Cardiff's Clwb Ifor Bach, 6th November 2007
Reviewed by Nadine Ballantyne
It's a typical Tuesday night in Cardiff, and roughly fifteen people (if that) grace the main entrance to Clwb Ifor Bach (meaning the Welsh Club). They're awaiting entry, and wish to escape from the ever harsher evening chill. Seeing only a handful of concert goers outside can be daunting for all involved, whether it be the groups, the venue, the promoter or the fans. Frankly, all want the hype kept aloft when they get inside the venue, and all want the groups to avoid disappointment. It’s early on though, and this reviewer has witnessed groups create a pit from the efforts of just three audience members even. Really, it’s a case of how and whether these bands are capable of controlling the emotions of every person in the room.
Shaped By Fate
Shaped By Fate are the local Welsh support for the night, and couldn’t fit the bill any better. By now, a few more people have turned up. This just lends them more edge to play around with, and grants them an opportunity to be the ones to start destroying the place. Whichever way, Shaped By Fate aren't afraid of getting down, getting dirty and jumping straight into the crowd. At one point, this involves vocalist Paul Fortescue storming around the main floor. Then, a fan tackles him. He usually tends to jump in the crowd first, and starts the pit going. The group has no regard for anyone’s safety, though nor do the fans themselves. They're out to cause some chaos, and they display that charisma too. Each of their facial expressions just scream Metal; the axemen fling their guitars, and play their individual instruments behind their heads during parts. They jump around, and demonstrate some mighty fine Rock poses. In short, they do everything they can to show you what they're made of. Shaped By Fate's set seems to fly by, and you begin to wonder if the other bands will be able to top this. They prove to live up to their name, and it's surprising that more people aren't in attendance just to see them. They could easily supplant the ever more popular “Emo” Hardcore groups, and put those respective artists in their correct place. At the moment, they can definitely be supremely acclaimed as one of the top Welsh Metalcore bands.
The Mirimar Disaster
Main tour support The Mirimar Disaster lower the tone, and that's in terms of impromptu carnage at Clwb Ifor Bach. Hailing from Sheffield, they can be described as a Progressive Metal quartet that favour instrumentals. They play two numbers, and that's before mentioning even a single word to the crowd. That spoken word turns out to only be a brief hello, and it's a fairly shy one at that. The Mirimar Disaster are not here to talk though; they're here just to relax, and showcase their material. When you concentrate upon certain parts of their songs, you can notice that the musical structure is reminiscent of Atlanta's Mastodon. They lack the energetic fire previously displayed by local act Shaped By Fate, and it seems a bit of a let down. The set's offerings wind down the mood prior to Will Haven gracing the stage though, and this is possibly good in some respects. Now, the fans can reserve their energy for the main act. Then again though, opting to place Shaped By Fate first on the bill can be dubbed a wasted opportunity. The majority of fans had yet to arrive, and the Welsh guys would've been a better choice as main support. On the other hand though, their music can be fast or slow. It's still heavy enough for you to enjoy, and still lends Metal fans the opportunity to engage in some prime headbanging. Also, you won't become overly bored after several minutes. Despite this, it isn't enough to inspire an ecstatic response. The listener cannot realise where one song ends, and the other begins - only know that they played through two at the start, and that's as we're told by a member of the group. One day though, it'd be interesting to hear some main vocals attached to the music. This is as opposed to the drummer screaming a few words in the background, words that anyone two rows from the front aren't going to hear. After what seems like only a handful of tracks, The Mirimar Disaster leave the stage.
By now at least, the show's attendance figures seems to have risen. This is great, and that's since it should be that way. An eerie intro increases the crowd's anticipation, and inflates the growing hype. Singer Jeff Jaworski walks to the stage, and that's all it takes. Will Haven descend into a crazed determination, and immediately catapult straight into their brutal, downright heavy style of music. Jaworski bears an overwhelming stature, and is gifted with a tense and bone crushing scream. He appears tough, and has the ability to take care of himself. A revealing pair, his eyes disclose what he plans to do next. The overwhelming audience reception heartens the frontman, inspiring a running plunge straight into the hub of the crowd. They're rather welcoming, and Jaworski disappears into that immense fan gathering for quite some time. A pit rumbles only a mere two rows behind the stage, and this doesn't stop him in the slightest. Such antics draw the souls of group and fans alike closer together, and encourages Will Haven's fanbase to flourish. Countless others tread in his very footsteps, and climb the stage. Upon doing so, they launch their vulnerable bodies. straight back into the ensuing chaos. Tonight, security personnel display no interest or passion; one guard casually stands there with his head firmly placed in his very palms, leaning against one mightily loud amp. Nothing but swirling hair, pumping fists and many screaming faces collectively form the front row, boasting voices that'll likely be cut to ribbons by the time tomorrow morning arrives. Onstage, the members splendidly gel as a cohesive unit. Despite the fact it seems that additional stage space would be rather beneficial, they display empathy towards the crowd. As the evening draws to a close, that fanbase present tonight might as well take to the stage with the headling act. Jaworski's ill thought remark that England is their home rightly suffers a fierce “boo”, though you know how proud Welsh natives are of their respective country. His mistake is quickly corrected, and the frontman apologises with some laughter. Every song tonight has been just as heavy as the last one, and the crowd does nothing except heavily contribute to the growing carnage. Despite this, Jaworksi can't help but say “this is the song where you beat the shit out of each other” - they do so in the metaphorical sense, and for the entire evening.