If there is any band that have seen their fair share of problems, it’s Escape The Fate- prison stays, betrayals, drug problems and more line-up changes than are worth thinking about. Yet here they are heading out on the Hate Me tour, in celebration of their fifth album of the same name, and they’re doing it in style.
Like A Storm are the first band up; digeridoo toting hard-rockers all the way from New Zealand. In the same vein as tonight’s headliners, their stomping show complete with hanging mirrored Ouija boards on either side of the stage and endless amounts of chilled out NZ charm makes for an ideal start to the evening. Final song Love The Way You Hate Me, featuring frontman Chris Brooks’ digeridoo break-down is both unique and interesting whilst still being unequivocally rock ‘n’ roll.On their second jaunt around the UK in as many weeks, new grave stars New Years Day show this venue what for, a little over a week since they played the exact same stage on the Motionless In White tour. Tour hopping has clearly done them some good, NYD are definitely showing no signs of slowing- probably a good thing considering this tour takes them around Europe and well into February. Although the onstage dynamics seem a little off, the gritty Kill Or Be Killed is spurred on my crowd chats of ‘sick, sick, all of us are sick!’, while new song Malevolence, the title track from their new album, feels like it comes from a painful place- which gives it the fuel to be executed with vengeance.Fearless Vampire Killers are always something else. Continuing the theatrical goth-tinged theme, their fervour is unrelentingly second to none. Although they only had the chance to play one song from their new EP Bruises- the burdened Like Bruises, it was a well-balanced set with the latter serving as a more reflective moment, paired with far more energetic tracks such as Say What You Want From Me and Maeby. Neon In The Dance Halls is a triumphant party moment, only to be topped by final song All Hallows Evil where the crowd seem to fall into their groove. Although short-lived, Fearless Vampire Killers as always delivered the goods with *coughs* fearless conviction.Escape The Fate are on a different level altogether. Despite some timing and technical issues, they take to the stage almost fifteen minutes after the advertised time- seemingly paying very little mind to this, they rattle through their set regardless and finish just after the curfew, having only to drop one song from their setlist. With no back-drops and no over-production, the raw element of the live show is more than enough to carry them through. Newer song Just A Memory kicks off proceedings on a high, before they drop an early double-whammy of The Flood and 10 Miles Wide, both from their This War Is Ours album. Ungrateful’s breakdowns twinned with the anthemic chorus creates a new energy in the room, and it’s good to see a band performing with so much belief in their music- especially from drummer Robert who gets to his feet in appreciation of the whole thing, at least half a dozen times during their short set.From their new album Hate Me, Live For Today gets its live debut right here in Manchester; with its funky intro and razor-sharp lyrical phrases, it’s an instant hit. Providing a slightly calmer moment in the set are Ashley and Something; both of which are screamed in euphoria by the crowd, both solid classics for this band. However, there’s no sign of a lesser welcome for Remember Every Scar, which provides an ideal ‘woah ohh, woah ohh, ohhh’ choral sing along for the audience to join in with as frontman Craig Mabbitt sings about clickin’ heels, drinking from the bottom shelf and the like. Presumably it’s been a while since Manchester’s Club Academy has seen groove like that provided by Gorgeous Nightmare, yet it’s One For The Money that comes out on top, allowing for anything to go down; a mosh, a dance- its nigh on impossible to keep still during this song.A short time-conscious break before the encore gives everyone a chance to pull their socks and take a deep breath in preparation for the one and only This War Is Ours, with its gut-wrenchingly intricate guitar introduction and enduring battle mentality, there’s not a song that says ‘we mean business’ quite like this one. Escape The Fate may not feel as strongly about the events that led them to writing this song as they did at the time of its conception, however its deliverance is no less passion-fuelled and intense.
If you take into account the many, many adversities this band has faced, it really is a miracle that they’re here, on the first night of their headline tour in support of their fifth album. However, luckily the stars have somehow aligned for Escape The Fate, and combined with their hard work and utter, unfaltering determination they managed to continue to make things happen. So here they are, absolutely killing it with only the music, their perseverance and their love for the fans to make their live show a completely unforgettable one.
Photos by Erin Moore at Forte Photography UK