Live Review: 36 Crazyfists/Poison the Well/Gwen Stacy

Live Review: 36 Crazyfists + Poison the Well + Gwen Stacy
Venue: Electric Ballroom, London
Date: 13th March 2009

With tonight’s show starting at a fairly ludicrously early time, Gwen Stacy take to the stage at 7 to a sparse and disinterested crowd. But this doesn’t stop the Indianapolis band from putting their heart and soul into their brief set, with a markedly comic performance from bassist Brent Schindler. The dual vocal attack is rather less amusing, with some stretched notes and wobbly barks undermining the erratic brutality of the guitar riffs. The strangest moment however is reserved for Schindler’s closing missionary statement, informing the now slightly larger crowd that Jesus loves them, and they’ve got to have faith in something, which is understandably met with a rather deadpan silence.

More people seem to have turned up by the time Poison the Well grace the stage, and their hardcore set takes very few prisoners. The band struggle with a few notable sound problems, the biggest of which is singer Jeffrey Moreira’s dodgy microphone, cutting out and being generally too quiet when he chooses to sing, making the band sound fairly lost and unprofessional and creating a general lull in energy. But when he lets his growl out it’s something to admire, dominating and in some respects terrifying.

There’s no denying the pull of tonight’s headlining act, and as Alaskan metallers 36 Crazyfists take to the stage the Electric Ballroom looks thoroughly packed to the rafters with sweaty, hungry tweens baying for blood. It looks like fifteen years practice has done the bearded ones good – they put on an arresting show, throwing everything (at one point even Brock Lindow himself) at the audience. There’s a wall of death that hits with a fairly resounding crash, bassist Buzzard performs an impromptu tribute to Kyuss, and the material covers old and new alike, all to the same rapturous applause. One lucky kid’s life is made after he’s invited to join in with ‘Destroy the Map’ and he surprises all by doing a fairly commendable job in Lindow’s intimidating shadow.

The critic in me wants to hark on about their sloppiness at points, especially in Lindow’s hit and miss vocals, but there’s little denying the fervent reaction that the band had garnered by the compulsory encore. There’s no surprises here, closing with a sped up, raw version of perhaps their biggest hit to date, ‘Slit Wrist Theory’. Half naked bodies covered in veils of sweat come flying over the barrier at an alarming rate, but their smiles say it all as they charge straight back into the heated crowd. The energy and happiness Crazyfists seem to displace into their audience is enough to see them through a rocky performance, and their honest hard working nature is repaid in full by the screams coming back at them all night.

Originally published at Sonic Dice.

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