Cancer Bats – The Haunt, Brighton – 23rd January 2019

Cancer Bats - The Haunt, Brighton - 23rd January 2019
Photo by Joe Boothby

The Toronto-raised hardcore-punk pirates that go by the name of Cancer Bats did a marvellous job of moving their legacy forward with a brilliant 2018, in which the group released their sixth studio album, The Spark That Moves, and laying waste to The Hope & Ruin after a sold out show. It seems that they are off to an equally impressive 2019 with their new single ‘Inside Out’ and a brand new tour, which sees Cancer Bats return to Brighton once again for yet another sold out gig, this time at The Haunt.

Before doors opened, there was a lot of chatter regarding Cancer Bats, it was clear from the very get-go that the people getting their tickets ready were very big fans of the group, which meant that I was able to fit in perfectly, as a pretty huge fan of them myself. What interested me about the fans was the range of different age groups. Cancer Bats were obviously a band who had the influences that attracted an older audience such as Black Sabbath and the underground hardcore aesthetic that appeals to the younger fans.

The show started off straight away. There was no need to dilly-dally as there had clearly been some preparation made in advance. The opening act, Underside, made an impact from the very moment they, along with their awesome mascot, set foot on stage. After building the tension up with a creepy ritual-like facade, they shook the venue with their unrelenting heavy sound. The mascot was only up on stage for a handful of songs but still helped get the crowd pumping by displaying a hyperactive energy to accompany the band’s demented nu-metal style. I would compare their sound to the likes of Soulfly as well as Crossfaith. Needless to say, they really started the evening off with a bang and left people raving about them post-show.

Following up was Bleed From Within, a metalcore group from Glasgow. They really engaged with the audience well which led to the numbers in the crowd to bump up quite a bit. People were certainly quick to step forward as soon as they started performing. Their music had a tonne of depth thanks to the arsenal of guitars, along with the fast drum beats and bellowing vocals. All of these elements fused together marvellously to create an almost Parkway Drive-like sound. It was a very engaging and epic set that made for an excellent warm-up before the main event.

The crowd didn’t budge during the 20 minute interval between Bleed From Within and Cancer Bats. Everybody knew that it wouldn’t be worth losing their place. Drinks could wait. A trip to the toilet could wait. The top priority on everyone’s mind was to get a good view of this amazing band. Thankfully for us, the band came on-stage early to help set up their gear, shortly before re-appearing to let the musical floodgates open.

The band seemed just as happy to be in Brighton as the crowd and this created an excellent chemistry in which Cancer Bats effortlessly connected with their fans. Ever since they first played at Concorde 2 back in 2006, they’ve made sure to visit as regularly as they can and, in doing so, they have collected countless fans. There really was a celebratory and joyful vibe in the air. The open stage gave way to so many stage dives that I ended up losing count and there were circle pits a-plenty.

This show also offered Brighton quite a few firsts, such as the inclusion of a new drummer, following the family commitments of original drummer Mike Peters, their first time performing classic hit ‘Butterscotch’ in years and, of course, our first time hearing new single ‘Inside Out’ live which proved to be one of many highlights of their set.

Proving even further just how close Cancer Bats are with their fans, they even left the stage to join the crowd, chatting with fans as they made their way to man the merch stall once their set was over.

In conclusion, I absolutely loved this show. It was simply the most enjoyable from of chaos and has really left me excited to see Cancer Bats when they return to Brighton once more.

Joe Boothby

Facebook: facebook.com/cancerbats
Twitter: twitter.com/cancerbats

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