Ohio metallers Beartooth headlined the Roadmender last week - one of a few UK headline shows before playing this year’s Slam Dunk festivals.
Since releasing their debut album Disgusting last year, Beartooth have developed a sold fan base across the UK – drawing a pretty respectable number of hardcore fans to the Northampton venue for a midweek gig. Joining them were Dead Harts and The Color Morale.
Fronted by former Attack Attack! Man Caleb Shomo, it’s easy to pinpoint the attraction of Beartooth and their ability to pull fans from across the rock genres.
Live, they are brutally heavy with riffs huge enough to satisfy those in the centre of the Roadmender intent on slamming into each other all night.
However, there’s a distinct melodic edge to the band with enough sing-along-able choruses to also satisfy those on the periphery.
Beartooth’s opener Relapsing set this blueprint in motion – being heavy enough to announce their arrival and provide ample opportunity for Shomo and co to fling themselves around the stage, but engage the audience with a catchy chorus.
After racing through their opening few tracks, Shomo jokingly apologised for the chart friendly pop qualities of In Between, going onto explain the rest of the set would be suitably heavier – which it duly was.
Music is really only half the story with Beartooth, with many of Shomo’s lyrics covering some pretty tough subjects while also pushing messages of hope and positivity.
Beaten In Lips dealt with child abuse and Relapsing with alcoholism - while set closer Body Bag’s chorus of “One life, one decision, make sure it ends with you still living,” sent out a strong ‘stay alive’ message.
Dead Harts and The Color Morale both put in stellar performances, with the latter arguably heavier than the headliners.
While there was no re-inveting the wheel here, all three bands tore through sets of modern hardcore, intent to making sure everyone inside had a great night.
The only minor quibble was the length of Beartooth’s set, but with only a debut album and EP under their belt - all can be forgiven.