Photos from show: FLICKR SET
So we are here again, or rather I am... writing another review on the Australian band that is just starting to make waves here in the UK - and about time might I add. The last Karnivool (or Vool as the fans say) show I attended was the infamous (for the best of reasons) first ever UK headline show which they did at the end of their support stint with Skindred. That particular show was at the Islington Academy 2 back in October 2009, photos from that show can be seen here and I didn't think anything could top the performance, I think I have been proven wrong.
I arrived at the venue at approximately 6pm, a venue which I had never been to before and I was somewhat confused as to why there was no queue an hour before doors - turns out I was first to arrive, oh the shame but also the sheer relief when I knew I would be at the barrier (or rather front, since there was no barrier at the Academy 2 show, for another Vool show. I was elated, and even more so when a wonderful Finnish fan I met at the show last year turned up not long after myself. Picture the scene, one crazy Vool fan and another huge fan but not so committed since I didn't go to any other show this tour. There was a nice italian place right next to the venue which I ran in to to ask to use the loo and subsequently had to pay £1.50 for a cake as the loos were only for paying customers... typical, but the cake was nice. There are plently of local amenaties around the immediate area including a bank, newsagents and a bar - sorted, especially for those who much queue up for shows (not this night, however!).
Once we entered the venue I realised that we were in store for a long, and tedious wait for the first support act (a word like.ATTACK) as the time schedule on the door stated an 8:15 start time, doors at 7 and the first band on over an hour later? yes, the show was sold out so maybe they allowed such a long time to get anyone in? anyways, by the time AWLA hit the stage everyone who was inside were just eager for something other than cd's played over loudspeakers. I hadn't heard of this band prior to the show, I didn't know there were gona be any support acts until I got outside the venue so I was moderately suprised with the band I watched. They are not my cup of tea, but then again most would argue that Karnivool don't fit my "taste", although I would beg to differ. The songs were catchy enough, but I felt as though I was perhaps 5 years too old to be "bopping" along to the choruses, they reminded me of a cross between Gallows, Bring Me The Horizon and another band I can't quite put my finger on... but don't hold me to it, I really am not one to judge a band I do not know. I enjoyed their set suprisingly and I have got to say, they were an attractive bunch!
By the time Karnivool hit the stage after some apparent technical difficulties the crowd were practically foaming at the mouth, eager to see the masters at work.
As soon as the intro of Simple Boy kicked in I felt the atmosphere in the venue lift, the aches and pains of standing around for what felt like hours (45 mins approximate after AWLA got off the stage). Understandably a favourite of mine had been cut from the setlist since the last time I saw them, perhaps due to it not "fitting in" with the sound of recent Sound Awake material, but there were still some "old" favourites such as "Themata", "C.O.T.E" and "Roquefort" to keep the fans happy, all of which come off the album "Themata" which was preceeded by the EP "Persona". I was desperate to hear "Fade" from Persona live, but since the band save the older material for the home fans back in Oz my dream never came true... and nor did I get to hear L1fel1ke, one of my favourites alongside Shutterspeed.
The crowd on the night were nothing but extraordinary, singing along to every song.. every word, as though Kenny was the conductor and the crowd the singing band. From the look of the band during the set I think they enjoyed every second of this foreign audience singing along to their finely produced songs that music fans over here are finally starting to appreciate. "C.O.T.E" brought the first major reaction, with "Set Fire To The Hive" which followed afterwards reducing the crowd to a mass of jumping jacks, it was brilliant to be a part of it. Usually when I go to see a band I like with only a small UK following the crowd doesn't seem to participate - but with Karnivool the crowd ALWAYS participates, and especially tonight with fans from Greece, Finland, Ireland and elsewhere in Europe congregating in London for a spectacular show.
This band has what I can only describe as character... they are "different" in every sort of way you could imagine. You can headbang, sway, jump, clap or do anything along to the music and it feels right, there are so many elements jumping off the stage and into your ears that you lose all control of what you are doing, or so it felt like as I was effectively crushed on numerous occasions throughout the set. This is what made it feel as good as it did, I worried back in October as to what the crowd reaction would be to a relitively unknown band from Australia - and I needn't have worried, because the crowd loves them as much as I do.
Even though I knew what I was going to hear, I knew what I was going to see - I still couldn't get over the showmanship and how elated the band looked to be on stage. Dancing, grinning - you name it they did it, and it's nice to see a band enjoy their slot on stage compared to those who see the business as just that, a business - a job. Karnivool clearly enjoy what they do, and they much enjoy coming over to a country where they can play small venues without being mobbed.
All in all it was a great show, well worth the ticket price and so much more. I did tell people to catch the Vool next time they toured, and it seems to have worked - last time they were supporting Skindred, this time they had their own headline tour albeit still in clubs, I don't think it will be long until we see them in standard size venues and I can look back at these club shows and think how lucky I was to catch them when I did. These guys are already huge news in their native Australia, and I don't see any reason why this wont be the same for them in Europe, we love us some catchy alternative rock - or whatever genre you media types would shove the band in to, we just like Karnivool and that is how it will stay.
There are a few things I can thank one person in my life for, and discovering this band is top of the list - I can't believe I hadn't heard of them before, and I can't believe they are still trying to make it over here - if you're reading this get off your ass and order Themata and Sound Awake, and come back and tell me what you think. DO IT.
MORE PICS HERE
Now what, do I give such a great live band out of 10? well, no band is perfect - and I will reserve the 10 for something utterly spectacular (and don't get me wrong, Karnivool are completely there - but I think overall the setlist could have been longer and other little snipes I could make). I do feel that the night as a whole including the band, the sound, the venue and crowd deserves a solid 8, if not an 9 - and this is what i'm running with.
I don't think any audience should be held for an hour for a show to start, and 45mins after the support act is excessive for a stage switcharoo - i.e. support kit OUT and Vool equip hooked up, that is all... and then further waiting. Kenny was on good form, his voice is amazing - I hope to god he knows this, and the ambience of the night was fab so yes, an 9 out of 10.
I would have given a 10 if Shutterspeed was on the setlist ;)