American Head Charge, Sound Control, Manchester – 17 November 2013

With Special Guests Maplerun and RSJ

Sound Control, Manchester – 17 November 2013

It’s been a long time since American Head Charge were on UK soil, and after the turmoil that led to the band’s dissolution in 2009 it looked like it was the end for the Industrial Metal outfit. The resurrection came with teasing hints on MySpace (blimey, I remember that! – Ed) and Twitter back in 2011. Since then they’ve put together a pretty sweet EP called Shoot (see the review) and have toured as much as possible in the States.

The first thing I notice about the crowd is that the average age isn’t around the 18 mark making me feel old like nearly every other gig I go to, but appears to be around a decade older. These are the fans who have been watching and waiting for this band to come back from the ashes, those who followed them the first time around, and the venue is almost full.

Opening the show, Maplerun give an energetic set, a nice mix of heavy and melodic that has even the people propping up the bar at the back of the room nodding their heads. It says on their website that the band are on a mission to get their music out to new audiences, and based on this emphatic opening set I for one will be digging out their albums.

 

For Yorkshire lads RSJ, this is the closest the tour gets to their home town, and they’ve brought fans. The room is bouncing, whether you’ve heard these guys before or not and Dan Cook on vocals is jumping around the stage like a complete madman, often leaning so far off the stage he threatens an unplanned stagedive. It’s brutal hardcore at some of it’s best and the perfect choice to get everyone hyped for the main event

Karma Cheema of American Head Charge

The main event, American Head Charge, tear onto the stage to much appreciation and it’s almost as if they’ve never been away as they launch into All Wrapped Up. There’s a fantastic mix of old and new, and the die-hard fans that have been waiting years for this moment go crazy. Its high energy, and Cameron Heacock’s vocals are on the money without sounding like they’re straight off the CD.

One thing that is immediately apparent is the absence of one of the band members; Justin Fowler has had to stay home because of a family illness, and when this is brought up in the first crowd interaction, the chants of “Get well soon” are recorded so that they can be shown. It’s a great moment amongst the brutality of the music on offer, and anyone who labels Metalheads as thugs should watch moments like that where a whole room stops to show concern for someone they know only through their music.

 

Being recorded

Tracks from their Shoot EP go down spectacularly, with just as many people singing along as to songs that would have been presumably better know – it just goes to show that even without a major release since 2007 the fanbase is still there. The real show stopper happens when that club classic Just So You Know starts up though, and the whole room starts bouncing to a song that was released twelve years ago.

From the show tonight, I would say that American Head Charge have indeed come back from the ashes. They have lost none of the energy for which they were well known; if there isn’t a full length offering from these guys in the next year or so then I will be very surprised.

See you next year?

Rating: ****1/2

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