Live Review: Defeater – The Well, Leeds, April 27th 2010

A little less than a year ago, when Bridge Nine band Defeater were last over in the UK, supporting Polar Bear Club, they only had a handful of people singing along to them, this time round though, they’ve managed to sell out The Well in Leeds, along with fellow B9ers Dead Swans and south westerners More Than Life.

There is no doubt about it that new tunes such as Scarlet Skyline and I’ve Lost Track of Everything showcase the musical and artistic growth of youngsters More Than Life, but there is still a sense of sloppiness and awkwardness live. Luckily for them, though, this goes largely unnoticed as a core of people down at the front engage in excitable crowd participation to their melodic hardcore.

Arguably, on record – particularly, in regards to their latest release Sleepwalkers – Brighton mob Dead Swans just seem like another face in the crowd, with their inoffensive, classic hardcore sound, but live, they definitely add that extra oomph, which they lay bare in Leeds tonight. Beasts like Thinking of You evidently show off the band’s intensity, resulting in stage dives and shout-a-longs aplenty. Nearing the end of their set, the pace does slow down – although, this is probably down to the unbearable heat of the venue, as The Well turns into an all out sweatbox.

From the off, when frontman Derek Archambault belts out, “The whiskey burns going down!”, opening with The Red, White, and Blues, it’s clear that Boston’s Defeater have the majority in attendance wrapped around their finger, as every word shouted back in unison. The Bite and Sting and A Wound and Scar from their latest release, the critically-acclaimed Lost Ground EP, seem to garter just as much of a positive reaction, if not more so, than older tracks, such as the pummelling Blessed Burden and Everything Went Quiet.

The raw passion that Archambault exudes throughout these heart-wrenching tales is unmatched, and clearly demonstrated during the magically mic-less and acoustic performance of Prophet in Plain Clothes, with the sold out room singing word-for-word. Completely awe-inspiring.

The epic Cowardice has The Well stage invading and diving like no other, before coming to an end, following a sweat-induced 10-song set, which may seem short, but the audience is well and truly exhausted after this five star performance of undeniable gut from the most exciting band in hardcore right now.

Faye Turnbull.

Keep an eye out for our new interview with Defeater coming soon!

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