36 Crazyfists Tour – Review

36 Crazyfists tour began on Wednesday night at the Hub, Plymouth. It’s a long way to travel from Alaska to the South West of England, but the sub-zero temperatures and shivering crowd that greeted them must have made them feel right at home.

Opening the four band line up were local metal/hardcore crew, MOORHAVEN. Fronted by vocalist Steve Barrett they gave their short set everything, with an in your face attitude and some well-crafted songs, but the early evening crowd were difficult to thaw out despite the energy thrown at them by the band.

From a little further afield, the West Midlands, came the newly renamed SHVPES (previously Cytota), hitting the stage with new vocalist Griffin Dickinson (Brother of Austin, and son of the legendary Bruce). Brash and young they brought a stiletto edge to the night with some technical and intricate guitar and rhythm patterns, supporting Griffin’s vocal range and dexterity. They worked hard to bring the crowd alive, and as the short set went on, succeeded admirably with “Between Jokers and Jesters” and, in particular, “Generation Scared”, where Dickinson decided to liven up the pit, generating some frenzied reaction.

It still needed someone to really get the venue on its feet and ALL HAIL THE YETI were the men for the job. A broadsword to SHVPES stiletto, the men from Hollywood produced a superb set of Southern Metal/hardcore that removed any trace of the outside freeze. Connor Garrity’s vocals, and in your face style were underpinned by some searing guitar from Alan Stokes, and the rhythm section of Nicholas Diltz and “Junior” Kittlitz drove the band through a stand out set. Particular favourites were the aggressively doomy “Suicide Woods” and the rousing “After the Great Fire”

Finally, to the headliners. Last year 36 CRAZYFISTS celebrated their 20th anniversary, but to see them on stage you would think they were a fresh new band trying to show what they are capable of, such is their obvious pleasure at being there. Brock Lindow’s vocals are simply staggering, ranging from melodic and bluesy singing to earth shattering screaming, and the band come over live as a much heavier version of their recorded selves. Their style is simple. Steve Holt’s guitar and Mick Whitney’s bass come from positions close to their stacks, impressing with power rather than physical presence, and the almost emaciated figure of Kyle Baltus attacks his kit to urge them forward. That leaves the stage free for Lindow to control, constantly interacting with the crowd and never still.

This was the first night of the European tour, and several songs off the new album made an appearance. “Also am I”, “Time and Trauma” (with the haunting line “lately I have decorated far too many graves”) and “Swing the Noose” (with a deliciously catchy chorus) all showed a return to a more melodic approach and provided balance in the set, the highlight of which, was the sing-along to “Slit wrist theory”.

The lasting memory is of Brock, dressed in a merchandising T from opening band Moorhaven (nice touch!), both thanking the crowd for their patience with the band during their long absence, and showing he had an affinity with Plymouth by giving the old “White Rabbit” a mention when talking about previous shows in the South west. He promised they will be back in the Autumn, and I can’t wait to see them again.

Review and Photography by Rob Wilkins

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