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Live Review

Live Review – While She Sleeps @ Camden Underworld 16/09/2021

When While She Sleeps last played the Camden Underworld it was 2011. They were on their first UK headline tour and performing their debut EP The North Stands For Nothing. Ten years later and much has changed. The Sheffield five-piece are now five albums in, have dominated stages across the world, and even formed the Sleeps Society: a group of Patreon’s over 1700 strong. This band are dominating British metalcore but spent 3 nights last week going back to their routes and decimating the Camden Underworld.

Loathe

Over the past few years, Hardbeat has seen Loathe a LOT. They’re one of the metal underground’s most prolific outfits and are quickly becoming distinct, important, and exciting members of the scene. They began by making great hardcore headbang material but have transformed into so much more than that, producing Deftones-esque material that can sound both heavy as hell and ephemeral within seconds.

Everytime we see Loathe they elevate in every way. Without fail, they become tighter, more dynamic, and heavier. It’s exciting to witness the band’s development and Thursday’s show was a rewarding culmination of this. Loathe were on fire; new music from 2020s I Let It in And It Took Everything sounded phenomenal and it felt like another step on a genuinely special journey.

While She Sleeps

This summer we’ve seen While She Sleeps dominate multiple massive festival stages across the UK. This increase in stage size offers artists ample opportunity to expand their show, implement big set pieces, incorporate pyro and emphasise that they are a band to be reckoned with. Sleeps did all of this on their 2021 festival run; however, something about their tight and well-constructed performance contrasted their signature live-wire presence and unpredictability. After a couple of times seeing them, we knew all the beats and things became a little unsurprising.

So placing While She Sleeps in a 500 capacity venue and restricting them to no props or stage pieces meant that once again, we could witness the affecting, vivacious beast that the Sheffield five-piece are. The set was so monstrous that the sweat of those in the room dripped from the ceiling and it reminded us of why Sleeps are one of the most important bands in the country.

That’s not to insinuate that the band should only play small venues; however, after a summer of them proving that they’re arena worthy, this set emphasised that they’re elevating while still retaining all of the previous rage. The setlist included no songs from their debut album This Is the Six and didn’t deviate much from what they played at festivals, which was a shame. But, as soon as each song kicked in, nothing mattered but the flailing of bodies on and off the stage, singing along and sharing in a special moment.

Sleeps may not play a venue this small again for another 10 years, but at least we have the memory of this very special night.

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