Cancer Bats @ Birmingham Bar Academy – 11th December 2008


So I’m off to my favourite venue in Birmingham, Academy 2, to see Toronto’s Cancer Bats. Except the gig’s been downgraded to my least favourite venue in Birmingham, Bar Academy. The signs aren’t good…

The venue is not very busy – 70 to 80 people there max. – which explains why it’s been moved. The only problem with this venue is that only the front row will be able to see the band, as the “stage” is 6” high at most. Oh well, guys – good luck!

Luck is one thing they don’t need – smack bang on 9:30pm they take the stage (extra points for being prompt) and their attack begins. Singer Liam Cormier, possibly realizing that no-one will be able to see him tonight, takes his position standing on the barriers separating the crowd and the band and the show starts – and that’s the only band member that I’ll see all night.


Canada’s Cancer Bats are here to promote their latest album “Hail Destroyer” – their blend of hardcore and punk, but with a groove – and the few fans that are here seem loyal, knowing every word for every song they play, punching their fists in the air and even attempting the world’s smallest circle pit!

Starting their set with “Shillelagh” from their first full length release, 2006’s Birthing The Giant, the band machine-gun their way through their set, only taking a breather after every third track. These breathers are necessary, since Cormier enjoys a bit of crowd-surfing during the set, at one point walking along the ceiling whilst being propped up by the crowd, “Spider-Pig” style!


For “Golden Tanks”, the band are joined on stage by former “A” bassist/current Hexes bassist (Hexes played support this evening)/current Radio 1 Rock Show host/McFly and Matt Willis songwriter (seriously – take a look on Wikipedia!), Daniel P. Carter, who supplied vocals, also whilst leaning over the barrier at the front, giving his all to the kids crushed up at the front.

After “Sorceress”, the set halts, due to lack of bass problems. Drummer Mike Peters plays a few fills, and guitarist Scott Middleton fills a fan’s request by playing a few bars of Slayer’s “Angel Of Death”, only to hear Cormier say “If Kerry King was here, he’d bitch slap us”. I didn’t think it was that bad…


The set continues with “Bastard’s Waltz”, and finishes 50 minutes after it started with “Hail Destroyer”, which gets the crowd pushing, shoving and moshing. It’s very much a “get in, get the job done, and get out” set from the band tonight, but it works so well for them and their style that no-one goes away disappointed. The band seem happy, even going so far to say as this is their favourite Birmingham show to date. Let’s just hope that the next time they come to town, a few more people come out to see them.

Pray For Darkness**
French Immersion*
Golden Tanks*
Smiling Politely**
Bastard’s Waltz**
Pneumonia Hawk*
Lucifer’s Rocking Chair**
Hail Destroyer**

*From 2006’s Birthing The Giant
**From 2008’s Hail Destroyer

Review – Tony Hackett
Photos – Steve Gerrard

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7 thoughts on “Cancer Bats @ Birmingham Bar Academy – 11th December 2008

  1. Just to be pedantic, Scott actually plays ‘Raining Blood’ by Slayer during the bass technical difficulties. Liam spent the entire night on top of us and even got the crowd to applaud. Best gig i’ve ever been too.

  2. Tut tut Tony – how could you get ‘Angel of Death’ and ‘Raining Blood’ mixed up – lol?! Listen to more Slayer!!!

  3. Joey – I saw the interview, some of it was pretty odd. Why did you insist on being on Liams ‘s@#t list’. Its a bad thing…
    The show was absolutly awesome! Me and luke were the two people that liam got the crowd to applaud!

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