Cancer Bats are surely one of the hardest working bands in modern hardcore. An arduous and unrelenting touring schedule has seen them return again and again to UK shores multiple times every year. Perhaps the band’s most impressive feat was last year’s “Pentagram” tour in London which saw the Canadian quartet play six shows in the space of just twelve ours across the capital wherein the locations of each venue formed a pentagram on the map.

Tonight’s opening acts Empress and Brutality Will Prevail have been well selected for the bill, in particular BWP’s stage presence offers a similar energy to tonight’s headline act. Singer Louis Gauthier (more recently added to the band’s line up after the parting of original vocalist Ajay Jones) does not shy away from audience participation, often at times inviting friends and audience members to provide vocals, including tossing the microphone off-stage into the crowd in search of a fan brave enough to prove his worth.

Despite the fervour of this evening’s support acts, it is clear that everyone in the crowd is itching with Cancer Bats fever. No theatricality is on hand for the band’s entrance as they saunter on-stage humbly, however front-man Liam Cormier and his cohorts are still met with thunderous applause. The initial series of songs in the set span the entire discography from ‘Birthing The Giant’ up until latest release ‘Dead Set on Living’, and continues in a similar cyclical fashion throughout.

Cormier’s humorous segues between songs further thin the veil between the band and their fans, his jokes and unassuming anecdotes of previous visits to Nottingham are highly entertaining. We are even promised the return of the band later in the year for a full set of Black Sabbath covers …although I won’t hold my breath. There is a welcome presence of older gems such as ‘Shillelagh’ in tonight’s set for die-hard fans, however the band’s hits remain the highlight of the evening. Songs like ‘Deathsmarch’ and ‘Hail Destroyer’ have lost none of their live flare, evoking as strong a reaction from the crowd as always. The biggest crowd pleaser of the night is without a doubt Beastie Boys cover ‘Sabotage’ from 2010’s ‘Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones’.

The voracious crowd in Rescue rooms have proven tonight that Hardcore is very much alive. From the commencing number all the way through to the roaring performance of another fan favourite ‘R.A.T.S’, the floor is a veritable gamut of dancing styles, from simple head bangers to slammers and everything in between, the movement of the crowd is relentless and passionate, with four-way walls of death occurring on multiple occasions that draw in anyone who is near. The chaos of the evening draws to a close as abruptly and gloriously as it started, and as with any true hardcore show it seems to me that the audience members feel a little more connected as they trudge home bruised but elated.

Daniel Brophy

Daniel has been listening to Cancer Baths – ‘Bricks and Mortar’…

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