A boat docked at the side of the River Avon, in Bristol may not be somewhere you would expect to have a night full of metal, but the Thekla was the setting for night three of the Devil Sold His Soul –’ A Fragile Hope’ 10 year anniversary tour. And the ships metal hub and shape actually lend themselves perfectly to creating an awesome sound for the three bands that are on offer tonight.
With doors at 7pm, it doesn’t take long for Foes to step on stage and kick-off proceedings for the evening. The quartet from Liverpool bring the unique blend of hard-hitting riffs and beauty to their music. They are almost the perfect foil to tonight’s headline act, with their clean vocals dusted with atmospheric guitars and big crescendos in their songs.
It is this calm within the chaos that is endearing the Foes, and for people who before night were not too familiar with their music would more than likely be going home and checking it out afterwards.
Their on stage performance matched the aesthetics of their music. Full of life and energy, but coming down and being full of emotion when it was called for. It was a shame that due to the four-piece going on so soon after doors had opened, the room wasn’t as full as it may be deserved, but those who were there to witness Foes certainly came away satisfied with what they say (3/5).
The same could not be said for Polar, however. The Surrey five-piece quickly set the tone, charging full of aggression from the start. With a growing crowd, the enthusiastic metalcore quintet show plenty of energy with guitarists Fabian Lomas and Tom Green jumping around and vocalist Adam Woodford using his pose box to full effect. However, the energy levels were not being reciprocated but the crowd.
After a few calls of “move forward”, it was clear that this crowd wanted to remain static, to the frustration of Woodford who would bellow “move fucking forward, come on don’t be pathetic your whole life”. This is not to take away from the band musically. Having been together for the best part of eight years, they are incredibly tight and have perfected their sound. But tonight was just not their night (1.5/5)
When it came to the main event, fans were eager with anticipation and also intrigued to see how the dynamic of Devil Sold His Soul with both Ed Gibbs and Paul Green on vocal duty would work. However, the crowd’s doubts would soon be reassured as they burst into ‘As the Storm Unfolds’, as many realised the two complimented each other. The way the pair split the vocal responsibility worked really well, and leaves you questioning why weren’t they doing this from day one?
Playing an album which is 10 years old, in full. can certainly come across as a huge nostalgia trip, but the interesting thing with ‘A Fragile Hope", is that it still sounds as relevant today as it did when they were first released. DSHSdon’t miss a step throughout the whole set, and with Gibbs returning to the band for the first time in four years that is saying something.
The crowd eat up everything Gibbs and Green have to offer, lapping up every word, screaming it right back at them, with heavy hitters ‘Sirens Chant’ and ‘Awaiting the Flood’ serving up as the highlight of the set.
For a band that may be seen as playing pretty “serious” heavy music, on tonight’s evidence, Devil Sold His Soul look like a band having fun and enjoying their time together om stage. Most notably, half-way through their set, Green nudged Gibbs and the two just smiled at each other and that smile spoke a thousand words. By the time, the final chords of encore number, ‘End of Days’, ring out, you can sense a real laid back, positive energy emanating from the band (4.5/5)
Words by Tim Birkbeck (@tim_birkbeck)