In Flames + Norma Jean + Light The Torch @ Glasgow SWG3

3rd April 2019
Review and Photography by Gavin Lowrey

A chilly Wednesday tea time in Glasgow sees the start of the first part of In Flames European jaunt in support of their latest opus, “I, The Mask”, and in tow they have a metalcore fest in the guise of Norma Jean and Light The Torch.

The fire that destroyed the O2 on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow has thrown a lot of business the way of the arts complex that is the SWG3 out in the west end of the city, and it’s a pretty good venue, the only down side being that as it’s in a (student) residential area, which means a 10pm curfew, and as a result, a 6pm door time.

Starting off the proceedings are Light The Torch, fronted by Howard Jones, who is in jovial form from the off. With a new album in the form of Revival, which is getting great reviews from all corners, they are on the crest of a wave and this enthusiasm clearly shows through, despite the sound issues that plague the first half of the opener “The Bitter End”.

The set was comprised entirely of songs from their debut (or technically latest album) following the name change from Devil You Know, and for 40 mins, the decently size crowd get the value of their admission ticket delivered in full, never mind the other two acts on the menu.

Jones is cracking one liners left, right and centre and at one point is creased over laughing at his own jokes, something that highly amuses the crowd.

They fire through the set at breakneck speed and leave the crowd wanting more, which is always a good place to be (4.5/5).

Setlist
  1. The Bitter End
  2. Calm Before The Storm
  3. Lost In The Fire
  4. Virus
  5. Consume The Damned
  6. The Safety Of Disbelief
  7. Die Alone

Next us are metalcore (semi) veterans Norma Jean, who I’d not listened to much myself since their first couple of albums in the late 90’s. Most of their set however, is drawn from their later albums, with The Anthem of The Angry Brides, Sword In Mouth & Deathbed Atheist being the highlights of the set.

Vocalist Cory Brandon is in good voice and the band are tighter than a duck’s arse, but the reception that they get is a fraction of that given to the openers, despite the energy coming from the stage.

Maybe not their day, but Norma Jean will turn more demanding audiences in the future (3.5/5).

Setlist
  1. I The Planet
  2. Everyone Talking Over Everyone Else
  3. Synthetic Sun
  4. Funeral Singer
  5. The Faithful Vampire
  6. The Anthem Of The Angry Brides
  7. 1,000,000 Watts
  8. Sword In Mouth, Fire Eyes
  9. If You Got It At Five, You Got It At Fifty
  10. Deathbed Atheist

 

The crowd is at fever pitch by the time the lights go down, and from the moment that the headliners In Flames fire into the opener “Voices” we know that we are in for a show.

There’s no break in continuity with super sub Chris Broderick filling in for the incapacitated Niclas Engelin on rhythm guitar; if you’re going to get someone in, go big, and this is what the band have done, and he clearly looks as if he’s enjoying himself and relishing the challenge.

Having a big back catalogue can sometimes cause issues as you can never really please all of the fans all of the time, but on this occasion they seem to have got the balancing act right, pulling songs from 10 of their 13 albums.

The only song I would have liked to have seen thrown into the mix is “Take This Life”, but hey, no ones perfect.

What we get over the next hour and a half is a band showing that after 29 years, they’ve still got it and, from the diversity of the audience, that they’re still pulling in new fans, and still keeping the old school fans happy, despite a clear and obvious change to their sound over the last 3 albums.

The band love a good strobe and as well as the excellent music, the light show is fantastic too, although not as epilepsy-inducing as, say, a Parkway Drive opus.

Frontman Anders Fridén is doubling up as a stand up comedian for the evening, declaring his love for our national tipple, and using all his experience to have the audience in the palm of his hand.

With 8 songs from the band’s last 2 albums, there’s a clear and obvious emphasis on the present, but with the band breathing life into their older tracks, it’s a show to please even the most cynical reviewer (4.75/5).

Setlist
  1. Voices
  2. Everything’s Gone
  3. Pinball Map
  4. Where the Dead Ships Dwell
  5. Call My Name
  6. Monsters in The Ballroom
  7. All of Me
  8. (This Is Our) House
  9. Deep Inside
  10. Here Until Forever
  11. The Chosen Pessimist
  12. Leeches
  13. Colony
  14. My Sweet Shadow
  15. The Truth
  16. I am Above
  17. Cloud Connected
  18. The Mirror’s Truth
  19. The End

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