Date: June 25th, 2016
Venue: Fibber Magees, Dublin
Line-up: Pain in Vain + Until Dark + Call to Arms + Heel of Achilles + Of No Avail + Order Sixty Six + Skies Behind
There are many milestones to be reached when you’re starting out in a band, from your first show to music videos or releases. Since forming last year, the young guys in Pain in Vain have been working towards this day, the day they release their very first EP Leave Me. To help join them in the festivities and to officially launch the EP, they’ve been joining by a host of some of the youngest and brightest bands across the country.
Kicking off today’s proceedings were Skies Behind, a pop-punk outfit from Cork. Their set was mainly made up of covers from genre classics from Blink 182 and Paramore, while throwing in a Bring me the Horizon cover to fit in a little better among the other heavier bands. A late start meant their set was cut a little short which vocalist Daniel Sheedy said was probably a good thing since they weren’t metal enough for the crowd. A special mention to drummer Conor McCarry who was hugely energetic and could keep up with even Travis Barker’s frantic pace.
From the bubbly opening act to something a little heavier, Order Sixty Six took to the stage with gusto. Their metallic hardcore sound echoed their contemporaries in Terror, Stick to your Guns, etc. Vocalist Ross Corlett was self-determined and proud of his band, often enthusiastic of performing certain songs as his favourites. Corlett favoured a raspy bark with some guttural lows. This music seemed more to the audiences tastes and had started to loosen them up a little.
Newcomers Of No Avail took advantage of their newly warmed up crowd with vocalist Adam Kavanagh demanding their attention to the front. The band played a number of cover song much to the crowds delight, now I’m no deathcore aficionado so I only recognised a pair of Suicide Silence tracks. Their earlier enticement for people to move up paid off for them as it became carnage soon after with a number of circle pits and walls of death bouncing people around the room.
Heel of Achilles were one of two bands who made the trip down from Belfast to play at today’s show. The group suffered from some technical issues arising from their guitars and one of the microphones which slightly delayed their start but they didn’t let that deter them. Showing the newer groups how it’s done belting out tracks from their latest single ‘Scarecrows’ to earlier songs like ‘Hidden Holocaust’. The crowd numbers had thinned somewhat but that didn’t make the slightest difference with just a much carnage as before, just with less people.
Call to Arms isn’t a band that needs much of an introduction, they’re arguably one of the most popular young bands on the scene right now and their performance today shows why. Vocalist Dean Donnelly turns into a beast once he hits that stage, encouraging the crowd to draw closer, they jump into their set. Tracks like ‘Imprisoned Darkness’ and ‘The Core’ get the crowd going and barking back up the words with Dean. A minor mishap with guitarist Niall Ennis and a cut-up hand caused his to mess up at some point with Dean telling us how they like to let people know by screaming “Fuck you” at them, which they crowd gladly obliged to.
The first mention I heard of Until Dark was when Heel of Achilles vocalist Patrick Scanlon started to get rather giddy on stage that they had brought 8-string guitars with them. Until Dark were very much on the progressive side of things rather than the crowd pleasing core elements we’d seen throughout the day but this was a welcome change of pace. Vocalist Tom Ward had an impressive range, from the metalcore bark like the other bands to some melodic singing and even rapping at one stage.
Headliners Pain in Vain wanted to make the most of their opportunity, after all this isn’t the sort of milestone to take lightly. There were various cameras and recording material set up to capture the performance. Frontman Mikey O’Riordan wanted the crowd as riled up as he could manage by trying his best to get everyone on the floor, even if he was sounding a little aggravated after the first couple of times. As expected the band were keen to show off their new material by playing tracks off their debut EP Leave Me, it was a combination of classic metalcore with melodic metal thrown in for some variety. The crowd wouldn’t have been well-versed in their newer songs just yet so they threw in a few covers to keep the interest, notably Slipknot’s ‘Surfacing’ and Parkway Drive’s ‘Carrion’.
Not one for wanting the crowd to waver, Mikey was throwing himself it the pits to ensure they kept moving and, if not, he made them move again. Compared to Mikey’s over-enthusiasm it was easy to lose track of the other band members getting lost in his dust on the stage. Despite a well-played performance one aspect struck out for me and that was Mikey’s clean vocals, no matter how well intentioned they simply sounded a little flat and lifeless. However, this didn’t seem like an opinion the crowd shared in as they were eager to sing along to the band’s latest single ‘Beneath Waves’ which closed out the show.