The Word Alive are one of the many metalcore bands who have achieved big things in America but are still establishing themselves in the UK. Based on the queue forming outside the Underworld hours before the gig starts it’s clear they are finally amassing a dedicated fanbase here and with their new album Real to show off, The Word Alive were looking to treat their eager fans to something special tonight.
Oceans Ate Alaska (7) are the perfect kind of opening band for a gig like this and they do a solid job warming up the large crowd that have already crammed into the Underworld. It might take a few songs but they soon have people jumping along and a few pits going. Vocalist James Harrison sounds fantastic tonight and does everything he can to get the crowd moving, even going as far as to join fans in the pit. There might not be anything radically different to their approach to metalcore but they add in a few technical and progressive elements to keep things interesting, this makes up for the cliché stage banter and overly rehearsed stage moves. Overall it’s an impressive start to the night.
Like Moths To Flames (6) waste no time getting the crowd moving, with almost everyone singing and bouncing along to the opening song. It’s an impressive start from the Ohio mob but it doesn’t take long to realise all their songs follow a similar pattern resulting in songs starting to blend together. Still while there is nothing particularly interesting about their music they provide everything the crowd wants tonight and with the crowd having so much fun it’s hard not to be slightly won over. If Like Moths To Flames could write a few more tunes than the future could hold big things for them but for now they do nothing that hasn’t been done better before.
The Color Morale (7) burst on to the stage with plenty of attack and again have the crowd immediately on their side. Again they play a very formulaic brand of metalcore, The Color Morale are definitely capable of writing a huge chorus with newer single “Suicide; Stigma” inspiring the biggest sing along of the night so far. Vocalist Garret Rapp does give a few too many inspirational speeches during their set but the passion felt in his performances suggests his words are genuine. It might become a bit repetitive towards the end but tonight is undoubtedly a success for The Color Morale and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them headline this venue in a years time.
Finally it was time for headliners The Word Alive (8) to take to the stage, unsurprisingly they explode onto the stage to the biggest reaction of the night. Within two songs vocalist Telle Smith had been kicked in the face by an overly eager crowd surfer but instead of complaining, Telle Smith encourages the crowd to go even crazier, it’s clear they band are enjoying playing these intimate venues on this UK tour. Unlike the bands before them, The Word Alive’s set doesn’t start to get boring after a few songs thanks to some variety to their songs. Use of electronics and a few technical riffs make for a nice change from the endless breakdowns heard before them. With their set drawing heavily from their new album Real it’s impressive to see how well these newer songs go down. “Lighthouse” is particularly impressive, with what is easily the biggest chorus of the night. Surprisingly the newer stuff seems to get a better reaction than some older tracks, suggesting that a lot of tonight’s crowd have been won over by the new material. Still songs such as “Dragon Spell” and “The Wretched” incite plenty of chaos. Set closer “Life Cycles” ends things on a high note and remains the best song The Word Alive have in their arsenal and while an encore of “2012” might seem like a bit much tonight, there was no way The Word Alive were going to leave the fans disappointed as they chanted for more.
Tonight really showcased how far The Word Alive have come as a band over the years. While they might never reach the same level here that they’ve reach in America it’s clear they are still winning over fans. If they can keep on improving at this rate they could soon become one of the most formidable bands in the American metalcore scene.