As I approach the Rescue Rooms the queue of black clad fans stretches out down towards the bottom gate. Tonight is the first stop for Attila on their rescheduled sold out tour. These fans haven’t only been waiting in line, but also waiting since last year to see the band embark on their first UK headline stint.
First up are Brighton based self-labelled ‘hategroove’ band Fathoms, who open with the short (clocking up at just over a minute) “Hate Resonates,” before kicking into the catchy “XIV,” where vocalist Max Campbell is helped out with cleans by guitarist Dan Goddard, which gives the chorus a more ‘anthemic’ feel. The rest of the short set is peppered with old songs and new, off the soon to be released album Lives Lived. Bassist Tom Axtell almost steals the show, stomping around the stage and screaming every word at the audience, clearly in his element. Recently released video “Hell” gets the pit well and truly opened up, with the floor staying open permanently, limbs and bodies flailing everywhere, throughout that song and set closer “November / December.”
Check out the song “Proving Grounds” here.
Main support comes from Silent Screams, who mix deep growls and screams with beautiful melodic singing effortlessly, most notable in songs such as “Till There’s Nothing Left” and “The Way We Were.” Guitarist Ozzi Osman constantly hypes up the crowd, to get as much energy going as possible, which to an extent works. Pockets of fans shout back lyrics at the front, while the middle of the floor is once again a whirlpool of moshing and circlepits. Unclean vocalist Joel Haywood may sound menacing, stalking the stage and ripping the room apart with his screams, but the big grin plastered across his face throughout the gig says otherwise, as he enjoys every moment of being up there.
Finally comes the time this sold out crowd has been waiting for. After a short intro Attila come out swinging, with old single “Proving Grounds,” sending the whole audience into a frenzy. Only a few songs in and they are already picking up the pace, demanding a wall of death that covers most of the floor, bar the front few rows, who scream and dance along to every song that’s thrown at them.
Attila are a beast of their own, mixing dance music, rapping and questionable ‘haterz gonna hate’ type lyrics with brutal break downs and growls, the title of most recent album Guilty Pleasures being quite apt. Using dance samples to hype up the crowd they kick into “Middle Fingers Up,” which shows the contrast between rapping and growling perfectly, getting the whole audience to shout back the hook “Middle fingers up if you don’t give a fuck.”
Before treating the fans to “Shots For The Boys” vocalist Chris ‘Fronz’ Fronzak gives the security some work to do, as he encourages the masses to crowd surf over and give him a high five, which of course they obey; bodies constantly falling over the barrier with outstretched arms. Keeping his word Fronz acknowledges as many people as possible and this attitude is one of the stand out points tonight.
To any outsider, watching Attila’s music videos full of scantily clad women, shades and chains, or reading their lyrics such as “I like a bad bitch she fucks me all night, then she counts my money while I’m on my Playstation,” it would be easy to assume the worst. Arrogance and pompousness were both traits I had expected to see on stage, but this band seem one of the most unpretentious and courteous I’ve witnessed in a long while. Whether it be reaching out to the front rows throughout the show by all members (bar drummer Sean Heenan of course) or the whole band joining the barrier after their set to hug and thank everyone and give out set lists and guitar picks, it’s nice to see that a band who can sell out tours in a country they’ve never headlined yet still be humble enough to thank the people who put them there. The phrase “Never judge a book by its cover” comes to mind.
Before joining the crowd on the barrier though, the band leave the stage, only returning when the chants of “Attila! Attila” and “Suck my fuck” can be heard from everywhere in the room. They finish their set with crowd pleasers “Party With The Devil” and “About That Life,” giving the sea of people, who have been waiting since last year, one last rush of energy.
Check out the song “Hate Me” here.