Live Review

Gallows, XOYO, London

It takes mere seconds for the whole crowd to realise that Wade MacNeil was the right choice for filling Carter’s shoes.

There’s a definite air of anticipation this eve. As XOYO slowly fills up, attendees are instantly greeted with the snarling, aggressive sounds of Feed The Rhino, whose thrashing stage presence becomes almost mesmerising. Ending the set with frontman Lee Tobin on his knees in the centre of the venue’s floor, it’s undeniable that there’s a powerful force behind this band.

Next up are Sharks, a band that sound entirely light in comparison. Their punk melodies are slick, but feel almost sweet in comparison to the openers, and thus, their set falls a little flat. By this point though, the audience’s nerves are kicking in about what’s to come, allowing the Leamington Spa band a little more room for ease.

Since Gallows originally burst onto the scene all the way back in the mid-2000s, they’ve carried an air of the iconic. Their punk aggression was eloquent and energetic, their live shows were a spectacular brawl, they bore such a quintessentially British edge, and they had Frank Carter. And following the latter’s recent departure, tonight’s new introduction, per say, has a lot riding on it.

In all honesty, it takes mere seconds for the whole crowd to realise that Wade MacNeil was the right choice for filling his shoes. From the moment they burst into ‘Mondo Chaos’, MacNeil is naught but commanding, already diving into the audience. Instantly, the bar is set.

As relief fills our minds and hearts, the venue’s barrier buckles and gets carried out by security, proving that this version of Gallows show no signs of being any less destructive. ‘Some people said I wasn’t British enough, some people said I wasn’t ginger enough, some people said I wasn’t angry enough,’ MacNeil growls, pacing the stage whilst making a speech that perfectly voices what - at this point - now seem like the collective’s naive fears.

The rest of the set packs a similar punch, with bodies flying across the crowd throughout tracks from past and present. People climb the room’s pillars, leaping from them as MacNeil’s own fierce growl breathes new life into songs like ‘In The Belly Of A Shark’ and ‘London Is The Reason’. Tracks from the band’s latest EP ‘Death Is Birth’ are incredibly powerful and their initial demo ‘True Colours’ is so explosive that they play it twice. Steph’s younger brother Rich Carter makes an appearance and the show cumulates in half of the venue piling onto the tiny stage for a triumphant ending of ‘Orchestra of Wolves’, leaving us in no doubt that what we’ve just witnessed is infinitely closer to rebirth than death.

Tags: Gallows, Features

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