Review: Escape The Fate – Limelight 2, Belfast
I’ve always been more of a Limelight 2 guy than Limelight 1. Especially for gigs. There’s something about the claustrophobia of the low ceiling that just makes the sound hit that much harder. Or at least, that’s how it seemed for tonight’s acts.
I arrive at the show in time for SLAVES, who perform a riotous set of melodic modern metal and rock. With echoing vocals and drums that pounded like thunder, their relentless sound forms a vicious stage identity led by a dual-pronged vocal and guitar attack.
While the gruff ariose of vocalist Matt McAndrew and the spidery guitar riffs would have been enough for any normal band, I found myself transfixed by drummer Zachary Baker, who hammered away at his set with a wronged vengeance. SLAVES blend of sheer vocals, electrifying guitar and terrifying blast beats is a potent mix that left Limelight 2 significantly sweatier than the start of the evening.
The interval post SLAVES proceeds without much fanfare. Roadies occasionally take to the stage for a live tune-up, giving tantalising nuggets of what to expect. The distortion dial seems turned up to eleven for the evening.
Escape The Fate are welcomed to their instruments by a frontline of devil horns and cheers, a sight that illicit’s inaudible laughter from a number of the members. Continuing the melodic element established by their openers, but with a heavier edge and distinct emo rock vibe, ETF open up the nights proceedings with a razor-sharp distorted fuzz. Pushing a sound that combines the melodrama of pop-punk with a metallic weight, it was mere seconds before the crowd was jumping.
There was something primordial about ETF during this set. The scorching riffs and pounding drums were gateways to the nostalgia of a scene that was born in the 2000s and had come again to life tonight. The crowd, for their part, were happy to be swept away in a sea of blood pumping, high knee pogo-ing exuberance and moshing.
It’s not often that Limelight 2 is drowned out by the collective singing of a crowd but ETF was able to spur that kind of miracle out of the gathered fans. A testament to the input of the songs and the dedication of the fans. Frontman Craig Mabbitt had a large grin plastered across his face, like a sweaty mirror, echoing those that were singing along in front of him. Dramatic, sticky and loud, there’s not much more you can ask for.