Bleeding Through - Live At The Islington Academy, 19th January By James Willcock Having just released their third studio album, “The Truth”, which took the number 1 new release slot in the Billboard charts in the U.S., California’s Bleeding Through have embarked on a lengthy tour of the UK and the US, kicking off at the Islington Academy, London. Before the gig I had a few words with Scott Danough, one of the guitarists, about the new album, road traffic accidents and, er, Koalas. The songs on the new album put more emphasis on the melodic sections. Was that a conscious decision or did it just happen naturally? Yes, we decided to include more melodic sections because we enjoyed doing them in the old songs so much, we thought we'd spend more time on them. Your band has a diverse sound. What would you say are your personal top 5 influences? Hmm... Well, I guess Slayer, old Metallica, Unbroken, Integrity and Exodus, although a top 5 is tough to do, there are so many. What bands are you listening to at the moment? Lots of Alkaline Trio, the bands listed above, Murder By Death - they're a very melodic band, something the fans probably wouldn't expect me to listen to. HIM, Sigur Ros, I like a lot of different stuff. What do you think of the current state of heavy music, with lots of original bands coming out? There are a lot of originals but there are also a lot of very unoriginal bands as well, within metalcore especially. We wanted to distance ourselves from and escape the scene. A major aspect of the modern music industry is downloading. What are your personal views on it? I think there are good and bad aspects to it. Mostly its good - if a kid can't afford the music and can rip it instead, it's fine by me and the rest of the band. And what are the bad things? Well, if a record leaks before its release, it can be bad. I have to admit, I've been guilty of been doing it in the past myself. Thing was, I had kids messaging me about the new album weeks before it came out. It ruins the buzz around a new release. The new album cover is rather graphic (it shows a face with sharpened teeth and half the jaw missing, dripping blood). Why? It represents what your emotions can do to you. The truth is relationships hurt more than people will admit. It represents emotions gone wrong. The new album was the number 1 new entry in the billboard charts, and now you're embarking on a comprehensive European and American tour. Are you feeling good about it? Definitely. Particularly because we've been playing the same songs for 2 or 3 years now, but with the release of the new album, the kids know the new songs. I’m excited. What’s your favourite aspect of touring? Getting to live my childhood dream of playing in a band, not working 9 to 5. Also, getting to travel the world. And what’s your least favourite aspect of touring? Well I have a girlfriend back home, and the rest of the band also have someone back home, so leaving someone you love for a long time. What is best moment from being on tour? Seeing Australia, getting to hold a koala (laughs). I know it sounds a bit weird, but getting to do and see things for real rather than just seeing it on TV. And the worst? When the tour bus hit a patch of black ice and the trailer flipped while we were on the highway, it was pretty bad. You can see it on the DVD, because the police were already at the scene (there had already been an accident) and their cameras caught everything. The Islington Academy is quite small. Do you prefer playing smaller or larger venues? I like things about both, but I prefer smaller venues, they're more intimate, you can make a connection with the crowd. That said, I enjoy the challenge of trying to make the same connection at a bigger venue. Ideally, we'd play without a barrier, but with more fans at a venue, it becomes necessary. What do think of hardcore dancing at gigs? I think its great but it’s gotten so popular it’s a cliché. I can remember when it used to be small scale, now it’s become something you practice in the mirror, you know. Well that’s about it, do you want to say anything else? I can’t think of anything clever to say, so I'll leave it at that. And now, on to the gig itself, although before I start I should probably admit to something. Hardcore fans piss me off. The whole posing, “scene” thing is mildly irritating, but what really grinds my gears is the hardcore dancing. Wild limb flailing in a crowded room is only going to hurt the people around, and as a consequence, get yourself hurt when someone finally gets so pissed off they just smack you. There I said it, and I feel a lot better for it. Anyway, despite hanging around the venue early after the interview (well, if I’m honest I set up camp in the Lloyds bar upstairs), I missed all but the last two songs of the first support band, Bring Me The Horizon, due to the overeager crowd (some queuing in the testicle-retracting cold for 4 hours) and under eager admission process. However, it was pleasant to see Marta, Bleeding Through’s keyboard player, having a quick chat with people on her way into the venue. To be fair, I can’t say that I was disappointed to miss Bring Me The Horizon, as they were just another metallic hardcore band. The only thing that stood out about them was when the vocalist talked, he sounded like his balls were still dropping. Hardcore!!! It was also about this point that I came to realise that I was in fact older than 95% of the crowd (and I’m 20 for fuck's sake), which I think speaks volumes as to the current average hard/metalcore fan- about 16-17, angst ridden and rebelling against everything by trying as hard as possible to conform to all the trends within their scene. Yes, metalcore is the new nu-metal folks. It showed potential, every new band that came out was lumped into the rather broad category, it got very stale very quickly and by the time it got big was enjoyed by few people over the age of 18. A reflection on the fickleness of the metal community? Who cares, like I said, the fans just piss me off. Next on the stage was Hondo MacLean, who once again failed to impress me personally, as they seemed to be, surprisingly, just another metallic hardcore band (at this point I should probably refer you back to my initial statement regarding hardcore fans as a possible explanation as to why I wasn’t getting into the show). Some of the crowd seemed to get into it, but as a general trend for the evening, there only ever seemed to be a few people moving (hardcore dancing), while everyone else just sort of, well, stood there and watched. My only real memory of anything from the set was at the end, when the vocalist invited the crowd to “come and have a drink with us on the merchandise stand, or if you don’t drink, come and laugh at us”, which for me, summarises the straight edge community. I have no problem with people who don’t drink or take drugs, that’s their call, it’s when they wonder round, announcing this to everyone and frowning with distain or disgust on people who don’t agree with this that I get riled up. One last little anecdote from the gig comes from the time before Bleeding Through took the stage, when one of the roadies was sound checking the mic. For some reason, someone in the crowd decided to start shouting abuse at the guy, including yo-momma jokes (and not even good ones either). As I saw no reason for this heckling, I turned around to see a fat kid stood just behind me was responsible. When he caught my eye, he must have registered some distain on my face, because he apologised, which made me laugh on the inside, although he really should have apologised to the tech guy on stage, who was only doing his job. Anyway, things all ran smoothly in terms of stage management and soon enough Bleeding Through took the stage. At this point, being a fan and all, I got into the music and preceded to get stuck in, quite happily head banging my way through the set. The crowd, if I’m honest wasn’t so bad, as no one caused any trouble and everyone gave the dancers plenty of room. I consigned myself to not being able to mosh properly, as it would have only scared the younger children and upset the older ones. Anyhow, with the crowd getting much more involved, Bleeding Through played a good set, kicking off with 'For Love And Failing' from the new album, immediately followed by 'Love Lost In A Hail Of Gunfire' from This Is Love, This Is Murderous. The set included a fair mix of material from all three albums, including crowd favourites ’Rise and Our Enemies’ from Portrait Of The Goddess, as well as a predictably healthy dose of new material, inevitably including the slow paced, ballad like ’Line In The Sand’, played mid-set. Technical difficulties did cause a minor hiccup during the set, leading to a few minutes of silence as Scott’s amp set up got fiddled with. In the mean time, Brandon Schieppati regaled us with the story of how he managed to snap three bones in his hand (hence the some what heavy bandaging), in a most metal accident, involving playtime with his 3-year-old niece on a trampoline (his niece came out unscathed apparently). After the problems were corrected, the set continued in strong form, with a good amount of energy on stage, particularly from Brandon, who bounced around like he must have done tried on the trampoline. The set culminated with ’Wings Of Lead’, and I then preceded home, satisfied with having had a good evening out. 7.5/10. And as a footnote, Marta is a fox and I salute her Wayne’s World style. SCHWING!