FIGHTSTAR + ARCANE ROOTS
LOCATION: TROXY, LONDON
Without a doubt, Arcane Roots are the perfect choice to warm up the crowd for Fightstar. Opening with powerful track ‘Over and Over’, the band are quick to pour their energy all over the stage. Andrew Groves’ signature soaring and distinctive vocals quickly captivate the audience, this was evident throughout the entire performance. Groves’ ability to produce Fall Of Troy style riffs so effortlessly and with great confidence, really enhances his performance. The band manage to combine the perfect mix of the heavier and the softer side to their music, including softer songs ‘Leaving’ and ‘You Are.’ They also manage to incorporate both tracks off their newest EP, Heaven And Earth, as well as older tracks.
Highlight of the set ‘Slow Dance’ is astounding, it gives Arcane Roots the ability to showcase the diversity of their music. Seemingly starting off as one of their mellower tracks, then suddenly progressing into one of their heaviest tracks yet. The metalcore style drum beats provided by Jack Wrench (In Dynamics) are even more robust live. One thing about Arcane Roots is they know how to choose sets well, and tonight has shown that. Finishing on their first single from their most recent release, ‘Nothing Breaks, Nothing Moves’, leaves the crowd hoping for a longer set, whilst still warming them up for Fightstar.
Having only released their latest album one day ago, Fightstar seem excited and eager to perform their new tracks. Playing it safe and opening with old favourite ‘Sleep Well Tonight’ seems to go down well with the audience. However, tonight was the live debut of tracks from Behind The Devils Back, including ‘Sharpe Tongue,’ ‘Behind The Devils Back’ and ‘Sink With The Snakes.’ The newer tracks are much heavier, with the opening of ‘Sharpe Tongue’ almost sounding like something djent band Meshuggah would produce.
With Behind The Devils Back being in it’s infancy, the set is well varied with a good mixture of songs from their previous releases Be Human, Grand Unification and One Day Son, This Will All Be Yours. Charlie’s vocals are superb, particularly on the heavier tracks, juxtaposing robust screams with beautifully serene cleans with great ease. Simpson seems to particularly enjoy thrashing about on stage, acting every inch the frontman of a post-hardcore band, worlds away from his pop star past. Simpson’s brother Will also fills in on guitar for many of the heavier tracks, giving Charlie the ability to really showcase his vocal talent. The entire band seem happiest when performing their heavier tracks.
Alex Westaways vocals, although a little quiet, provide a good contrast to Charlie’s louder vocals, emphasising the loud and soft dynamic the band have going on. ‘Palahniuk’s Laughter’ was the crowd favourite, which the band performed faultlessly. Other highlights included ‘Deathcar’ and ‘Paint Your Target.’ The encore provides a serene, smooth version of ‘Wake Up’ and the first single from the new album ‘Animal.’ Although a little predictable, they finish on ‘Mono’, something which the London five-piece always seem to do. Although it does go down well, perhaps a better idea would be to finish on one of their heavier tracks as that’s where their sound seems to be heading now. Nevertheless, Fightstar surpass any of their other performances from this year, with the perfect comeback – heavier music and seeming tighter as a band, and happier.