The clothing brand Impericon has put on some absolutely unmissable tours over the years, which have not only allowed music fans to connect with some of their favourite artists but have been the perfect setting for smaller bands to really put themselves on the map. This year’s edition of the Never Say Die! Tour boasted a spectacular line-up and we headed to the Electric Ballroom in London to cash in on the action.
First up was Lorna Shore, a New Jersey deathcore band that certainly succeeded in warming up the already quite sizeable crowd. The seven band line-up meant they only played a handful of songs, but in that short amount of time they seemed to make quite the impression. It was the band’s first time in the UK and so nerves were to be expected but their performance was as refined as it was heavy, coming together brilliantly to kick off the evening’s proceedings.
Polaris were next, bringing a taste of Australian sunshine to a cold London night. As a metalcore band, they had a slightly gentler approach than their predecessors but that is no testament to the way they truly packed a punch during their brief set. Songs were drawn from both their recently released album, The Mortal Coil, and The Guilt & The Grief, an EP from early last year. This mix was well received by the audience, and you could see that they were already beginning to get into the swing of things as mosh pits started to form.
The evening was well underway as Kublai Khan entered the stage, with vocalist Matt Honeycutt delivering a few words of wisdom to the audience before they started their set. Not so much a metal band as they are hardcore, they were a fantastic addition to the line-up as they served to create a variety at the gig that fans may not have expected. Their Rise Records debut Nomad was released at the end of September and so this was the perfect opportunity for Kublai Khan to see how a European crowd responded to beasts like ‘The Hammer‘ and ‘Antpile‘. In general, the audience seemed to love the performance, indulging in crowd surfing when instructed to and shouting along to some of the band’s more popular cuts.
It was Sworn In‘s first time in the UK despite being quite far up the bill, but they seem to be quite the buzz band right now so it wasn’t all that surprising. Vocalist Tyler Dennen has an air of mystery about him, and it was almost as if he didn’t want to be seen between the huge snapback he donned and the way he kept his hood up for the entire set. He’s talented though, supported solidly by the rest of the band as they powered through a couple of older offerings and selections from their most recent album, All Smiles. Crowdsurfers made it their mission to get to the front, with Dennen hi-fiving anyone who survived the journey. He was particular about his crowd interaction, encouraging those before him to “send someone to [A&E]” but it was all in good fun and the audience well and truly ate it up.
Chelsea Grin ran through their older tracks first before they set their minds to focus on material taken from 2016’s Self Inflicted. They caused a storm among the crowd, as it was now the section of the evening where gig-goers were attending specifically for the bands playing. The room filled up nicely as Chelsea Grin proved their worth, though there seemed to be an air of disappointment that the set was so short. Unfortunately, it was just a consequence of the number of bands playing paired with curfews, but you could tell that fans didn’t think the time that Chelsea Grin did have was utilized properly. While it’s fair to capitalize on a recent release, it may have been smarter for them to add a few more classic favourites into the mix. That aside, the band were on top form in their delivery, with vocalist Alex Koehler doing his best to captivate the crowd.
You may be curious to see how Deez Nuts fit in on such a heavy line-up since they’ve always been labeled more as “hardcore punk”, but more often than not, particularly in Europe, they tour with bands that have a much harder sound. Lead singer JJ Peters is a total enigma and the way he had the audience spellbound from the very get-go was something spectacular to watch. The band’s most recent release, Binge & Purgatory, saw them stray away from their usual lyric themes of getting drunk and partying to instead tell tales of what happens when the partying stops. The set wasn’t all doom and gloom though as of course they played some old favourites, enthusiastically performing and proving themselves to be the band that made the best use of not only their time but the space around them. Peters was like a kid high on sugar, bouncing around and making sure that everyone in the audience was participating.
Headliners Emmure have been around long enough that they know how to put on a good show without really thinking much of it. The crowd was buzzing with excitement immediately before they come on stage, and screams sounded out when the band became visible. The longest set of the evening sitting at roughly 45 minutes, it seemed to go past in no time at all as every person in the room was transfixed by vocalist Frankie Palmeri who has a real talent for getting people to hang on his every word. This year’s release Look At Yourself naturally had the most play time, and three songs made it from 2011’s Speaker of the Dead alongside a couple of cuts from a number of other older albums. This melting pot of brilliance was clearly favoured by the audience, who all seemed to know every word to every song that the band performed. It was an impressive end to a long but incredible night, and surely no one left disappointed after being treated to such a killer set from a band as iconic as Emmure.