Coal Chamber (+Soil, Dope & The Defiled), Glasgow, May 24

For a complete photo gallery of this show, just go to our photography page!

As part of the current and unexplainable comeback of nu-metal bands coming out of the woodwork, the line up for this gig was straight out of 2002.  Joined by Dope, Soil and The Defiled (replacing the originally billed American Headcharge) I expected to have an ‘older’ crowd at the show. A small step into nostalgia is perfect for a Sunday night in Glasgow’s O2 ABC.

With a capacity of 1,362, I expected a line up of this calibre to no doubt fill the venue. I was surprised to find that there a was barely a queue at the doors, and how easy it was to manoeuvre around the crowd throughout the night. Either the venue is very large for its official cap size, or the show just didn’t sell as much tickets as expected.

Dope opened the night to a slowly growing crowd. For being around for a good few years and with extensive touring experience, Dope strangely seemed like a shy bunch. All of them, with the exception of bassist Acey Slade, seemed to be rooted to the ground looking down at their instruments throughout the set. This was juxtaposed by Slade’s constant jumping about and running along the stage. At least he seemed to be enjoying himself. As a photographer, Acey Slade represents the kind of thing I look forward to in a band: he knows how to look good on camera. This isn’t ego, this is experience. This made sense later in the night, when he joined me in the photo pit to grab a few shots of the other bands performing.

Dope (Photo by Andrew Downie)
Dope (Photo by Andrew Downey)

When the show was first announced I was very excited to see American Headcharge, both because I was huge fan back in my teens, as well as for having seeing them perform before. Thankfully, their replacements, The Defiled delivered, and so I wasn’t left feeling disappointed. The London-based metal act definitely brought down the average age of bands onstage tonight, but they were a refreshing new act who didn’t feel out of place with the others. Age and supple joints were definitely on their side as they threw themselves around the stage. They still had the excitement in their eyes that bands who’ve been around the block a few times seem to lose. Going by the audience’s reaction, it’s safe to say the ‘younger’ members of the crowd were there to see them.

The Defiled. Photo by Andrew Downey
The Defiled. Photo by Andrew Downie

I fondly remember buying Soil’s album, Scars when it was released back in 2001. Because of this, when I saw that a good chunk of the set was made of songs from that album, it was like an enjoyable step back in time to my teen years. Songs I hadn’t heard in over a decade instantly jolted my brain, and the lyrics seemed to come back to me as if I had never stopped listening. A highlight of the show was vocalist Ryan McCoombs disappearing into the audience for the whole of their hit “Halo”. When I say in the crowd, I don’t mean just in the edge, standing on the face… but as far into the pits as he could go, and still doing a damn good job of performing while audience members fed him beers or grabbed selfies with him, not quite believing what was going on.

Soil. Photo by Andrew Downey
Soil. Photo by Andrew Downie

My views on Coal Chamber’s new album Rivals are no secret. Let’s just say I am not a fan. With that in mind, I was not expecting much from them I wouldn’t say they completely proved me wrong and blew me away, BUT they did surprise me, and showed that they haven’t quite lost ‘it’. Whatever ‘it’ is/was.

I had forgotten just how many hits these guys had. Instead of just filling it with album fillers and b sides, the set was made up of fan favourites such as “Fiend”, “Loco” and “Dark Days”. As much as I can’t stand the song, it is unfortunate that there was a distinct lack of “The Roof is on Fire”. It’s a totally laughable song, but by golly it would have got the crowd pumped. With an hour-long set, but without much variation in their music, by the end it did feel about 15 minutes too long. Thankfully, with low turnout, it didn’t take long to get out and to my car once it had ended though. Swings and roundabouts.

Coal Chamber. Photo by Andrew Downey
Coal Chamber. Photo by Andrew Downie