hmv reviews… Killswitch Engage/Trivium @ O2 Academy Birmingham
Killswitch Engage (KSE) and Trivium. Two of America’s biggest modern metal bands, and Roadrunner label mates, clash in the UK on a co-headline tour, bringing riffs, huge choruses and pits galore. Let's see who came out on top...
O2 Academy in Birmingham. Nice and central.
Before we get into it, were there any good supports?
Battlecross and Miss May I provided the support, Battlecross won the crowd over with some enthusiastic, if generic, metalcore, and Miss May I were fantastic, throwing some melody in the mix along with their modern metal sound, they whipped the crowd up nicely for the first headline act.
Which band's crowd was bigger?
Trivium's. The crowd went mental for the band, forcing them to stop 2 minutes into set opener 'Brave This Storm' to allow some unfortunately injured fans (one of which needing an ambulance) to get out of the pit. In fact, they actually had to stop the set a second time during 'Down From The Sky' for the same reason. It's safe to say the pit was up for Trivium, though the stoppages inevitably subdued the atmosphere a tad. KSE always bring a party, though, and they had the whole arena bouncing, much more so than Trivium who had an insane pit but the fringes just headbanging along.
So what were the sets like? Which songs drew the biggest cheers?
Predictably, Trivium’s hottest responses came from the classics 'Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation', 'In Waves' and 'Pull Harder...', they also showcased their new material. When the band did have to stop the set, the crowd was responsive in aiding the fallen. KSE got a huge reaction, and Jesse was given a huge cheer for his “glad to be back” speech- the Alive or Just Breathing era stuff getting a massive response and several small pits breaking out during 'This Fire Burns'.
Who's between song banter was the best?
Trivium aren’t much for chatting, keeping the between-song natter to a minimum, and what there was, was typically (and, in fairness, they acknowledged this) scripted “can you beat last night’s crowd” type stuff. KSE, however, are a different kettle of fish. In Adam Dutkiewicz they have metal’s foremost fratboy comedian, claiming his own band to be all about “Beer, mediocre riffs and tits” and trying to get the crowd to chant for said female body parts just before their big ballad 'My Curse'. Jesse dedicated 'Always' to anyone who has recently lost a loved one- this actually had a huge, bald metalhead in front of us in tears. They totally engage with their audience.
Who put on more of a show?
In terms of staging, Trivium won hands down. Flanked by fifteen-foot tall “T” logo’s, their set was akin to something from a classic metal arena show, fashioned to look like an icy Nordic fjord complete with several fog machines to add to the atmosphere. KSE? They had a drape behind the stage and a platform at the back to stand on. There wasn’t even a drum riser. But they don’t need such frivolities- the band exude energy and Dutkiewicz in particular is in constant motion, meaning any staging would probably just trip him up.
What was the highlight of each set?
Trivium’s triumphant closing duo of 'In Waves' and 'Pull Harder on the Strings of your Martyr' were an immense end to their precise set, but KSE bring the party and Jesse singing 'My Last Serenade' (complete with the whole crowd helping) was awesome. Trivium's snowstorm deserves a special mention though.
In the end, KSE owned the night. Trivium were incredibly tight, for the most part, and were hugely accomplished and professional given their set stoppages and a few technical issues, but KSE’s Jesse and Adam exude charisma, with Jesse providing a commanding foil for Adam’s constant tomfoolery. No band ever looks like they are having more fun than KSE and that enjoyment is infectious- and they have the tunes to back it up.
Trivium and Killswitch Engage's back catalogue's are both available for download for our store now.