Bullet For My Valentine

O2 Academy Birmingham 7th December 2016.

Having not been to a gig for a while, I was quite excited about getting back to what I love doing. Tonight’s gig promised to be special, but my enthusiasm soon died when I tried to drive into Birmingham at the height of rush hour. Thankfully, I managed to arrive at the venue before doors opening, which in itself was a miracle! I don’t suppose it helps that Christmas is just around the corner!

Michael Paget - Bullet For My Valentine

Bullet For My Valentine (BFMV) were scheduled to do two dates here in Birmingham, the first of which was last night. Initially, we were down to review that show but due to the fact the venue was up to capacity (SOLD OUT), they had to cut back on the press numbers, which wasn’t an issue really, however it appears both nights were completely different. It also turns out that the lighting at last night’s show wasn’t as good as tonight, which must have been completely terrible, as tonight wasn’t ideal but we managed to get a few pictures we like! BFMV’s set list differed as well – new stuff last night, old stuff tonight, which suited me fine! More on these guys in a bit, but first the support bands.

Supporting BFMV on both nights, was the up and coming quintet from New Orleans, Cane Hill. It quickly became apparent where they draw their inspiration from ‘musically’ as you simply had to look at was written on the drum kit. Described as head bangin, beer drinkin, pot smokin metal, they’re clearly trying to make a statement however, due to their chosen topics, are they limiting their audience, do kids these days still do these substances……of course they do but should these topics be endorsed? I wouldn’t of thought so, but I’m old (er), so I’m meant to appear responsible.

Elijah Witt - Cane Hill

There’s no disputing these guys have got talent, buckets of energy and plenty of agro about them, sadly, however, no one could see them. I’m all for allowing the music to speak for itself but the lighting for these guys was terrible. Personally, I felt sorry for the people who paid good money to see a show but instead got darkness with WAY too much strobe lighting!

Second up, were a band I’ve been looking forward to seeing live for a while, Killswitch Engage. There are some bands that just connect well with a variety of metal fans by enlarge. Some merely appeal to sub genres and only those people who follow that particular type of metal sub-genre, but this band seems to appeal across the board. People say these guys are predominantly nu-metal, with elements of classic metal thrown in. According to Spotify, the bands second most played track is in fact their cover of Dio’s ‘Holy Diver’ and it’s one of those covers you could easily consider as being as good as the original! I wouldn’t say better, but that track has helped them to appeal to more people and helped them to connect with a crowd who may not necessarily know who they are and in KSE’s case, that track has helped them immensely! It’s hard to believe these guys have been going for the best part of 16 years now and have produced seven albums, the latest of which was released this year, titled ‘Incarnate’ and it’s a belter!

Adam Dutkiewicz - Killswitch EngageTonight’s set was full of energy, with everyone playing their part to gee up the crowd. Although these guys have been doing this for many years, it’s great to see a well seasoned band still get up on a stage and still look as though they’re enjoying themselves and that was very much the case tonight! Mike D’Antonio, on bass – what a performer and those facial expressions… priceless!

Jesse Leach - Killswitch Engage

I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw these guys again, very soon, in the summer in fact, at a festival near you!

Although the headliners, Bullet For My Valentine, hail from Bridgend in Wales, you wouldn’t of thought it as all three bands worked very well and complimented each other nicely. It’s refreshing to go to a gig where all the bands have a similar style, yet are all very original and to see the crowd rocking the night away!

Jamie Mathias - Bullet For My Valentine

Seeing as BFMV released their latest album ‘Venom’ last year, it makes sense they would go on tour to promote it, however, doing two consecutive nights within a city is a bold move and not one many bands can get away with!

To ensure selling enough tickets to warrant the move, you have to do something different. If you dedicate one night to the new stuff and another night to the album that made you, which in BFMV’s case was the album ‘The Poison’ released back in 2005 and has their monster anthem ‘Tears Don’t Fall’ on it, it’s certainly going to draw in as many fans as possible. Matthew Tuck, the bands lead singer, even acknowledged what that track has
done for the band and thanked the fans for helping them achieve everything, within their career so far, which I though was nice!

Matthew Tuck - Bullet For My Valentine

Although I like the new album, I’ll be honest, it’s new and I’ve not lived with the tracks long enough to get ‘that’ passionate about them. The older material however, is what got me into the band in the first place, so to be given the opportunity to be in the pit, while BFMV played ‘Tears Don’t Fall’ is why I love doing what I do!

Tonight’s show was a true spectacle and one that can only be described well, if you were there. If you weren’t there, you seriously missed out on a brilliant night of metal.

Review and photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)