Parkway Drive + The Ghost Inside + Miss May I + Confession @ HMV Institute – 8th April 2012

As the majority of the UK gorges themselves silly on Easter chocolate, a few thousand have escaped the clutches of the Easter bunny and have filled out Birmingham’s HMV Institute to almost breaking point as Confession, Miss May I, The Ghost Inside and the almighty Parkway Drive entertain the masses on this fine Sunday evening.

There are two Australian bands on the bill tonight and Confession are definitely the least well known of the two but they still get a pretty good reaction from the crowd. Their metalcore/hardcore tinged tunes sound good but are extremely predictable, it’s not easy playing the opening slot on tour with more well know bands but they do pretty well.

Fronted by a guy who wouldn’t look out of place in some 80’s hair metal band, Miss May I raise the bar as they get the crowd moving from the get go. This isn’t a band I would ever listen to but I found myself enjoying their set as I watched crowd surfers pour over the barrier only one song into their set. It’s obvious from the crowd reaction that this is a well loved band as pits open up and bodies slam into each other. My only gripe was with the ‘clean’ vocals which sounded completely out of tune, which when you could actually hear them which is a shame, other than that it was a solid set.

Now, The Ghost Inside a completely different kettle of fish, they’re a band whose name I’ve seen around for a long time but never actually got round to checking out, so I was interested to see what they would be like. I knew I was going to like them as soon as lead vocalist Jonathan Vigil came bounding onto the stage in a A Loss For Words shirt and I wasn’t wrong. This is definitely a band I can get behind, no bull shit just hard hitting straight up hardcore. They may have only had a short set but the energy on stage and off it was immense, they’re a band I’ll be checking out again that’s for sure.

I think everyone’s aware of the early curfew and so, when its 9.25pm and Parkway Drive are still nowhere to be seen, it’s looking at being a very short set which would have been very disappointing. Its all forgotten though as the house lights go down and the Aussie boys take to the stage to a massive cheer from the near sell-out crowd. There’s no sign of any wheelchairs tonight, just a very stiff bassist whose robot moves might catch on! Jet lag is Winston’s excuse for their late appearance but any cobwebs are blown away within the first few songs as he makes the stage his own, smiles plastered on all of their faces. Parkway Drive sure know how to get the crowd all riled up dropping hits like ‘Bone Yard’ and the moshtastic ‘Sleepwalker’ with the pit open for pretty much the entirety of the set.

With a new album on the way it’s inevitable that we’d get a new song thrown into the set, no complaints here though because that song is immense. Winston introduces it as one of the heaviest songs they’ve written and he isn’t wrong, and the pause for effect before the face melting breakdown makes the crowd go nuts! I’ve never seen these guys live before but the crowd doing what looks like jazz hands in the air when there’s a tasty guitar solo is great! ‘Romance is Dead’ should really be the last song of the night what with the house lights coming on straight after but the chants for more aren’t ignored.

There’s obvious confusion on stage as a man gestures wildly at the band that this is the end as they start picking up their instruments ready for the encore. Its clear that the venue wants it over as people are getting hurt and they’ve already run over the curfew but there’s no stopping the Parkway Drive boys as they tear into the gloriously heavy ‘Carrion’. The PA might not be working properly but it doesn’t matter when the whole crowd is singing every word. It’s been a great show and hopefully it won’t be long before they grace our shores once more.

On another note I’ve read interviews with these guys and they’ve always come across as being genuine dudes and this is proved by the £5 donation to The Teenage Cancer Trust from all those on the guest list which I’m more than happy to make and I think more bands should be doing.

Review – Hannah Sebestjanowicz

Photos – Steve Gerrard

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