Cardiff's Barfly, 19th November 2007
Reviewed by Ian Cook
Undertaking a strenuous touring schedule in support of third album Arrivals & Departures, Burlington, Ontario, Canada Screamo outfit Silverstein plan a lone Welsh date. A gargantuan pool of teenagers congregate outside the venue's entrance, patiently waiting for the minutes to dwindle towards opening time. A sold out affair, such a noteworthy fact holds little surprise when the group's steadily rising fanbase is rightly taken into account. Silverstein's inaugural headlining tour is dubbed Let's Make Party, and Phoenix, Arizona's Blessthefall occupy the main support slot. Meanwhile, fellow Canadians The Vincent Black Shadow were named to initiate this evening's live concert. Pencilled in as the itinerary's fourth show, cities dotted across Europe will contemplate a similar exhibition in due course.
The Vincent Black Shadow
The respective members of Vancouver, British Columbia's The Vincent Black Shadow traipse onto Barfly's stage, firmly entrenching their toes within their chosen positions. Vocalist Cassandra Ford clutches the microphone, darting an aimless stare towards a fellow comrade. Vaguely glaring into the wilderness, Ford strangely fails to even remotely take note of the audience. The set's inaugural composition comfortably jogs along, and Ford's chords resonate a strong and distinctive tone. Despite the fact that the noise levels which emanate from the vocals, drums and keyboards are altogether correct, the guitars' vibes remain only faintly audible. Vocally, Ford proves efficiently robust. Her audience interaction skills require visible improvisation however, and Ford critically needs to jettison that distant, faraway gaze. Drummer Anthony Kirkham and keyboardist Mary Ancheta form a cohesive team, incorporating electronic / beat elements which gel miraculously adeptly.
In all genuine honesty, let's hope Phoenix, Arizona's Blessthefall exhibit more dynamism in comparison to tonight's inaugural supporting group. When the set's opening track rapidly unfolds, vocalist Craig Mabbitt's pulsing torso sprawls across the metal barrier. Whilst digits ranging from lithe to stubby reach towards the frontman, Mabbitt wails down the microphone's perspiring cranium. A twist of wondrous fortune, Blessthefall's guitar fragments uphold perceptibility (a statement which cannot be uttered when referring to The Vincent Black Shadow). A rich blend of heavy, crunching riffs, spontaneous bursts of moshing inevitably occur. Boasting atomic musical spirit, infectious moshing afflicts both axeman Eric Lambert and bassist Jared Warth. During one specific moment, an onstage altercation seems imminent. Mabbitt's vocals switch between both a squalling tone and a clean approach, a method flawlessly implemented. The reasons as to Blessthefall's fledgling UK profile submit a watertight case, and the group's future looms radiantly.
Silverstein tread onto the stage, and a warm, hearty commotion greets the Canadians. A technical difficulty initially blights one such guitar, a glitch capably handled by vocalist Shane Told. Querying as to whom would like to jovially receive a loving hug, the casual question paints bemused expressions across several faces. With the technical issue being eventually resolved, opening anthem “Sound of the Sun” gushes into potent life. Its blistering riff chugs away, and the noise vibrates courtesy of the walls. While less animated in comparison to Blessthefall's reception, the audience warbles along nonetheless. Barfly's low ceiling fortunately claims no victims, a huge relief for lofty bassist Bill Hamilton. A fine hybrid of both melodic and heavy riffs pose an intimidating combination, competently assisted via Told's accomplished vocals. Intuitively sculpting the audience's very emotions, the crowd's burgeoning appetite for Silverstein proves insatiable. Material lifted from third full length Arrivals & Departures, issued in July 2007, prospers from healthy airing, whilst several tracks from 2003's When Broken is Easily Fixed and 2005's Discovering the Waterfront also feature. Silverstein's difficult path to success is unequivocally assured, and future live Welsh dates are a seemingly foregone conclusion.