FEBRUARY 17TH, 2015
REVIEW BY ALEX BEVAN
PHOTOGRAPHY BY GRAHAM HILLING
Celebrating the new release of the album ‘Time and Trauma’ from Alaskan metal heavyweights 36 Crazyfists, tonight sees their long awaited return performing at the Electric Ballroom in Camden as part of their latest tour after a five year hiatus.
First up to open the gig are the newly re-branded SHVPES, originally named Cytota, with the track ‘Preparing For The Worst.’ Unfortunately the response from the crowd is rather lacklustre, as the room has not yet filled and those here half-heartedly bob around to the music.
Vocalist and newest member of the group Griffin Dickinson is not discouraged by this lack of enthusiasm, and at one point he jumps into the crowd in an effort to rile things up but the crowd are still apprehensive.
Climbing up on the stage scaffolding, Griffin is not oblivious to the crowd’s apathy but instead just seems to revel in being on stage wrapped up in his own stage persona. By the last song ‘Generation’ there is a 3-man mosh pit.
Perhaps with time, future audiences will be more receptive to SHVPES manic energy and hopefully the band will become more well-known because the potential is definitely there. Better luck next time chaps.
Up next are All Hail The Yeti, a heavy metal band from West Hollywood. The room is now almost full as the band open up with ‘Deep Creek’.
Despite the band being active for 9 years, this is their début tour of the U.K but the crowds response does not reflect this as everyone enthusiastically screams all of the song lyrics. All Hail The Yeti have clearly built up a devoted following.
During the second song ‘When The Sky Falls’ there is an excellently energizing guitar solo. People seem to be much more stimulated now, moshing with vigour. Vocalist Connor Garritty dominates the stage, raising his fist in clenched defiance as guttural roars emanate from within.
The audience is renewed by this frenetic energy and the moshing reaches a frenzied pace. By the end of the set the room is completely full and All Hail The Yeti leave to rapturous applause and screams.
If tonight is anything to go by, All Hail The Yeti are going to enjoy a fulfilling tour in England.
Enter 36 Crazyfists, and the room explodes. The room is packed tightly yet when the band rip into their first song, ‘Vanish’ (a track from their new album) everyone finds room to head-bang with a complete lack of regard for their own skulls.
Brock does not need to force an overbearingly dominating stage presence, his confidence coming from years of performing and a surety that this is what he is made to do, a certainty that he knows his place is on-stage, a certainty that reflects in his performance as he thunders at the crowd, every scream and roar hitting the exact right vocal point. Devil horns stretch out towards him, as if to carve out a bit of Brock’s unconquered spirit. This is why people have come tonight.
This tour also heralds the début of new drummer Kyle Baltus, the youngest member of the band. He holds his own against the other members who have 20+ years of experience on him.
Guitarist Steve Holt and bassist Mick Whitney are exemplary as one would expect from people with so much experience and yet they still play with an unbridled, youthful passion for their music.
There is a balanced mix of old and new material, with old favourites such as ‘Heart and The Shape’ being followed by new song ‘Also Am I.’ It all blends well, with new songs sounding familiar but fresh, a 36 Crazyfists 2.0.
The audience reacts to each new song positively.
Brock connects with the crowd regularly throughout the set, emphasizing and reiterating how grateful he is for the support from his fan-base and also makes a point of stressing the importance that fans come out to see bands live. “Without you,” he intones, “we can’t do this.”
They end the set with the song ‘Time and Trauma’ to a rapturous audience famished for more, a 5 year fast ended by tonight’s feast. After a few moments, the band once again return to the stage for an encore, with Brock picking a member of the audience (named Jamie) and bringing him to the stage to sing along with him to ‘Circle the Drain’ and fan favourite ‘Slit Wrist Theory’.
Thankfully, he’s actually pretty good too, and matches Brock scream for scream. The disbelief, joy and energy of Jamie mirrors the collective emotions and force of the audience tonight; that 36 Crazyfists are back, and they are ready to kick ass.
At the End of August
I’ll Go Until My Heart Stops
The Heart and the Shape
Also Am I
We Gave it Hell
Skin and Atmosphere
Swing the Noose
Time and Trauma
Destroy the Map
Circle The Drain
Slit Wrist Theory