Cancer Bats + The Plight + SSS @ Academy 2, Birmingham – 4th May 2009


SSS are preceded by an almost legendary status, mutterings and rumours of this hardcore band that have lasted through time to bring old school hardcore to the new generation of kids. But this reputation only sets them up for a fall, old school they are, but the kind of old school that got forgotten, the bands who’s songs had none of the impressive riffage or raw power of other bands. The band play a tight set of chord based hardcore, while the lead singer shouted his way through the songs. The fact that the guitarist looked bored, and the singer lacked the brutal power of screamed vocals meant they got pretty boring very quick. I was disappointed that they were so weak.

It all picks up with The Plight however, a much younger band crossing the boundaries between ‘real’ punk and the emo side of hardcore. There’s a definite divide in the scenes, but this band — much like Ghost Of A Thousand — are helping to close it off. Their metallic styling’s are impressive as is the energy on stage, this band really seeming to enjoy the music. With a surprising 80’s look, there was plenty of guitar showmanship, the two guitars working well together to create a highly melodic backing for the vocals. Occasionally the riffs sounded a little like Aerosmith rejects, but on the whole the combination of hair metal, punk and hardcore was well received, definitely a band for fans of the Bronx.

Last of the night, yet surprisingly early, are Cancer Bats. It’s clear who the audience is here to see, as they scream deafeningly to the man that was sitting and chatting at the back of the room only 30 minutes previously. Even before the first note is hit a big pit has formed, and rightly so — the dancing is violent and riotous. It’s surprising that this band played to an almost empty Barfly only last year, the fans seem so dedicated that ever word is shouted back at the Canadians. The brutal hardcore is very reminiscent of The Exploited, especially when the Wah effect is used by the guitarist. However the sound has been updated and re-shaped to form the more metal styled sound. This band play hard and party hard, with the vocalist diving to the barriers on several occasions to get the fans to scream along with him. An awe inspiring set, especially during flagship song ‘Hail Destroyer’ which see’s the most vicious mosh since The Dillinger Escape Plan graced the room. If the audience were unsure, the storming set guaranteed the band some new fans.

Review – Terra Duff
Photo – Steve Gerrard

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