St Valentine's Day. A day full of chocolate, love, hearts and Metal! Well this year it certainly was, as Trivium played a packed out O2 Institute with SikTh and SHVPES.
First on the bill is SHVPES. This Birmingham based band have been climbing the ranks and this spot on the lineup is a huge deal. But by god do they deserve it. With blistering vocals from the front man Griff (who you can hear our chat with here), who has more energy than some of the biggest known bands, and air tight music from the entire group, the lovers (and singletons) in the crowd were treated for coming down early. But they repayed the favour by clapping along on command, opening circle pits and even at one stage holding lighter/phones up. This band is one to keep an eye on, as the future is shvping up nicely for them (I'm sorry, I couldn't resist).
SikTh are on next. These guys reformed in the past few years and apart from a few festival appearances, I haven't yet caught them. And I am thoroughly pissed off with myself for not seeing them sooner. They opened the set with Philistine Philosophies, and from that point onwards they kept getting better. The duel vocals suit each other perfectly and the rest of the band make an insanely great mix. Hyping the crowd with talk about being in the home of metal, they closed their set with the chant of 'Look at the Sky', and the crowd did not disappoint. My only downside to SikThs slot? It was far too short. This band need too get a headline tour now and come back to give the crowd what they wanted, a full set.
Finally the band that undoubtedly the crowd are here to see. Trivium. The Florida originating band are back in the UK, finally. With two giant white skulls on either side of the stage, it's phenomenal how big they managed to make to O2 Institute Stage look. But it shadowed in comparison to the prescense of the foursome that launched into 'Rain' after Iron Maidens 'Run To The Hills' prepped the crowd. And launch into it they did. This is a band that sound even better live than they do on album, which very few manage. Matt's vocals are jaw dropping, but what's even more impressive is the ability the band have to keep the crowd hyped up, singing along all the while playing blistering solos and thrash metal to perfection.
The setlist that they bought to Birmingham was amazing. They managed to squeeze in a song from every single one of their albums. But this isn't just a greatest hits, these songs have been hand picked by the band and you can feel the love for each track and see the joy on everyones faces as they play through each and every one. As the set came to an end, Trivium showed their love to the crowd and closed on 'In Waves', which was pretty much sung for them.
This tour has only just started and it's a massive 42 dates. If you haven't got your ticket, go out, go get money and go get one. You will be silly to miss this line up and these bands.