Atreyu plus Shvpes
Venue: Camden Underworld
Date: 29th April 2015
ATREYU ARE BACK! Ahem…excuse my inner 16 year old excitement as metalcore legends Atreyu return to the UK for the first time in nearly 5 years, for an extremely intimate one-off show at the Camden Underworld. Having sold out instantly, the buzz was there from the moment the gig was even announced. Even when I turned up early to the venue, I could see that people had camped outside in sleeping bags ready to queue up.
Kicking off the night were Shvpes, (pronounced “shapes” and formerly known as Cytota). To be blunt, I’m impressed they managed to get on this bill, especially being the only support for one of the most influential metalcore bands going. The set was rather painful to watch; at best the atmosphere felt like I was watching a local band at a local venue and I was there out of politeness. The deadest crowd I have ever seen and I can’t even put that down to a lack of audience – the floor was busy but there was no emotion at all for the majority of the set and pretty much every attempt to get a rise from the crowd fell flat. The biggest reaction Shvpes got was when they mentioned the headline act – it just showed that nobody really cared about the openers.
Credit to Shvpes by not letting it get to them, or at least not showing it, as they smashed out some pretty brutal breakdowns, and some great musical talent in their modern metalcore grooves. The vocals were a bit of a let down – the harsh vocals were fine but the singing was quite awful and I’m hoping that it was just a bad day for Griffin Dickinson, or it seems they he was punching above his weight on vocal capability. In general I’m hoping that this whole set was just an off day because it wasn’t impressive and I wasn’t left with any need to pay attention to them in the future.
You can’t win them all and it was always going to be interesting to see how Atreyu were going to be able to dust off their hiatus cobwebs and win over the UK crowd again, after being away for so long. In reality it was like Atreyu had never left as they opened up with ‘Doomsday‘ and vocalist Alex Varkatzas didn’t even need to say anything as the crowd shouted “GO” and erupted into madness. Considering the size of the band I doubt they have played many venues as small as The Underworld in a while and especially venues without a barrier. Fans took every opportunity they could to get on stage, and crowd-surf on each other.
Performing classics like ‘Right Side Of The Bed’, ‘Blow’ and even going back to 2002’s ‘Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses‘ album with ‘A Song For The Optimists’, it was a night of pure nostalgia with a small taste of what is to come with their forthcoming album ‘Long Live‘ as they performed recent single ‘So Others May Live’. In all honesty, it is a track with the same brutality that Atreyu have always had and the same technical prowess, it is not a new Atreyu, they are just picking up where they left off.
Towards the end of the set, Atreyu wanted to show off a bit as bassist Marc Mcknight decided to go for a wander during ‘Ex’s and Oh’s’ , playing his wirelessly connected bass in the crowd with the punters near the back, even taking a sip of one fans beer as he played. Then the crowd were treated to a solo shred session from “Big” Dan Jacobs that led into the incredibly technical intro of nearly everyone’s favourite track ‘Bleeding Mascara’. To finish off the night of course it had to be ‘Lip Gloss and Black’, the atmosphere was incredible as the chants of “LIVE! LOVE! BURN! DIE!” rang around the venue and fans were pulled into yet another mesmerizing guitar solo.
This was a reminder of why I loved Atreyu in the first place. Incredible musical talent and the roughest of vocals from Alex Varkatzas which were well-balanced by drummer Brandon Saller’s amazing singing voice. This band have some of the best hooks metalcore has ever heard, and you can recognise their influence in some of the biggest bands in the metalcore scene today. My inner teenager is incredibly satisfied with the performance and the atmosphere of the occasion. Some shows are once in a lifetime and I don’t think there will be another Atreyu show like this in the UK for a long time, if ever again.