Another early start due to the trend of running club nights after the gig – but that didn’t seem to bother the crowd already queued up the road for tonight’s gig.
Headliners SOiL had toured earlier in the year supporting Skindred but were now back where they should be, top of the bill and playing to sell out crowds up and down the country.
After a uneasy few years, the original heart of the band was reformed when Ryan rejoined Tim and Adam and they toured their most successful album ‘Scars’ to the elation of their new and veteran fans alike and on the strength of this started a pledge for their new album ‘Whole’.
In a recent interview Ryan hinted that the album name ‘Whole’ was an analogy for the three guys reforming and the band was now whole again, with the writing power of Tim and Adam at the centre.
The doors were barely open tonight when the first band hit the stage, Wolfborne who I had heard some good things about since the release of their debut album and was looking forward to finally catching their show.
The Canadian rockers kicked off and very soon had the crowd on their side with their catchy riffs, great stage presence, and interaction with the crowd as they played a set which
included their new single ‘Sex Sells’.
Obviously spirits were high tonight as it was the last show of the UK leg of the tour but I’m sure the fact that Chris from AHC wandering on and off stage in his underwear and turning the guys amps off while they were playing was a bit disconcerting but they played through it and pulled off an excellent performance.
Jahred of (Hed) p.e. came on stage donned in camo jacket and his face covered in a scarf presumably a link to their the roots of Gangsta Punk metal that they have been touting since 1994. They played a killer set that included the brutal ‘Renegade’ which saw the crowd surfers out on top. Nearing the end of the set they came out with great version of ‘Ghost Town’ followed by ‘No Woman No Cry’. A stunning set that really the whole venue bouncing.
I had not seen American Head Charge before or indeed not knowingly heard any of their music and although going down extremely well with the crowd that didn’t really do it for me.
I can’t put my finger on why as they do all the stuff I like; hard, heavy and full of energy on stage but just not tonight. As I mentioned thought the crowd lapped them up and vocalist Cameron Heacock joined them by diving off the speakers into the crowd.
Maybe on another night it might have been different; I do hope so and will look out for them again.
The lights dimmed and the cheers rang out as SOiL came onto the darkened stage to the sound of ‘we will rock you’. There was no doubt who the crowd was here to see and as the band kicked into ‘Loaded Gun’ from the new album ‘Whole’ they went wild.
The new album sees them going back to the writing style of ‘Scars’ and ‘Redefine’ which gives all the new work the same edge and energy that grabbed the fans originally.
With tracks coming from the early albums, we got ‘The One’, ‘Redefine’ and ‘Breaking Me Down’ and between the tracks saw Ryan exchanging banter with the crowd in a very relaxed state.
Inevitably though at the first chance the crowd were calling for ‘Halo’ which Ryan had mentioned earlier ‘he has a love-hate relationship with’. But – if there is one song that truly defines the band- it is ‘Halo’ – pumping bass, hard heavy drums, huge riffs and searing lead guitar all topped by rough tearing vocals from the initial ‘Scream’ to the final ‘My Little Halo’.
As ever Ryan joined the crowd for most of the song and when he finally managed to get back to the stage they topped of a great night and a hugely successful tour with ‘Shine On’.
SOiL have proved they are bigger than ‘Scars’, and ‘Whole’ will see them continue on bringing their music to new and old fans alike.
At the time of writing this, news has come forward that Ryan McCombs suffered a stroke on Sunday 2nd November and is stable in hospital and on the long road to recovery; we send him all our strength and wish him well.
Review and photos by Simon Dunkerley
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