Parkway Drive have become one of the few bands left in the genre of metal that you can almost guarantee will give you a live performance of the highest quality. With five musicians that could simply be described as experts at their craft, an adoring fan-base and five albums worth of throat slitting, ferocious metal – the Australian’s have an aura of power surrounding them that simply cannot be ignored.
Nottingham’s Rock City had the pleasure of playing host to the second night of the bands sold out UK tour. Opening up the evening were Orange County’s Stick To Your Guns who were a fine choice to begin a book where ultimately carnage would ensue at almost every chapter. Their unavoidable bounce made them an endearing encounter, not dwarfed by a packed house in front of them either – the band set themselves up as a group of musicians that can be relied on to pulse energy into a crowd.
Asking Alexandria have found themselves in the news more often than most in the last 12 months, however it seemed like business as usual for the Yorkshiremen. Playing with the same youthful swagger that caused their explosion in popularity seven years ago. ‘Dear Insanity‘, ‘Not The American Average‘ and ‘Final Episode‘ cause more than a ruckus and it’s abundantly clear they’re a band that still possess a big enough fan-base to push for bigger things, and while the returning Danny Worsnop‘s on stage nonchelance comes across as not part of the act at times, his vocal ability cannot be questioned and gives an extra layer of quality and dexterity to a band whose last album lacked both of those elements.
As Parkway Drive hit the stage, opening up with ‘Wild Eyes‘ unfortunately there is no phraseology that can be used to accurately describe the atmosphere inside the venue. With a tremendously blistering first half of the set which featured fan favourites such as ‘Carrion‘ and ‘Karma‘ as well as more recent songs such as ‘Dedicated‘ and the chorus lead, sing along provoker ‘Vice Grip‘ all played at maximum intensity and proficiency, there’s not a spare breath in the house.
The relentless one-two of ‘Sleepwalker’ and ‘Dark Days‘ provide seeps of adrenaline to keep a crowd that has already operated at full capacity for the last 25 minutes going, while vocalist Winston McCall remains effortlessly excellent and scathing throughout, controlling the crowd and angst throughout the evening with consummate ease.
One of the more overwhelming factors of the Aussies live performances is their ability to draw emotion from a crowd with music that is unequivocally aggressive. Throughout ‘Swing‘ and ‘Idols and Anchors‘ there’s a mixture of mosh pits, stomp, and strangers bellowing in unison. This isn’t just people head banging to ferocious metal – this is genuine fans showing admiration.
An encore of the uncompromisingly punching ‘Crushed‘ and the raging ‘Bottom Feeder‘ caps off a setlist where Parkway Drive pulled every ounce of energy out of a rabid crowd. From the stamina draining performance of drummer Ben Gordon, to the incredible technical masterclass of lead guitarist Jeff Ling – the quintet put in nothing short of a stellar performance.
Parkway Drive have grown into so much more than just a metalcore band, instead they have become an entity which metal fans can hang their hats on to represent the genre well wherever they are, whoever they’re playing to. The continued greatness of this band is a joy to watch, and it’s hard to believe that there are too many people out there who don’t see them as one of the truly great things to happen to metal in the last 15 years.