Devil Sold His Soul / Bad Sign / FOES (Live Review – Tufnell Park Dome, London, April 29 2017)
A good gig should be a break from reality. The world beyond the walls of the music venue in question should temporarily cease to exist. You should be made to forget any problem that’s rumbling away outside of those walls, without even realising that said forgetting has happened.
Devil Sold His Soul’s sold-out hometown show was one of those gigs. Openers FOES (90%) are on the up – and it showed in the level of self-assured confidence with which the Liverpudlian prog-rockers punched out one ultra-tight groove after another, finishing up with the epic and atmospheric No Sleepers Verse. Drummer James Lorenzo nailed each song to the back of an already filling room, giving new arrivals something to remember.
Bad Sign (60%) are sitting on a ton of great rock riffs, are calm and comfortable onstage, and their between-song banter was hilariously on point. Unfortunately, they also suffered from an obvious off-night as bassist/vocalist Joe Appleford struggled vocally for the duration of this set. My money’s on a cold or throat issue – but in any case, this was an entertaining set performed by a band who come across as absolute legends, and I’ll likely get a chance to form a second opinion of Bad Sign somewhere down the line.
As for Devil Sold His Soul (97%)…fuck me. The whole point of this show was to showcase a full run-through of DSHS’s debut long-player A Fragile Hope in its entirety – and this headlining set blew my expectations out of the water. The love and respect afforded Devil Sold His Soul and an album a decade old by the Tufnell Park Dome crowd was more than obvious – and with so much accumulated experience under their belts, DSHS and their crew have upgraded every aspect of the original recording’s sound and married it with the perfect minimalist light show.
Honestly, there are too many highlights to even list them here; suffice it to say that if you’re a Devil Sold His Soul fan, you absolutely need to experience this show any chance you get – and as guitarist Rick Chapple mentioned when I interviewed him recently, more chances are coming. If you still need convincing, factor in encore tunes Time and the near-ten-minute End Of Days, and the fact that returning former vocalist Ed Gibbs blends perfectly with current singer Paul Green. The only extra I’d personally add to the experience of an already arena-worthy metalcore show would be my favourite DSHS song, Devastator – but aside from that, this set was as close to perfect as anyone could reasonably ask.