LIVE: Underoath @ O2 Ritz, Manchester (01/05/2017)

Date: May 1st 2017
Venue: O2 Ritz, Manchester
Support: mewithoutYou


About 4 years ago, Floridian post-hardcore favourites Underoath completed the final show of their farewell tour. The band decided to throw in the towel, putting to bed a 15-year long career, with little sign that a reunion would ever come to fruition. Come 2017, not only are they back, but they’re back in the UK for the first time in over 6 years.

Coming along as the one and only support act for the run, mewithoutYou [7] take to the stage a little bit later than originally scheduled, but as soon as they burst into set opener ‘Red Cow’, all is forgiven. Frontman Aaron Weiss has a bit of a Daryl Palumbo (of Glassjaw) vibe about him, seamlessly shifting from solemn cleans to erratic screams. It’s a bit eccentric and irregular, but that’s part of what makes their set accompanied with the likes of ‘Elephant In The Dock’ and ‘The Soviet’ so captivating.

The packed out floor at the O2 Ritz, however, are here for one reason only. After a near 6 year absence from UK shore, Tampa’s Underoath [9] are back as part of their rebirth, and to celebrate, they’re playing their two breakthrough records, 2004’s ‘They’re Only Chasing Safety’ and 2006’s ‘Define The Great Line’, back-to-back.

Kicking off the ‘They’re Only Chasing Safety’ portion of the set, the band explode right into album opener ‘Young And Aspiring’, and already the energy in the room is electric. As the more melody and hook-ridden album of the two that encompass this tour, it’s all about the towering choruses. ‘A Boy Brushed Red… Living In Black And White’ and ‘Reinventing Your Exit’ shortly follow, and a lot of the time Aaron Gillespie‘s voice is often challenged by the volume from the crowd.

The call-to-arms chant during ‘It’s Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door’ of “I’m drowning in my sleep” is a hair raising moment too, and the slightly reinvented album exit of ‘Some Will Seek Forgiveness, Others Escape’ ensures there’s still a few surprises here and there throughout an expected set.

There’s a bit of an inaudiable and dissonant ringing accompanying some ambiguous video backdrop to bridge us into the ‘Define The Great Line’ half of the evening, and as the muddy opening riff of ‘In Regards To Myself’ from Tim McTague leads us in, it’s once Spencer Chamberlain roars “Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! This is not a test!” that the mammoth nature of the record becomes even more monolithic than ever before.

‘Writing On The Walls’ is an obvious set highlight, and with Chamberlain having a guitar on his shoulder for the post-metal triumph of ‘Casting Such A Thin Shadow’, with the three guitar approach they somehow make the song sound more bleak and post-apocalyptic than it ever has before.

Before their decision to part ways, Underoath were undeniably one of the strongest and most formidable pillars of the post-hardcore/metalcore community. Now that they’re reborn, and sounding stronger and more impressive than ever, it seems like they’re set to lead the way for their contemporaries once again.

Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)