Norma Jean + The Chariot + Dead & Divine + Admiral’s Arms @ Birmingham Academy 2 – 27th February 2012

Norma Jean

It’s the 4th stop on the Evil Tiger Vulture tour and tonight its Birmingham’s turn to host some of the most exciting and brutal live bands in the scene today. Its one hell of a line up with Admiral’s Arms, Dead & Divine, The Chariot and to top it all off The Almighty Norma Jean.

Admirals Arms

Opening the night are Admiral’s Arms, it’s their first ever tour in the UK and it’s a chance to give Birmingham a taste of some French post-hardcore. They’ve got a tough slot what with the room still pretty empty and the people that have showed up are firmly in the arms folded and standing still camp. They didn’t let it faze them though and from the time Hendrick opened his mouth they definitely grabbed my attention. As pleas for more movement from the crowd go mostly unanswered they don’t let any frustrations show as they play a solid set. They have a new album due out and I for one will definitely be checking that out.

Dead & Divine

The Canadians are up next as Dead and Divine take to the stage, with what appears to be Ryan Gosling’s doppelganger on vocals. There’s no messing about as they tear through a great set. It takes them a couple of songs to get the crowd on their side but by the end of it there are plenty of bodies moving down the front especially when Brandon Henderson from The Chariot joins them on stage for some guest vocals. Front man Matt Tobin claims it the best show of the tour so far and chances are they’ve won over a fair few fans tonight.

The Chariot

With the crowd well and truly warmed up the highly anticipated The Chariot take to the stage. Josh Scogin stands front and centre and delivers this message “This is a celebration. This microphone is your microphone. This house is your house, so be free.” From that moment on The Chariot and the crowd let rip, intent on destroying everything in their path. I’ve heard stories about The Chariots live show but it still doesn’t quite prepare you! They hadn’t even finished playing the first song and bassist Jon Kindler had already discarded his bass and was on to top of the crowd screaming like a mad man. Not one to be left out Scogin spent as much time on top of the crowd as on the stage. Not to be held back by the constraints of the stage Kindler does a disappearing act and ends up at the back of the room where he continues to throw his bass around like a mad man. Its controlled chaos though, the songs still sound amazing which is a testament to their skills as musicians to be able to put across their music so coherently whilst attempting to bring down the venue.

The Chariot

A cover of The Who’s My Generation is a stroke of genius as they give it a very unique and personal stamp. The final song sees Scogin slowly dismantle the drum kit piece by piece as David continues to smash the shit out of the drums he has left. The tales of their live shows are all true; long live The Chariot.

Norma JeanNorma Jean

Headliners Norma Jean have been in this game for over 10 years but still have the passion and drive as a band to pull off intense live shows just like the one they play tonight. Opening with the first track off their most recent record, ‘Leaderless and Self Enlisted’ the Southern boys kick things off as they mean to go on, hard and heavy. It’s a set full of songs “for the old school Norma Jean fans” as Corey so eloquently put it covering all 5 albums in a short space of time.

Norma Jean

‘Bayonetwork: Vultures in Vivid Colour’ takes an interesting turn at the end as it goes into the blistering ‘Creating Something Out of Nothing, Only to Destroy It’ as both the crowd and Corey scream the line “Like bringing a knife to a gun fight” at the top of their lungs. The highlight of the set had to be ‘Memphis Will be Laid to Waste’ not only is it a killer tune but with guest vocals from former Norma Jean man Scogin it was the perfect end to a great night. With four bands on the bill the set is short but sweet, no ones going home disappointed but there’s always room in my book for a bit more Norma Jean!

Review – Hannah Sebestjanowicz
Photos – Gobi Jhitta

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