Cancer Bats at the Academy 2 – Review
Cancer Bats played the Academy 2 on May 30th. It was the Bats’ 5th or 6th time playing the much loved concert venue and their third or fourth playing the downstairs small stage.
Lead singer, Liam Cormier, said that playing the Academy 2 made him feel like they were playing some house party in a mansion basement…and what a hell of a party it was.
A scream of electric guitar announced the arrival of the Cancer Bats whose pre-set instrument testing was loud and fast enough to have been the cause of that scale three earthquake we had a few days ago! The audience swelled to the barrier screaming back the lyrics in a frenzy of enthusiasm.
The first track of the set, “RATS”, was a slowish starter, with a steady head-bang rhythm that built hypnotically to positively thrashing swells of sound. Its end punctuated by an enthusiastic scream of “Dublin let’s get fucking rowdy!!” from the lead singer before the music kicked off again with the much more speedy “Sorceress”. This track was a moshable number with rhythmic slow-downs for easy head banging and psychedelic guitar riffs throughout.
The night proceeded with an angry punk anthem “Darkness Lives” in a swirl of long hair and guitars. The audience were practically pushing through the rail-the band nearly risking head-banging right into them and by the fourth song they were nearly being dragged into the audience as they jumped around the stage like pinballs in a machine. The best parts of their set were when the lyrics blended seamlessly into the music to create that singular sound that overwhelms the way only punk and metal music can.
Perhaps the most exhilarating element to a Cancer Bats show is the sheer speed of the music-this is what makes them hard-core and a little metal and gives them such a passionate audience. The music seems to constantly accelerate as each track goes on-building to a euphoric finish. This high-speed intensity is like a shot of adrenaline to the audience and helps create an atmosphere that is almost crackling with electricity.
This energy created a mosh pit that covered the whole venue in tracks from “Old Blood to Breathe”. Other points saw the Bats pull back on the sound and let the audience clapping and the percussive line dominate-slightly more classic punk-rock! “Armageddon”’s heavy bass drum and rocking guitar contrast nicely to love song “Scared to Death” which was brain and heart-wrenching with its last long scream of pure emotion.
The audience really helped make the gig-giving it an overwhelming atmosphere-fans new all the lyrics to every song and screamed ‘til their voices were raw and jumped and head-banged until they were dizzy. Chanting to “Deathmarch” and jumping to the heart beat percussion of “Sabotage”. It was like the music possessed the audience!
Final song “Hail Destroyer” showcased truly incredible rhythmic strumming and built to a passionately furious finish and the audience roared their appreciation as the band threw plectrums to the crowd.
Cancer Bats are nothing if not lively and their music has an overwhelming power-especially live. The audience really emphasised just how possessing the music was and acted as a manifestation of all that furious punk energy that loads their lyrics and screams from their guitars. An overwhelming showcase of the hardcore punk genre!
Review by Kat Clinch