Live Review: While She Sleeps / Cancer Bats – Birmingham Institute

When we walk into The Institute in Birmingham for the start of the UK leg of the While She Sleeps/Cancer Bats tour, Belgium based band Oathbreaker have already taken to and departed the stage, with American based Hardcore band Hundreth all loaded in and ready to begin their set. There are no introductions, no building fanfares Hundreth smash into the first track without even a second thought.

It is interesting that on further reading, to discover that a band like Hundreth actually run two non-profit organisations Hope Into Humanity and The Water Cause, arguably breaking down stereotypes associated with hardcore music and it’s fanbase. With Hundreth on the verge of releasing their first album through Hopeless records, it will be interesting what the next sixth months have in store for the band, with a return to the UK probable, their performance in Birmingham will undoubtedly have gained them new fans.

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The first of the nights headliners While She Sleeps hit the stage, seemingly with something to prove assaulting the crowd with a barrage of heavy riffs and screaming vocals. The quintet, in their own words were “happy to be back.” It’s interesting to observe that the current album ‘Brainwashed’ that the band is promoting with this tour is only their second full length album. With the fanbase that they seem to have, and the performance that they put in, you could be excused in thinking that While She Sleeps are seasoned veterans. These co-headline tours can be used to great purpose in contrasting two sets of fans, however the packed Institute rooms was certainly not split in favour of one band or the other and once While She Sleeps had left the stage to a rapturous applause the crowd prepared themselves for the next hour long set.

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Unlike “young pups” While She Sleeps, Canada’s finest hardcore punks Cancer Bats have been on the release- tour- release cycle for nearly ten years. Cancer Bats bring such a high level of aggression and anger to their music, it literally hits you like an atom bomb. You cannot argue that Cancer Bats put everything into their live performances, and as a band that might just glide under the mainstream but it feels like that if they wanted to smash up into it they could, it feels like Cancer Bats want to be a dirty underground band who people discover and then pass onto their friends, and not corporately pushed down people throats. Cancer Bats are a true force majeure, and luckily they are playing Hit the Deck Festival so you can be assured that I’ll be catching them again this weekend.

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