GIG REVIEW: Trivium, SHVPES & Sikth Live at Birmingham Institute, UK
What better way to spend Valentine’s Day than at a gig, right? I’ve been waiting to see Trivium live for quite a while, and fortunately I got the chance to do so on one of the UK runs for their latest album, 2015’s Silence in the Snow (be sure to check out my review of that album). Along for the ride were British metal outfit SHVPES (whose singer Griffin is the son of a certain Bruce Dickinson) and the progressive metal band Sikth. I went to the third gig of the tour in Birmingham, where I had recently seen Black Sabbath and Anthrax, and it was the third night of the tour, after Dublin and Belfast.
First to perform were SHVPES, a band that I admittedly had no background knowledge of before seeing them live. I even did not know that their frontman Griffin was the son of Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson until I researched the band in order to write this review. What I did come to terms with quite quickly, however, is that they were quite comfortably the best opening band I’ve seen at a show since I watched Cane Hill play with Bullet for My Valentine in December of last year. The crowd took a little bit of time to warm up, but once the band had them on their side it was clear that they were making a genuinely positive impression. I can’t leave out the moment when Griffin stood in the middle of the wall of death before it hit – one of the best moments of the entire performance. A very good beginning to the night, so keep an eye on SHVPES – I think they’ll do a lot of impressive stuff in the future.
Next up to perform was the progressive metal band Sikth. Following the fantastic performance that SHVPES had just put on for the audience, it is easy to fear for bands that are put in these sorts of circumstances. Fortunately, there was nothing to worry about when it came to Sikth. In my opinion, they were just as good as the band that had played before them, but in a different way. The combination of dual vocalists reminds me of when I saw Ho99o9 last month (another band you should check out), but it was evidently clear right from the get-go that people in the audience knew this band’s arsenal of songs almost as well as that of the headline act which was set to follow them. It’s so welcome to see the opening bands being so good that you don’t regret turning up early to a gig.
The last band to perform on the night was of course Trivium, a band who in their own words consider themselves more at home in the United Kingdom than anywhere else in the world due to acclaimed performances at both the 2005 and 2006 Download Festivals, as well as their first festival headline set at Bloodstock in 2015. First things first: whoever decided to have ‘Run to the Hills’ as the coming on stage music for Trivium is a genius. Secondly, I struggle to think of a headline set in recent memory that flew by as quickly as Trivium did. The seventeen song set included all the tracks you’d expect from the band at this point in their career: ‘Dying in Your Arms’, ‘Throes of Perdition’, ‘Strife’, ‘Down From the Sky’, ‘In Waves’ and all of the other standards. Them playing ‘From Pillars to Serpents’ from their debut album Ember to Inferno, but I feel as if the band could have played a bit more from their last record, as only two songs from Silence in the Snow were represented – the title track and ‘Until the World Goes Cold’. Then again, if the band feels that their stronger material especially live is from the earlier albums, then fair enough to them. I would have just liked to see more from the last couple of albums considering I feel more positively about them than a lot of people in the Trivium camp do.
In conclusion, Trivium’s headline set alongside SHVPES and Sikth was a brilliant night out. It’s quite uncommon to see a show where all of the bands on the bill impress you, which gives you a confident feeling about the future of rock and metal especially when it comes to the live environment. If you’re going to this tour, you should have a blast. But please get there early for the opening bands – you won’t regret it.