Wednesday 12th November 2014
Review by Chris Brown
Photos by Jo Moolenschot
Perhaps one of my biggest regrets in music is not seeing more of the bands I love in their prime.
SikTh were perhaps one of the most brilliantly weird, technical yet brutal offerings that the UK has ever produced. Since the band broke up in 2006, I’ve always wanted to see if they could pull off live what they managed to record in such mightily impressive fashion. When they announced a reformation to play one of the smaller stages at Download, followed by some dates in Japan and a UK tour, it seemed that perhaps that ship had not sailed after all.
With anticipation already simmering, this show at Koko was to be the last night of the tour and was fronted by some great homegrown talent. The night was a sell-out, and a mixture of cheap pre-show beer and the night’s opening band; Idiom [3/5], saw the place saturated from the off.
The four-piece from south west England put on a pretty solid performance of original music, justifying their having had shared stages with the likes of Devildriver and Skindred. In the end, my overall feelings on the band were left somewhat blurred.
What at times had all the slow-clapping mundanity of an elderly relative, played here by Fred Durst at an Incubus concert, erupted into some genuinely bouncy, RATM inspired, metal-ness that really got the crowd going.
What I found most captivating about this band was their enthusiasm; they were having a great time. The vocalist threw himself into the crowd at the curtain-fall of their night capping off a show they will surely be proud of.
With the first three rows having barely finished recoiling in fear at the sight of this modern imagining of an angsty Jared Leto hurl himself towards them, it was fitting then that Heart of a Coward [3.5/5] took to the stage. Perhaps more in tune with what was to come later in the night, these guys brought an unholy rapture of brutality, wrought from the depths of Meshuggah’s glove compartment.
Staggered blasts of brimstone erupted through the whole set, packing a punch that was often bruising in essence. Whether accompanied by an indecipherable roar or more floaty vocalisation, their music had a relentless, mono-syllabic beast of a rhythm at the core.
Having said that, the band’s favouring of leaning towards syncronised head banging as a means of stage presence was nigh on embarrassing. They showed an unerring mastery of rhythmic head motion, just like your mum does!
And so after a brief wait, circa eight years or so, the crowd swelled to a frothing powder keg of anticipation for the main event….SIKTH [5/5].
It took less than a spark to set this one off. The roar that swept up from the masses was like a sharp intake of breath as the rollercoaster stares out over the precipice. The calm before the storm. What came after that left me with a nauseating neck spasm, caused by one of the best gigs I’ve seen to date.
It’s a rare thing to see such togetherness amongst strangers for any band, but this was a whirlwind of appreciation I was all too happy to be a part of.
This bludgeoning barrage of intricacy put before us was amplified perfectly throughout the venue. Heavy hit after heavy hit, the set list was everything I hoped it would be. It’s staggering to contemplate they only had two albums and an EP of back catalogue to refer to and put out such a solid and balanced performance.
The stand out song of the night was undoubtedly ‘Peep Show’, and this was the only track that showed any signs of the band being out of sorts after the best part of a decade in hiatus.
That is to say, word for word every line was belted out at full volume by everyone in the place, actually drowning out the band in parts. However, I’d say that was far more in tune with the level of support they had that night over any fault of their own.
For many, this night was more than a mere nostalgia trip, an ode to a forgotten band with a cult following; this was a witness of a return to form – built up to heights I’m not even sure that SikTh had seen before.
They remarked on several occasions that this was the best crowd of the tour and the best gig they’d done. There was also talk of this being a live DVD and setting themselves down for recording some new material.
These guys were born before their time and it was a pleasure to see them pick up the reigns where they left off. Look at the sky (!!), you might see their name written in the stars yet!
1. Bland Street Bloom
2. Part of the Friction
3. Hold My Finger
4. Scent of the Obscene
5. Flogging the Horses
6. When Will the Forest Speak…?
7. Wait for Something Wild
8. Peep Show
9. Sanguine Seas of Bigotry
10. Another Sinking Ship
13. Skies of Millennium Night