While She Sleeps, In Hearts Wake & Fizzy Blood @ The Talking Heads, Southampton – April 26th 2017

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While She Sleeps - credit Ryan Chang

While She Sleeps are having a stellar 2017. Releasing their jaw-dropping new album ‘You Are We’ that went into the UK charts at number 8 and selling out the majority of their UK tour well in advance. We are on the verge of something special here and that feeling is very palpable in the air tonight. But before we get to tonight’s main event, we have two support bands to kick things off.

Fizzy Blood (7) Open the show and fare somewhat better than you would expect. They are the odd ones out tonight and the least heavy band on the bill. They play to a small but polite audience. Their brand of rock is in the vein of older Biffy Clyro, which is all angular jagged riffs and fast paced vocals. They put on an impressive set full of fun and energy. Despite a lot of the crowd not getting it they still do an admirable job that shows there is a lot of potential for them down the line.

In Hearts Wake  (8.5) Manage to wake the crowd up a bit. The minute they step on stage things get rowdy. In their short set time, they manage to get the place circle pitting, singing into their mics, and just having fun. During new track ‘Warcry’ they lead the crowd into a spartan warrior cry. The highlight of their set comes with the introduction of Chester the inflatable Crocodile, who crowd surfs, gets used as a weapon in the pit and even manages to break a few ceiling tiles in his short time in the crowd. Aside from the silliness, In Hearts Wake are a pretty polished and commanding live band. They know how to get an audience invested in what they are doing and there is a passion there that is undeniable. They are a band I had a passing knowledge of, but after they left the stage I definitely wanted to investigate them further.

Tonight belongs to one band and one band only. While She Sleeps (10) are greeted with a heroes welcome, and rightfully so. This moment feels special. For the next hour and fifteen minutes While She Sleeps put on a masterclass performance. Don’t get me wrong though, they still unleash hell upon the place. A vicious circle pit swirls around bass player Aaran McKenzie as he plays in the middle of it at one point. Frontman Loz Taylor spends almost as much time in the crowd as he does onstage, including a moment where he walks on the crowd’s hands from the sound desk back to the stage. There are limbs, clothes and I think even bits of ceiling tiles flying around at all times. But we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the songs. Tonight’s set is largely made up of songs from the fantastic new album ‘You Are We’ and they seem even bigger in the live arena than they do on record. It’s amazing to hear every single word being sung back to the band in full voice, especially as the album is only 5 days old at this point.

While She Sleeps are a tight, concise and somewhat chaotic live band, and that is part of their charm. They have become so good at what they do, and yet remain somewhat unpredictable. There is so much passion, and conviction reverberating off of the stage whenever they are on it that frankly, they make everyone else look silly. While She Sleeps are about to enter a very big turning point in their career that will hopefully will elevate them to the next level and on tonight’s evidence I would say it’s long overdue.

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