So after a weekend of retail hell I was looking to spending an evening with some of my favourite Canadians, Cancer Bats, and as it turns out they were the perfect remedy for my stressed out head.
Sundays may traditionally be the day of rest, not tonight though, Cancer Bats are in the house and the room is packed out as they bring the riffs and headbang their way through an absolutely blinding set. To my surprise they are playing the second biggest room in the Institute and by the looks of things it’s almost sold out which is great news for the band who have played in Birmingham before to only twenty people. Those days seem long gone now and the packed out room is well up for tonight’s performance.
Things are off to a headbanging start as the band take to the stage, kicking things off with ‘Bricks & Mortar’, well and truly unleashing the beast that is Cancer Bats live. The energy is unrelenting, they blast out hit after hit with barely time to take a breath in between. The few gaps there are between songs are filled with chants of “Cancer Bats, Cancer Bats” from the eager crowd much to the delight of Liam who starts up his own chant of, “Birmingham, Birmingham”.
Every show I’ve been to recently has seen the singer wear an item of clothing that’s been thrown on stage, Matt from The Bronx wore a ladies cardigan for their set, Jason from Letlive was seen sporting a novelty chicken head in Nottingham and Liam obviously doesn’t want to be left out! A rather fetching hat is thrown on stage and it straight on his head as he starts a new chant of “My new hat, my new hat”, turning to address the crowd, “I’m celebrating my new sense of fashion, I don’t know if you can tell but I’m really excited to be here with you guys, almost as excited as I am with my new hat!”
The excitement is pretty obvious, on stage and off and things go off the chain when they blast out their cover of the Beastie Boys ‘Sabotage’. Just when you think there can’t be more we are treated to ‘Hail Destroyer’, we see fists pumped in the air and everyone singing along. There is no encore tonight and they end the set with ‘Rats’ off their latest album ‘Dead Set On Living’, it’s the perfect way to end the set, horns are raised and the band look triumphant and who can blame them? It was one of the gnarliest performances I’ve ever seen Cancer Bats give and Liam goes along the front of the stage dishing out high fives grinning from ear to ear; they well and truly conquered Birmingham tonight and my love for those four Canadain dudes has increased ten-fold.
Review by Hannah Sebestjanowicz
Photographs by Steve Gerrard