US five-piece Miss May I open the evening’s activities with a frenetic set that sees front man Levi Benton enthusiastically cover more kilometres of stage in one short set than some musicians cover in their careers.
The band has no problem getting the early crowd moshing with their brand of metalcore, covering tracks from Monument and 2012’s At Heart, despite largely playing in the HiFi’s murky darkness.
There’s little doubt that Canada’s Cancer Bats are providing many of the younger Bullet for My Valentine fans with a musical education they weren’t expecting. With a crushing set of their trademark brand of crusty hardcore-tinged punk metal threatening to deafen an entire generation, the band’s chaotic cacophony is a spectacle to behold as singer Liam Cormier and bassist Jaye R Schwarzer put their bodies on the line to whip the crowd into a frenzy. For much of the set, Liam is all over the stage like a crazed loon, whipping his neck like a Black-era Jason Newstead. Between Liam’s witty between-song banter and the band’s performance, they prove to be the highlight of the night and definitely won a slew of new fans.
Playing to a hand scrawled set list scratched onto a series of randomly torn pieces of cardboard and hauling their own gear, Cancer Bats prove to be everything the UK’s Bullet for My Valentine aren’t. The multi-million selling Britons play a much more sanitised brand of metal that, while boasting all the hallmarks of their influences like Metallica and Iron Maiden, comes to its audience without the edge or sense of danger – not that their audience tonight gives a single shit about that.
Touring their new album, Temper Temper, and opening with the first track off the album, Breaking Point, Bullet are in friendly territory with most of the audience wearing one of their t-shirts and singing along to every word like devout Hillsong victims. There is no doubt these guys can shred; front man Matt Tuck and guitarist Michael Padget play super tight galloping Maiden-esque riffs and dual leads, helping to re-introduce lead guitar to a new generation of metal fans.
However, at the end of the night it’s a safe, almost sterile spectacle when compared with the two opening acts and the grandness is further squashed by the HiFi’s diminutive proportions. They’ve been called the Nickelback of metal. While that may be a painful truth, just like the Canadian mega-selling rock band, you simply can’t deny their song writing abilities and they have the HiFi audience eating out of their hands tonight.