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Live Review: In Flames @ The Ritz 16/10/2014

Posted on October 22, 2014 at 9:05 AM


Swedes stand ten feet tall – Support from While She Sleeps and Wovenwar



“It feels like I’ve just had sex with a really beautiful woman and I’m never gonna see her again,” sighs Phil Goddard, my photographer and trusted right hand man for the evening. I know how he feels, I think to myself as we step outside of the venue. The cold night air wallops me in the face and freshens my lungs. The world around us bustles amidst our comedown. The queue outside The Ritz, with doors soon to open, stretches down the road, all hair, denim, leather and excitement. Cars fly past, hissing as they do. People weave past us on the pavement and security guards man the closed doors as if it was their last dying task.

The past half an hour or so - it’s hard to say exactly how long - have come and gone all too soon, leaving only a blurred memory lingering behind. Bjorn Gelotte is a towering figure, he resonates this perplexing air, charming, polite and friendly yet so strikingly there. He’s not an intimidating character by any stretch – his easy going demeanour makes sure of that – but you sure as hell feel his presence upon you when you’re in his gravity. So I stand there, empathising with Goddard. The whole experience was extremely satisfying, but when he gently ushered us out his dressing room with pre-show preparation to be getting on with – “you can take your beers with you,” he chirped with a departing smile – and the door shuts behind you, you know it’s over. We may never feel his gravity again: It was an ephemeral perfection.

Then the venue doors swing open and the early arrivals shuffle keenly inside. When empty, as we had seen it only moments ago, The Ritz seems minuscule and humble. But as the masses pile in, the place seems to take on an almost Cinderella like transformation, it becomes this vast hall where anticipation thrives inside its four walls. We stood by the sound desk and, as Goddard flicked through his shots from the interview, grabbing my attention to highlight a particular shot that he deemed to be a keeper every now and then, I witnessed the transformation first hand.


The change was only beginning to take hold as Wovenwar took to the stage, the San Diego, California quintet greeted by a small cluster of people. The band doesn’t seem impressed. Then again, as they bumble their way through their excruciating set, neither are we. Before even hitting a note, they prance on stage with a self-righteous, up-their-own-arse composure, yelling at the crowd for people to clap and jump along – to what, I wonder, you haven’t fucking played anything yet?! No one takes heed.

How can something that attempts to be as musically vigorous as this be so abysmally soppy, like the metal equivalent to a Hugh Grant rom com. Each song reaches the same predictable, blubbering ending as the floppy haired actor’s recycled films. The vocals are the apathetic voice of a 12 year old whose mummy won’t let him play out until he tidies his room. More so, they are painfully out of key and try several more times, with equally cringe worthy results, to get the crowd jumping and clapping along like it’s a Busted concert. If you were to give Miley Cyrus blast beats and half-arsed breakdowns she’d still be shit. The same applies here.

“We stopped this song because you were too quiet,” states bassist Josh Gilbert, cap backwards like it’s 2001. “Because you’re shit,” yelled a member of the audience to the silent room. Enough said.

The transformation took a huge leap forward before While She Sleep’s set, perhaps the more street wise amongst us here tonight stayed back at the pub for another pint, knowing just how terrible Wovenwar are. The Sheffield noise makers giveve a performance of significantly more substance. Their abrasive riffs, frontman Lawrence Taylor’s powerful bellows and the tight rhythm section give you something, at last, to stick your teeth into. Everything Wovenwar...

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