Saturday night in Southampton and there is a storm looming, not the kind that nature likes to throw at us, but a dark, dangerous rock & roll storm. On this night The Defiled are in town for their first headline tour in three years and they have descended onto the Talking Heads, Southampton. They haven’t come alone, they have brought some friends along for the ride in the form of The Killing Lights and Butcher Babies. Strap yourselves in because this is going to get messy.
The first band to take to the stage tonight are The Killing Lights, who probably have the toughest but also easiest job on the bill tonight. Fronted by Michael Orlando, the former Michael Vampire of now defunct Vampires Everywhere! This is the bands first ever tour, with their first ever live show being on this tour in Nottingham 7 days prior. They are playing songs that no one has ever heard before, with people looking at the band and trying not to compare them to the aforementioned group. They also have the benefit of having no preconceived notion about their music as no one has heard any of it yet. To be honest, The Killing Lights fare very well tonight, they have swagger by the pound and the fact that the band seems to be having an absolute blast helps as well. They appear calm and confident, in what is a fight or flight situation, and they don’t reinvent the wheel, there is enough here to suggest that The Killing Lights could go on to be a very successful endeavour, and one I would be very interested to watch progress over time.
It seems like a large portion of tonight’s audience are here to see the next band onstage, Butcher Babies. The place gets considerably louder when they hit the stage, throwing themselves viciously into ‘I Smell a Massacre’ and the first pit of the evening breaks out, bodies, limbs and countless other thing are flying around, but that only fuels the fire more. Energy transfer happens and the band to plays harder and the pit mutates like a turtle rolling around in some ooze. Butcher Babies are one of hottest names in metal right now, they have been causing a stir stateside, they are now looking to leave a mark on the UK on their début tour (Download 2012 appearance notwithstanding) they are proving their worth and then some.
Tonight everything clicks and gels nicely, the dual vocal tag team of Carla Harvey & Heidi Shepherd are in fine spirits and even finer voice (or should that be growl?) full of energy and vibrancy, leaping around the stage as if they were playing a game of ‘The floor is made of lava’ getting into the audiences faces, and generally loving life. In the live setting, songs from the bands debut album “Goliath” really come alive and you feel every ounce of each and every one of them raining down on you like blows from Rocky Balboa.
Butcher Babies are a great live band, as well as a great party band, tonight they came, they saw and they kicked the audiences’ ass, forget what you may have heard, Butcher Babies are legit, and if you think otherwise, they may just rip your heart out your chest to prove you wrong.
The stage is finally set for the headliners of tonight’s aptly titled ‘No Place Like Home’ tour, (titled as such due to it being a UK tour, as well as the name of their current single, not as some weird Wizard of Oz reference) as the opening of ‘Sleeper’ hits, and they stride out on stage, The Defiled are greeted with a heroes welcome and for the next 75 minutes this place turns into hell on earth. The crowd is so ridiculously up for it, the walls are dripping with sweat, at one point a kid is hanging from the lighting rig above the stage like a headbanging sloth, high fiving the AVD in the process.
It’s fitting for me to see The Defiled return to this venue as a headline act as this was the very first place I saw them, back in 2010 supporting Hed P.E., and in the 4 years since then, the band has grown into something of a monster, releasing not one, but two flawless albums and touring the country at least 4 times over, supporting everyone and anyone they could. They have honed their craft and become one of the tightest bands around right now, but still with every The Defiled show, there is a sense of menace,in the form of the AVD and his bug eyed lunacy, throwing his keyboard around like he is possessed, then you have Vincent Hyde stage diving into the audience. There’s crowd surfing, energy levels that are off the chart and lots and lots of tunes, not content with being an amazing live band, The Defiled also know their way around a tune, and they have them by the truckload. Songs like ‘Sleeper’, ‘As I Drown’, and ‘No Place like Home’ fit perfectly with the likes of ‘Blood Sells’ and ‘The Resurrectionists’ creating a setlist that most bands would give their right arms for.
Shows like this don’t happen very often and after this tour, they might not happen again, because for my money I imagine his will be the last time you will see The Defiled in a venue this small, but that only means the carnage will be ten times bigger when they next come around. Be afraid….be very afraid.