As I arrive at the venue, one thing stands out about the line weaving down the side of Rescue Rooms, and that is black. Black, black, and more black, with a hint of red hair here and a dash of purple spiky belt there, the overall effect is a sold out sea of darkness – with me stood awkwardly to the side in my blue jeans and grey jumper.
While we’re on the subject of not quite belonging, first up are hardcore quintet Silent Screams, who do their best to rile up the mostly unfamiliar crowd. They blaze their way through songs such as ‘Everything Overcome’ and ‘Desperation’, the latter see’s clean vocals / bassist-on-loan Sam Kubrick Finney instigate a wall of death, to which the crowd happily oblige. Throughout the set, the lack of knowing by those in attendance does leave that spark that a room full of fans would achieve missing, but not for lack of trying. Kubrick Finney, guitarist Ozzi Osman and frontman Joel Heywood do their best to make a memorable set – Joel Heywood joins those on the barrier for penultimate song ‘The Way We Were’, his commanding presence finally getting the whole floor bouncing. They finish on ‘When It Rains’, and leave having definitely made an impression on at least half of the crowd, it’s just a shame the other half weren’t so willing to let themselves go to the unfamiliar, but not unenthusiastic band. (3.5/5)
Next up are New Years Day, who, judging by the multitude of screaming fans as they enter, fit in perfectly as the second-in-command to Motionless In White’s black-clad army. They kick into opener ‘Kill Or Be Killed’, vocalist Ashley Costello a blur of red and black hair. The crowd lap it up, chanting along “We’re so, we’re so contagious!” during ‘Epidemic’, and screaming their love for the title track from most recent album ‘Malevolence’. Costello, along with guitarists Nikki Misery and Jeremy Valentyne stomp up and down the stage, giving the fans everything they came here to see, but I’m not quite convinced. Maybe I’m ten years too late (read: ten years too old) because the music is good, and the vocal talents of Miss Costello are decent, but nothing about the band is exciting to me. Of course, I am in the vastly outnumbered minority, with the majority of the room screaming their appreciation when fan favourite ‘Angel Eyes’ first note rings out. They end their set with ‘Defame Me’, Misery and Valentyne leaning into the adoring masses, making the night extra special for the fans in the front rows. (3.5/5)
Finally the band everyone has been waiting for, Motionless In White make an entrance with ‘Death March’. The black-clad army has turned into the black sea, with arms and bodies moving from the back to the front even on the balcony. Chris Motionless’s self proclaimed “song for the die hard fans” ‘Fatal’ proves that pretty much everyone in here falls into that category. Political anthem ‘America’ hints at a teeny bit of irony. Lines like, “Making saints out of (useless) pop stars” and “We upload our status and beg for attention” are littered through the verses, as the whole sea chants along with Chris Motionless “A-M-E-R-I-C-A” and takes videos and photos to (probably) post on social media after the show.
After ‘Hatefuck’, Motionless In White treat us to an unexpected, but enjoyable rendition of Linkin Park’s ‘One Step Closer’ (the whole age thing popping up again as a notice a handful of people around me don’t know the words). The chanting in ‘Dead As Fuck’ is very reminiscent of the chanting in ‘America’, which is the only con I can see as a listener unfamiliar with Motionless In White as a band. A couple of times throughout the set everything seemed to blend together, the only distinctive qualities being whether they played a gothic-y Manson-esque song or a heavier metalcore type song.
During ‘Contemptress’, Ashley Costello takes on guest vocal duties, to the utter delight of the audience. The band finish the main set with ‘Scissorhands (The Last Snow)’, leaving the stage only to be brought back on for a final encore of ‘Reincarnate’. Knowing this is definitely their last chance, the crowd lose their minds with one final burst of energy. (3.5/5)
Words and photos by Carrie-Anne Pollard.