Just over two years to the day since their first UK headline show in London, Spiritbox finished an extensive European tour in England with one of the final dates being Bristol’s O2 Academy – long, long sold out despite being a Wednesday night.
Opening the evening is Brand of Sacrifice, whose brand of tech-tinged deathcore is a good few shades heavier than many in attendance were expecting to hear tonight. Despite some shocked reactions, there’s also plenty who are well aware of them though, as they rip through a bulletproof tight set underpinned by exceptional musicianship and Kyle Anderson’s phenomenal vocals. At the conclusion of their set, I’m left with a sense of mystery as to how they haven’t experienced an explosion akin to Lorna Shore, given the quality of the performance tonight. I’m certain there are much bigger things for this extremely talented band in the future.
Main support comes from Loathe, who grew rapidly with the release of I Let It In and It Took Everything back in 2020 and haven’t looked back since. Their sound is diverse and eclectic, and certainly more introspective than the night’s openers. Initially, it feels quieter not only in tone but also in volume – lacking the sub-bass of their predecessors, some of the impact is lost initially – but they swiftly pick up their stride, moving through calmer moments reminiscent of the softer end of Palm Reader through into almost Dillinger Escape Plan-esque chaos at times. Their variety and ability to feel completely at home with each style is a mark of their musicianship, and the audience takes their performance in eagerly with great enjoyment.
After a brief break, Spiritbox takes to the stage with screams from the crowd drowning out their entrance music before launching into opener “Rule of Nines.” Vocalist Courtney LaPlante strides across the stage with the confidence and competence of a true natural performer, with screams and singing all absolutely flawless, matching the quality of their albums as well as the studio playthroughs which helped the band grow so rapidly over the last few years.
Guitarist Mike Stringer rips through riff after riff, alternating staring down the crowd through tapped complex passages with furious headbanging in heavier parts – whilst drummer Zev Rose moves from groove-laden parts to double-kick-filled walls of sound with ease. Josh Gilbert, now a permanent member of the band, adds his vocals as well as bass, with both his cleans and shouts picking up the parts covered by Sam Carter (Architects) in “Yellowjacket” most noticeably, whilst embellishing LaPlante’s in the rest of the set.
The crowd stomp, sway and “Shake their lil’ British asses“ (LaPlante revels in saying this) through the entire set, and Spiritbox show no sign of slowing down. Their first UK shows sold out in ludicrous time, with this more extensive following not far behind – including two nights headlining the sizable Roundhouse in London, complete with pyro and being filmed for a future release. The next step into borderline arena headliner won’t be far off for this unique and incredibly gifted band, and, off the back of performances like tonight, it’s wholly deserved. Get more info on Spiritbox on their official website.
1. Rule of Nines
2. Hurt You
4. The Void
6. Circle With Me
8. Silk in the Strings
9. Secret Garden
10. Mara 3
11. Holy Roller
14. Eternal Blue