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Gallows first reared their head back in 2006 when they released their début a Orchestra of Wolves was released. Fronted by a gnashing ginger-haired front man Frank Carter, they had a certain something about them which made them poster boys of the UK hardcore scene – with features in Kerrang! and NME.

It was with some surprise that Frank Carter left the band back in 2011. I mean how do you really replace someone who is such a talisman, most bands would collapse in complete disarray. So there were many questions amongst some of the fans at the Fleece – would the band’s new vocalist Alexisonfire’s Wade Jackson be able to fill the void left by Frank Carter?

First up though, UK hardcore stalwarts Brotherhood of the Lake, who blasted through their half hour set. I kind of always feel a bit sorry for opening up acts because they have a difficult job, but Brotherhood of the Lakes seemed to get a warm reaction from an enthusiastic audience.

Next up was the testosterone fuelled metallic hardcore from the exciting Feed The Rhino, who properly get things going with a big-bearded singer who spent the entire time prowling the front of the stage and the front rows of the audience. There were definite nods towards the likes of Dillinger Escape Plan and Will Haven, as both guitarists and bass player bounced from monitor to monitor pulling off tricks and turns left, right and centre. The singer was crawling on people’s shoulders commanding the entire audience as kids began flying in all directions.

The sense of anticipation then builds up for the arrival of Gallows. Taking to the stage to an intro track , which suits the heartbeat they deliver, they launch into intense blast upon blast of raw fury – sounding more along the lines of Minor Threat and Black Flag than ever before. You could feel Wade’s intensity as his eyes burned with an anger, this paired up with the twin guitar attacks and the thunderous bass rattle creates a set that packs many punches. It’s as if a new lease of life has been breathed into the band, because it could have been so easy for the band to pack its bags, or for them to find a Frank Carter tribute act, but that would have just been insulting for fans of the band.

They played with pride from the off, especially Steph Carter who spent a majority of the set bouncing off his monitor. The set they played was a real punch to the bowels, as they mixed old and new together and nothing really felt out of place. ‘Last June’ felt like a more than adequate crack in the jaws, with Wade perilously chest beating – raw and intense. Standing proudly on the front of the stage his voice rang with pure venom.

There were points when the slab like bass lines cut through so heavily that it hurt, along with the perpetual flying/stage diving kids, it felt really good. The cry of ‘Fuck the World’ during ‘Mondo Chaos’ was delivered with real venom of a band who feel like they have something to prove. The vocal style is similar to Damien Abrahams of Fucked Up. There were the usual songs about police brutality, political distrust and being social outsiders or suffering social oppression and it was just one spiked up sonic hit after another which put a big smile on this big blond guy’s face.

They packed a set with as many songs a possible delivered with a rock tight dynamics, they were so tight. At times Wade was fondly mocking the stage divers who miss-timed their dives. ‘This is the craziest show of the tour’ stated Wade, looking bemused at the audience. Old songs like ‘The Belly of the Shark’ and ‘London Is The Reason’ were given a fresh breath of fire.

Closing the night out with an encore that ended with double belly hit of ‘Abandon Ship’ and ‘Orchestra Of Wolves’ sendt limbs flying and saw guitarist Laurent Barnard dive into the audience with arms spread wide open. Fears that the band would have lost their sonic intensity without Frank were totally alayed, because they are as intense as ever. And they fucking ruled!

Words: Jeffrey Johns