alpha Wolf, soon took to the stage and at this point, I didn’t even need to guess if it would be a good performance. The crowd erupted as soon as they hit the stage and didn’t stop all set. The band played hit after hit and to the dismay of the security had the crowd in the palm of their hands as they asked for “bodies” and an endless wave of crowd surfers started heading towards the barrier instantly. It’s always impressive when bands can get fans to do whatever they want without even trying and I cannot wait to see Alpha Wolf again.

Finally, Polaris hit the stage to a level of cheers that one would expect at an international sporting event and proceeded to play yet another utterly ridiculous set that blew my expectations completely away. With an incredible stage presence, ridiculously tight performance and insane level of energy coming from the crowd, the entire set was exactly what I expected and more. Once again, security was having a difficult time thanks to crowd surfers, the pit didn’t stop once and the room was that warm thanks to all the moving bodies that my lenses steamed up 3 times during the duration of my photographing. What a set.

After Polaris’ set I headed outside to have a cigarette and wait for the bus, and for the first time actually grateful for having the rain to be cooling me down. I’ve missed working metal shows an awful lot lately and with the energy from the audience and the ridiculous levels of professionalism and musicianship from all bands playing the night, it’s safe to say this is my show of the year so far.