While She Sleeps - Carlisle Brickyard
Live Review

While She Sleeps – Carlisle Brickyard

You’re never sure with the penultimate night of a tour. Will they be knackered from 2 weeks on the road? Are they concentrating on the final night tomorrow? Any such doubts were dispelled soon after arriving at a sold out Brickyard venue shortly before Dead Harts tear in to a pretty brutal 30 minute set. Winning over a Carlisle audience can be quite tough for the first band on; not so the case for the Sheffield 5-piece, who deliver a tight and polished barrage of hardcore, metal and punk rock, mixing older and newer tunes alongside tracks from their accomplished debut mini-album ‘Born Into Rags To Die No Richer.’

Inviting comparisons to the likes of Norma Jean, The Chariot and Stick To Your Guns, Dead Harts manage to sound like all three in places, yet deliver an altogether more original, and ultimately more appealing live show to watch – there isn’t the sense of ‘yeah these lot are good but we’ve seen it all before,’ that all too often takes over when watching or reviewing shows these days. A great way to kick things off, and certainly a band we’re all keen to see again if the chitter chatter of the smoking area afterwards was anything to go by. Front man Matt Baxendale offers a sincere thank you to the audience and the other bands before tearing in to their final song, and you can tell he means it – “we wouldn’t get to do this every night without While She Sleeps, or you lot, so thanks, we hope we’ll see you again.” We do too mate.

Feed The Rhino are up next and I’ve had the pleasure of seeing these guys more than a few times, so knew what to expect. Last time they came here they nearly blew Pulled Apart By Horses off the stage, so it’s no surprise to see the While She Sleeps crew paying close attention at the merch stand. The Kent five piece are an energetic bunch and may well have been practicing their synchronised head banging as they chug through one meaty riff into clever breakdown after the next. Or maybe that’s just what happens when you tour as relentlessly as this lot do. It’s difficult to develop and then maintain a formidable live reputation in an increasingly crowded hardcore/metal market place, but FTR not only have an arsenal of killer tunes (e.g. Tides, Mr Red Eye, and Left For Ruins amongst MANY others) but a unique personality in front man Lee Tobin who patrols the stage in complete command of his audience. Drawing comparisons to the likes of Every Time I Die, Architects and The Ghost of a Thousand, FTR are more robust than all of them, and have that enviable quality where you just can’t put your finger on what makes them so good. But they are, the bastards. So far, so good.

While She Sleeps arrive on stage to rapturous applause and appreciation from the enthusiastic audience, and singer Lawrence Taylor wastes no time in utilising every corner of the Brickyard stage, clambering up on to the lighting rig, jumping off, getting in the pit, starting a wall of death. All the usual metal show boxes ticked nice and early. Tonight’s set demonstrates heavily their debut album This Is The Six, with tracks Dead Behind The Eyes, Our Courage Our Cancer and Seven Hills all getting an airing, as well as older tunes such as The North Stands For Nothing and Crows impressing the WSS old school contingent, and the latter causing the biggest mosh pit of the night.

It’s a polished set and you can tell how pro WSS are – not a note put of place, dynamics and levels of each instrument perfectly in sync, and a well-practiced audience interaction which sees several members crowd surfing throughout their one hour set. Ending bang on time, there’s no encore tonight, but that doesn’t stop a good third of the audience hanging around patiently for the bands to emerge after the show. Having brought enough merch with them to clothe Ethiopia, the members all pose for photos and sign autographs willingly, and make sure everyone leaves with a t-shirt or CD. It’s clear there’s a great deal of mutual respect amongst the three bands – there’s a D.I.Y punk rock ethos in the air tonight, and both audience and bands leave happily, job done.

All in all a great gig, and one which would enable me to happily recommend all three bands to anyone with a passing interest in hardcore, metal or punk rock. While She Sleeps may be the biggest of the three, and were certainly impressive. But for me, tonight was all about the two supports. Watch out for Dead Harts and Feed The Rhino tearing up a venue near you soon.


Venue: Carlisle Brickyard
Support Band: Feed The Rhino, Dead Harts

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