The Evil Vulture Tiger Tour, plus Dead And Divine and Admiral’s Arms.
The Evil Tiger Vulture Tour has played the length of the UK before landing on The Underworld in London, where the stunning line-up has pulled in a sold-out crowd.
It’s early doors tonight and opening the show are Admiral’s Arms, who take the slowly filling room and shake it right to the core. The Parisian five-piece play a tight, energetic set and gather a suitably impressed gathering as the set goes on. They really deserve a bigger crowd, but with 6pm doors most people are still at the pub.
Second on are Dead and Divine who receive a much heartier welcome from the filling room. Frontman Matt Tobin really engages with the pumped crowd, and the band seem to be having the time of their lives as they rip out song after song, mostly pulled from 2011’s ‘Antimacy’. A solid performance from the Ontario boys more than pleases the die-hard fans but seems to win over the whole room, and as the set ends with Tobin singing – mic stand and all – from the middle of the swirling pit, the mood has well been set for the onslaught that’s yet to come.
If you haven’t seen The Chariot before, then no review, video or commentary can suitably describe the live show or attempt to do it justice. [They’re playing at Hevy Festival 2012, so go and see it for yourself!]
The band take to the stage to sound check and stay on to start the show – no big entrance needed. Frontman Josh Scogin asks for the venue to turn up the lights and keep them bright for the entire show, before telling the room the eternal Chariot mantra: “This is a celebration. This microphone is your microphone. This stage is your stage. This house is your house. This band is your band. Everybody up to the front, be free.”
They tear straight into ‘Long Live’ album opener ‘Evan Perks’, and Scogin only screams out one line before throwing himself into the crowd. It’s a Chariot show, so stage dives, crowd surfing and all-out chaos stirs the venue from the absolute get-go, and it is unrelenting. Each member of The Chariot is in his own element, thrashing around the corner stage and leaving it whenever he feels like it.
The bar is empty and the pit is full; it’s clear whom everyone’s come to see tonight, and it doesn’t take long for “Chariot! Chariot!” chants to fill the room. The ever-modest band are notably chuffed with their adoring crowd in the swelling pit, and Scogin thanks everyone for hanging out with them again and again throughout their set.
They throw in a surprising cover, declaring themselves “The Who” and playing a Chariot-ised version of ‘My Generation’ that has everyone singing along.
“They call us The Chariot, we call it freedom,” declares Scogin, and watching a show like this, they certainly look like a band who are free to do whatever the hell they want, and it works. “Thanks for making this so amazing for us, you’re just too kind.” And with that they’re done; final song ‘Back To Back’ blares through the venue as they close a hard-to-believe-that-actually-happened set.
It’s hard to imagine how anyone can play a set after The Chariot, but Norma Jean are hardcore veterans and certainly one of the bands you can rely one for a solid live show. The crowd is jam-packed and some fans are practically euphoric as they spill over onto the stage.
“This was already the best show of the tour easily,” frontman Cory Brandan Putman tells the room as the band pack in tracks from classic 2002 debut ‘Bless The Martyr And Kiss The Child’ (the one from back when Josh Scogin was the singer) to 2010’s ‘Meridional’.
And of course, it just wouldn’t be right if former-Norma-Jean-frontman-now-The-Chariot-frontman Josh Scogin didn’t rejoin his old band for at least on old song. It’s clear the crowd have been eagerly hoping and waiting for this moment, as even more stage diving chaos ensues as the two frontmen scream it out.
The set proves a fair contrast to the last, but while members of Norma Jean aren’t throwing their instruments into the pit or hanging from the ceiling, their live show gives for a solid, loud and fervent performance that resonates with the dedicated crowd, who are absolutely brimming with passion at every word.
This line-up was certain to make for a good live show, but every single band on the band delivered and then some. The Evil Vulture Tiger tour is playing throughout mainland Europe until their final show in Cologne, Germany on March 24th. If it’s stopping anywhere near you, don’t miss it.
Review by Laura Callan
Photos © Laura Callan