It’s not very often that Tampa’s Underoath make a visit over to UK shores, so obviously the buzz for the band’s first headline tour over here since the departure of the band’s final remaining member, Aaron Gillespie, is pretty damn eratic. As a key member in many ways, with him being the clean singer and therefore poppy element of the group, the live dynamics are bound to change, whether that be for better or for worse.
Openers Devil Sold His Soul (***) are much like a slightly more ambient and progressive Underoath, with their blend of bludgeoning growls and screams, alongside high-rendered cleans against a back drop of aggressive yet emotive instrumentation. Though the group’s talent is undeniable, showcased in their tight and solid set, they have difficulty in grasping the crowd as they’re usually capable of doing.
The softer post-hardcore injection of Deaf Havana (***) also fails to create the usual impact and presence in the crowd it’s know for. Though latest single ‘Smiles All Round’ and live favourite ‘Friends Like These’ get things bouncing, the awaringly dampened vocal performance James Veck-Gilodi doesn’t display his true potential, and therefore doesn’t display Deaf Havana at their best either.
Despite the temporary tour departure of keyboardist Christopher Dudley due to family commitments, of which his role has been replaced by a pre-recorded backing track, Underoath‘s (*****) performance is undeniably sensational. The departure of Aaron Gillespie recorded made their latest album more dark and blistering, and live the effect of this is tenfold through tracks like ‘In Division’ and ‘Who Will Guards The Guardians?’, making for a majestic yet perfectly punishing set.
Spencer Chamberlain remains one of the most entertaining and talented screamers in the post-hardcore genre, and stepping in to do more cleans than in the past, with the likes of ‘In Regards To Myself’, ‘A Boy Brushed Red Living In Black And White’ and ‘Writing On The Walls’ making an appearance, proves that even though the changes in Underoath without Aaron by their side is noticeable, they’ve by no means crippled and dragged down the band and their glory.
Written by Zach Redrup