Thursday 12 April 2012

Miss May I // The Ghost Inside // Parkway Drive - Live Review

Ohio's Miss May I and Los Angeles' The Ghost Inside are back on UK shores, setting out on a tour with Parkway Drive [above]. Est.1987 headed to the sold out show at Manchester Academy 1 ready for what would be a hefty array of American and Australian hardcore!
We caught up with Levi Benton [Miss May I] and Aaron Brooks [The Ghost Inside] to chat recording, pre-show rituals and lions! To read what they had to say click HERE.

Miss May I
By the time Confession had finished their set in Manchester’s largest of three Academy venues, the venue was full, ahead of what was set to be a pretty electrifying evening. This would be the first time that Ohio’s Miss May I [MMI] would play with The Ghost Inside [TGI] before their bill together on this summer’s Warped Tour. Finally the evening would be topped off with Byron Bay’s Parkway Drive [PWD]. After catching up with MMI and TGI pre-show both bands were relishing being able to be back playing in Manchester.

MMI's Levi Benton
As Miss May I take to the stage here in Manchester the reception is incredible, proving that although they only formed in 2006 they have honed their style and aren’t scared to keep progressing their sound. The driven and vast “Relentless Chaos”  ascends over the room, grabbing the entire crowd’s attention; if you didn’t enter a MMI fan then you would certainly leave as one. Front man Levi Benton throws himself tirelessly across the stage, starting with perfected older hits such as the soaring and melodic “Architect”, then making room for newer hits such as “Hey Mister” straight from forthcoming album “At Heart”. “Hey mister, where have you been? We’ll never get to live this life again”, Levi angrily. 

The infectious line soon has the crowd singing it along with him. MMI are large and loud at The Academy tonight; heavy, intricate guitar breakdowns are broken with bassist Ryan Neff adding cleaner, melodic vocals. And as Levi thrashes his trailing locks confidently through the entire set with deep vocals closing with “Masses of A Dying Breed” he exudes a feral, wild quality that can’t help but captivate. The band already has everyone’s fixed attention here tonight and with a new album on the way as well as endless touring this Ohio quintet will be holding plenty more gazes. “Stay f*****g metal” Levi’s orders as MMI exit the stage after a winning performance.

The Ghost Inside
The crowd suitably riled, it is now time for the Los Angeles five-piece, The Ghost Inside, to commence proceedings tonight. TGI is a band that isn’t afraid to give the crowd everything; touring constantly they have perfected their live show. After revealing that Manchester is their favourite venue in the UK, their set is anticipated to be something memorable. The introduction is building and stirring; the pit, fit to bursting, is eager to begin the folly: “Greater Distance” does this suitably. TGI slam their presence into the line-up tonight, confidently charming the UK crowd, even declaring their love for Nandos! “What do you stand for?” cry both lead singer Jonathan Vigil and audience alike on “Between The Lines”. 
Aaron Brooks- The Ghost Inside
His performance (along with the rest of TGI) is ferocious as they charge up and down the vast stage as a vicious pit consumes the floor. The thrashing “Shiner” taken from the band’s “Fury and the Fallen Ones” album, continues the unrelenting energy that this set demands and induces from both band and crowd; participation is unstoppable. The set is concluded with the perfect duo of “Faith or Forgiveness” and “Unspoken”. The first is encompassing and direct, “I’ll see you when the sun sets” brings the song to a blunt end; and the latter Jonathan dedicates to the crowd which entices an unstoppable circle pit climax to their set. With a new album on the horizon as well as successfully locking down their live show, we are yet to find anything that they aren’t good at.

Jonathan Vigil- TGI's lead singer
MMI and TGI have put in two spectacular performances tonight and with the energy exuded it may be that the crowd are flagging. However that is certainly not the case as headliners Parkway Drive take to the stage. The anthemic “Idols and Anchors” soars through the venue and the crowd, like a wave in mass movement, engulfs the entire floor. “Yay sweaty laundry” lead singer Winston McCall laughs as he picks up a filthy, sweaty t-shirt launched at the stage. “I can see three circle pits, I need one” demands Winston before bursting into “Sleepwalker”, and the challenge is accepted. The unflagging crowd erupt, continuing to grow and grow as the circle pit fills the floor as the set continues. With a DVD out soon and the band writing new songs  Parkway Drive aren’t slowing things down anytime soon, and neither is the set. 
The crowd in Manchester Academy 1
The melodic beginnings of “Alone” break into heavy breakdowns and raw vocals. PWD’s set is none stop, tight and spontaneous; the crowd agree as they chant the band back on for an encore. Jonathan kneels on stage; “Do you have energy for one more? Birmingham nearly got shut down because we had so many stage dives – over a hundred”. And once again, the crowd and indeed the band don’t disappoint. 
The perfect encore song, “Carrion” lights up the venue for one last time. And as tight as the band were here tonight, the crowd were also united.  Spectacular line-up, spectacular show. 

Catch Miss May I and The Ghost Inside on tour with Parkway Drive...