With Support From RSJ and Maplerun.
Scholars Bar Leicester 18th November 2013.
So the bill for tonight’s gig stated O2 Academy 2/Scholars Bar and knowing how good the O2 venues are usually, I jumped at the chance to go review American Head Charge, as this is a comeback tour, of sorts, I knew they’d need to bring it, supporting them throughout the UK leg is Maplerun from Greece and my friends and complete mental cases, RSJ.
Imagine my surprise then, when I turn up at Leicester University to find the O2 Academy doors locked, as I start to panic, thinking I’d got the wrong day, I ran around trying to find where the gig was. Thankfully reception had it covered, gave me a sedative and pointed me in the right direction. After a few wrong turns, running up, then down an incorrect flights of stairs, I eventually found the place. As I walked into the Scholars Bar, which can only be described as a students union bar from the 90’s, I heard RSJ sound checking, THIS IS WHERE THE PARTY IS!
The Scholars bar isn’t the sort of place you’d expect the likes of American Head Charge to perform, considering they use to sell out arena’s up until their split in 2009. The band officially re-formed in 2011 and completed a ten date tour of America but this “Shoot” tour, is world wide and the UK is the second leg of it. As the band start to gather momentum and word starts to spread throughout the lands that American Head Charge are back, I can only assume, after four years off, these smaller, more intimate shows stand as a test for them and the fans?
First up though were Maplerun and as stated, are from Greece and other European countries and consists of Nick (vocals/rhythm guitar ), Orestis (lead guitar), Chris “Jo” (Drums) and Nick “The Moor” (bass). Being slightly less chaotic than the other two bands, these guys warmed the small clusters of students/metal heads that had started to form nicely. I did have to leave to go interview RSJ, but more on that in a mo, but after that though, I came straight back and caught the rest of their set. I liked their sound, but the track that got the biggest reaction was a System of a Down cover. Speaking to one gig goer, he likened the lead singer to that of Serg Tankian, I totally disagree, but I loved the cover all the same.
Not that you can tell from the pictures, but the crowd had swelled in time for RSJ to grace the stage. Ominously, a mic stand stood in the middle of the floor and not knowing quite what to expect, the crowd congregated around the edges.
Starting RSJ’s set was a track that no one was expecting, Jermaine Stewarts delightful little number “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off” which made everyone chuckle, myself included! What followed then really blows you away as RSJ rip into a powerful set list, which has been bolstered thanks to the release of their new album Higgs Boston, I mean Higgs Boson! If you’ve never come across RSJ before yet like the Metal/Hardcore variety, I’d highly recommend this band. A lot of tonight’s crowd, especially the ones I spoke too had never heard of RSJ either, however, like Dave from Derby, he along with many others thoroughly enjoyed tonight’s performance of crazy!
I knew my life was in my hands tonight, I got kicked up the arse, nearly smashed in the face with a guitar several times, and I was almost forced to perform the act of fallacio on Dan, who I actually think wanted to get on my shoulders but was facing the wrong way. If I’d have successfully lifted him up, then his crotch would have been in my face but thankfully he abandoned that idea, but it was funny to be a part of the madness! On vocals Dan was extremely energetic tonight, climbing over me, the rest of the crowd, the speakers, RSJ boxes that kept on being thrown in various locations in the room and he even got a crowd member to belt out a few words!
Guff (guitar) was equally as energetic tonight too, it must have been that power nap he had on stage when part way through a song he decided to take a lie down, I must point out that this sort of behaviour isn’t uncommon at an RSJ gig, nor is the rest of what I’ve described which is why I, and many others including Metal Hammer, just love these guys and their live shows. Matt, (bass) Dan, (Guitar) and Greg on drums all opted to stay on the stage tonight, but be sure, that each played their own part in tonight’s craziness as per usual!
Everything about this band is complete mayhem, definitely check out their music videos and regular crazy updates on the bands Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/rsjband. If you need any more convincing, check out this interview we conducted tonight – video contains strong language, parental guidance advised.
After a short delay, which became evident when American Head Charge got onto the stage, out of the six members in the band, consisting of Cameron Heacock (Vocals), Chad Hanks (bass), Karma Cheema (guitar), Justin Fowler (keyboards), Chris Emery (Drums) and Ted Hallows (guitar), only five were here tonight, as it was announced that Justin had to go home because of an emergency, leaving the keyboard section of the songs to be run through a computer – which wasn’t in the playing mood tonight.
When the band did manage to string two tracks together (through no fault of their own, Computer says NO!) The crowd simply erupted! At one point, I was stood, up against the barrier, as there was no pit, trying to stay out the way, when a body came flying over and crashed into me (on more than one occasion) and as I looked up, I could see both Ted and Chad looking down at me as if to say, ‘isn’t this what you was expecting?’ As this was my first ever AMC gig, I had no clue that the crowd were there to go mental, which was a bit naive on my part! Between tracks there was plenty of banter from Cameron as he addressed the crowd and laughed at Karma going bonkers at the lap top! At one point he asked if he was pronouncing Leicester right, which he was, but suggested their was some unnecessary letters in the word, to which I totally agree!
Not knowing much about AMC, tonight was a great opportunity to witness something quite special. I compare the band to another that I really like “Dry Kill Logic” who are no longer about, but the two bands are very similar as far as their style.
Their music sits within the Industrial Metal category and consists of heavy riffs, deep bass lines, melodic interludes and some fantastic vocals. As you can see from the set list below, the new EP “Shoot” was played in its entirety tonight, along with some firm favourites, judging by the crowds reactions as they started! With every new track played a circle pit evolved, faded, then re-emerged on the next track. I think we can safely say AMC are back and are packing a mighty punch! I also need to mention the woman that stood behind me, as she was hysterical, she kept laughing in sheer joy at everything these guys did tonight, completely bonkers, just like tonight’s show!
Set List consisted of: 1. All Wrapped Up 2. Pledge Allegiance 3. Dirty 4. Take What I’ve Taken 5. Americunt Evolving Into Useless 7. Psychic Garbage 8. Effigy 23 9. Sugars Of Someday 10. Sand 11. A Violent Reaction 12. Just So You Know 13. Writhe 14. Loyalty 15. Seamless 16. Rock ‘n’ Roll Nigger
Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)