Date: December 8th, 2013
Venue: Club Academy, Manchester
Support: Dayshell / I See Stars
Despite heading over to the UK on several occassions with support slots for the likes of Parkway Drive and even a few appearance at festivals like Slam Dunk, a headline UK tour for The Word Alive is long overdue, and what better time than ahead of the release of their third full-length album? However, sadly the Phoenix outfit don’t seem to pull in a massive crowd at the Manchester and final date of the UK leg, but this surely won’t put them off.
Their first time on UK shores, and with their debut album only a few weeks old, Dayshell (***) are very much fresh faced, though the same can’t be said for frontman Shayley Bourget, who confesses to have only been awake for an hour or two prior to the set. Still, as showcased whilst in previous band Of Mice & Men, he truly has a great set of pipes on him and, with a bit more work, they’ll begin to make a bit of a name for themselves into 2014.
The room starts to fill out a bit more for I See Stars (****), who sadly are restricted to just a 35-minute long set to showcase condense a catalogue of now four full-length albums. Sticking mainly with their latest two records, ‘New Demons’ and ‘Digital Renegade’, it’s clear that despite only making a few short visits to the UK, I See Stars are a welcome prospect for the Brits. ‘Murder Mitten’ and ‘Filth Friends Unite’ see the pits come to life and, despite the electronics getting a little bit drowned out by everything else for the most part, hopefully a returned visit isn’t too far into the future.
Now, onto main attraction The Word Alive (****), who prove to everyone in the Club Academy why they are one of the most exciting live acts in today’s post-hardcore scene. With an equal balance of cuts from both ‘Life Cycles’ and ‘Deceiver’, what we have here is very much a set of the band’s favourite songs before we’re treated with album number three next year. The range of screams frontman Tyler “Telle” Smith is able to pull off with ease is nothing short of impressive, and with ‘Astral Plane’ it’s evident he can soar with his cleans to a similar calibre.
A mid-way showcase from axe-men Zack Hansen and Tony Pizzuti tearing away at their fret-boards along with the obliterating pummeling speed of drummer Luke Holland, it’s explicitly clear why this band are such an important export for the genre. Not only are they carrying a great message, but they’re carrying the talent to stand above their peers. It’s a shame the venue isn’t more packed out and what is their first headline UK tour, but with the drop of album number three that could very much change.
Written by Zach Redrup