Fear Before the March of Flames

support The Fall of Troy
author PP date 24/11/05 venue Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth, UK

The sharp reader will notice that something is missing from the title. It isn't The Fall Of Troy/Fear Before The March Of Flames co-headline tour, but these two bands were supposed to be supporting The Bled. But as events unfolded tonight, this wasn't going to be a case, but instead, it turned out to be a tri-headline event, with each band spending exactly the same amount on stage. But read on to find out why tonight's event was something very, very close to a disaster.

The entire lineup was The Bled with The Fall Of Troy and Fear Before The March Of Flames supporting. You can't get a much more "scene" or trendier lineup than that, as these are all bands that only people who follow the scene will know about. And since the 400-capacity Wedgewood Rooms was entirely sold out, the only thing you could expect from the audience was roughly that 90% of them would be scene-kids. And yes, as I arrived about an hour before the doors to be sure to catch The Fall Of Troy, I was probably the oldest person in the queue with average age around 15 to 16, and you could only see one or two other people without the emo-haircut. You can not imagine what a pain it is to stand in queue in between two groups of drunk, obnoxious, loud teenagers talking about things so irrelevant and idiotic, that the sanest person would consider suicide as a plausible option. "1 hour of this......" were my exact thoughts in the line. But when the clock struck 20:00, nothing happened. 10 minutes later i'm wondering what the hell is going on, when I'm only 50 metres from the doors and the queue still hasn't moved, and it's freezing outside. 20:20 I'm starting to think there's something wrong, but that thought disappeared momentarily as we were let in ten minutes later. A quick peak at the stage before heading to the bar returned some of those worries I had on the queue. There are some unopened equipment boxes but... no drumset? No amps? It's 20:30, the curfew is at 23:00 and there are three bands playing, surely they should have been setting up already, nevermind soundchecking!

So I'm standing at the front barrier with my beer, and the clock strikes 21:00. Still nothing. Half an hour later, and the stage is still empty. Crowd is starting to show their impatience and is throwing stuff on stage, shouting "Play some music!" and whatnot, after which you can hear "Mouths Like Sidewinder Missiles" played from a record. Roughly at this point members of the security come on stage and start taking photographs of the boo-ing crowd, all with their middle fingers up. The whole atmosphere has turned from anxious into a rather riotous state, and people start moshing without any bands on stage. There are rumours floating around that the bands missed their flights and are not coming at all, and I was fearing the worst, namely cancellation of the event that I had been looking forward to. Then, we catch a glimpse of Fear Before The March Of Flames walking across stage, followed by a flying beer cup hitting one of them on their shoulders. Everyone is confused and wondering what the hell is going on, as there is no information available. Finally, around 21:45 the tour-bus arrives and The Fall Of Troy runs on stage with their equipment and starts building their stage. The crowd is chanting "FAST-ER, FAST-ER, FAST-ER" as the clock is ticking towards 22:00. It gets so far that The Fall Of Troy guitarist Thomas is forced to grab a mic and say "Relax guys. I know we're late but just give us a few minutes more and we'll be ready". They then begin to soundcheck, and each time Thomas plays a riff on his guitar you can hear applauds and sarcastic shouts with similar content to "Great song guys! More!" or "This band was great! Wonder what the next one sounds like!", which clearly irritates the band. Thomas gives a thunderous look at the crowd when they're soundchecking the drums, and the room falls nearly silent...for about four seconds.

The Fall of Troy

Up until this point, I still have no official confirmation on why the bands were so late to the show. According to several rumours their flights were six hours late, followed by a bus driver several hours late to pick them up, so they first were able to leave London at around 19:30 to the show. But the fact was that The Fall Of Troy only had time for a quick soundcheck and were able to start their set at around 22:15, which is amazing considering they first loaded their stuff on stage around 22:00. The first thing Thomas said was "I'd like to apologize for all the bands we are so late, but we'll try to make it up by playing as hard as we can, but we can't play our full set because of the time limits". Props for the band at least for showing up, they could have easily cancelled the entire show. But god damn, I am glad they didn't, because The Fall Of Troy is one of the best bands you will ever see live. If you've ever seen videos of At The Drive-In live, or seen The Mars Volta live, you know how Cedric and Omar dance around the stage with their legs moving in the strangest fashion, and that's not too far off from The Fall Of Troy. Also, it's obvious to anyone who witnessed The Fall Of Troy tonight, that Thomas is one of the greatest guitarists on the scene. Not only because their songs ultra complex, with ever-changing riffs - if you can even call them riffs - but also because he jumps around the stage like a madman while still being able to play correctly AND is able to do all of his vocal styles from screaming to clean singing. No matter how much he leaned towards the crowd from the barrier or how much he jumped around the stage, every chord was spot on and I didn't hear a single mistake in their set. The entire band played so hard, and so passionately that only after their third song they had to stop for a few minutes, because they were so out of breath. They were clearly trying their best to make up for the late start.

I admit that just by reading the above, it may not sound like much of a show, but add in the light effects to the mix and you've got one hell of a vision in front of your eyes. Anyone who's ever been to a non-rock club will know what the floor looks like when white lights are flashed continously in the otherwise dark room; it looks like a diashow, and it highlights all extreme movements such as jumps, headbanging and so forth. Add a little bit of smoke on stage, and you've got an amazing combination of light, darkness and movement. And when your song material is songs as great as "I Just Got This Symphony Goin?'" and "Mouths Like Sidewinder Missiles" among others, the whole effect is even bigger. During their last song, Thomas threw his guitar to some unidentified guy (possibly from Fear Before/The Bled) who played the last song, while he was singing IN the crowd. If you've ever seen Bullet For My Valentine's video for "Hand Of Blood", that's exactly how it looked like. The crowd created an open circle-pit around him, as he was screaming in the final vocals of the song. As far as I could see from the crowd, almost half of the people had come specifically to see The Fall Of Troy. And no wonder, because they're slowly but surely gaining a cult-like status within their genre. If they ever return to the UK, i'll be the first one buying the ticket to their show.

9

Fear Before the March of Flames

They played only 20 minutes due to the time limit, and even though the curfew had been extended to 23:30, we were still running short of time. All bands had to play with the same set of amps and drums, as there was no time to do anything else than to plug in the instruments and do short soundchecks in between sets. So it took maximum 5 minutes before Fear Before The March Of Flames bursted into their set involving some of the most brutal hardcore the scene has seen since Zao. The band took advantage of similar dia-show light effects as The Fall Of Troy, making their stageshow look just as original as The Fall Of Troy's, but still quite different. Where Fall Of Troy jumped around like maniacs to their music, Fear Before's vocalist David did what almost all hardcore vocalist do at shows, and took advantage of the crowd as much as possible by leaning against the barrier, and screaming from within the high-pitch screaming girls. At other times he collapsed down to the stage onto his knees to deliver some of the longer screams, and often ended up lying on his back, only to rise up into a bridge/rainbow shape over the stage, while still screaming with full confidence.

The first five or six rows could easily be compared to a warzone. I thought I had seen it all when I received a few fists into my eyes and face, but then Thomas of The Fall Of Troy seemed to drop down from the sky, as he was suddenly screaming together with David against the barrier. I still have no idea when and how he arrived, because I didn't see him come on stage or anything. The already-insane floor turned into something that could easily be world war 3, and I was thrown several meters backwards by one of the most intense mosh pits i've ever seen in my life. Result? Several bruises all around my body, and I was among the biggest guys near the front. Great show.

8

Here's where a review of The Bled would go, only if I had time to see them. It was 23:10 and they were still doing the soundcheck, and I was forced to leave as the last train towards Guildford was at 23:28. But somehow, I'm not disappointed at all. I saw two awesome sets, and The Bled would've had to do something truly insane to get on top of either one of these. Anyway, they only had 20 minutes before the curfew, so I guess I didn't miss much. There are still a few tickets left for the rest of this tour, so if you have any spare money I recommend you to choose this tour over anything else you could spend it on.

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