Brixton Academy, London
20th February 2013
Three Trapped Tigers open up tonight’s proceedings to a fascinated audience. A mesmerising creation of technical beats and soaring synths allures the otherwise timid three-piece to the crowd. Drummer Adam Betts is the centre of attention with his flawless and creative technique. However, Three Trapped Tigers do little to entice movement but they certainly arouse the ear drums.
In terms of stage dynamics, LA’s Letlive are quite the opposite to the static Three Trapped Tigers. Frontman Jason Aalon Butler is clearly engrossed in the music. Amps, drum mats and anything else on or off stage that crosses his path is used as a playground. He leaps and prowls around whilst the band deliver some of Fake History’s most emotive and socially directed songs, including a passionate rendition of ‘Muther’. ‘Casino Columbus’ sees Jason front flip, throw a mic stand and guitarist Jeff Sahyoun destroy his axe. After a frantic set, Brixton Academy are awe struck, not quite sure what just physically and aurally hit them.
If any other band were topping the bill tonight, Letlive would have stolen the show from their grasps. But no such task is possible when the mighty Deftones are headlining. Opener ‘Diamond Eyes’ sets the score, evidently this will be a montage of the band’s greatest hits with ‘Passenger’, ‘My Own Summer (Shove It)’ and newcomer ‘Swerve City’ all encouraging simultaneous head bangs, mosh pits and choral sing-a-longs. Chants of ‘Chinnnno’ in rest bites epitomise how well loved these metal titans are. Mind-blowingly heavy bass, atmospheric lighting and effortless stage presence all add up to create an undeniable spectacle.
Tonight’s show is something unique with every band on the bill impressing far beyond expectation in their own way… Three Trapped Tigers for their talent, letlive. for destructive suave and the legendary Deftones for again proving themselves to be one of the greatest musical treasures around.
Words: Emma Wallace
On first hearing ‘Le Prologue’, the opening track to ‘Fake History’, it’s easy to assume that you’re about to hear a drawn out, suspense building intro track that you would’ve lost interest in before reaching any kind of semblance to a song… but no, letlive. write off the suspense and unleash an outrageous and calculated assault, aimed straight at your unsuspecting nervous system feet first with big fucking boots on. Before you know it, track two, ‘The Sick, Sick 6.8 billion’, has happened and it’s happened hard, and you don’t get a chance to breath until it’s over.
If you miss the time when Anthony Green was still in Saosin, and Glassjaw had just released Worship and Tribute, ‘Fake History’ is probably going to blow your mind. In terms of a post-hardcore record, it’s near perfect, and considering the fact that it’s basically an hour long, keeping the listener interested is a victory in itself. ‘Fake History’ achieves this with variety. Each track is a journey, both vocally and musically, and this allows the whole record to ebb and flow as a whole. Vocalist Jason Aalon Butler can belt out an ear-splitting scream, switch effortlessly to a whisper, and tops it off by holding those big notes in a way that Andrea Bocelli would most likely have busted a blood vessel or two. The drums on ‘Casino Columbus’ sound like thick, heavy artillery whereas tracks like ‘Lemon Party’ provide rhythms that’ll have your dancing shoes on in seconds. Sure, loads of bands can mix it up in an album, but what sets this apart is that it’s all presented so damn stylishly. All the musicians are solid and it’s undeniable that Butler’s vocal skills are slick as hell and more than accomplished.
If you were fortunate enough to see them at the Old Blue Last for their first UK headline show, then you won’t need convincing. If you missed it, fear not, for it seems clear that letlive. are a bomb that will be exploding into your lives, turning and rolling heads simultaneously, and ‘Fake History’ is lighting the fuse. This album is what you love about post-hardcore. It highlights everything that was good and exciting about the genre: unforgiving and impassioned vocal hooks, a rhythm section that is both restrained and relentless, all of which will get you singing, dancing and generally losing your shit.