Review: Fightstar at The Forum, London (16/12/14)

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Having been on hiatus since 2010, Fightstar played their first show in over four years at London’s Forum, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the band’s inception. Due to an overwhelming demand, the band have added another London show at Brixton’s O2 Academy, as well as three more dates in Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester in February.

Openers Take The Seven deliver a polished performance, and, despite a slightly nervous start, gain in confidence throughout their set. Second support act More Dangerous Animal, formed from the ashes of previous Kerrang! Award nominees Brigade, hammer fiercely through some wonderfully gnarly and intricate riffs, demonstrating definite future potential.

But tonight is about one band and one band only: Fightstar. Following an ambient introduction in the form of Grand Unification’s opening track, ‘To Sleep’, Fightstar explode into ‘Paint Your Target’ with such intensity that it’s enough to make you forget your own name. If anyone was wondering why tonight’s show sold out within less than a quarter of an hour, this is the answer.

The atmosphere in the Forum tonight is utterly incredible. Be Human’s ‘War Machine’ is anthemic, extending somewhere far beyond the venue. Singles ‘The English Way’ and ‘Grand Unification Part I’ see excellent, passionate vocal performances from frontman Charlie Simpson, and ‘Sleep Well Tonight’ is absolutely stunning, building to a monumental climax that’s lifted even higher by the voices of the crowd.

The crushingly heavy ‘Tannhauser Gate’ and the brutal ‘Deathcar’ find the band as tight and as assertive as ever, and send the crowd into a moshing, fist-pumping frenzy. Drummer Omar Abidi in particular is powerful and relentless throughout, always ensuring that the band remain together as one solid, indomitable force. Simpson’s vocals on the band’s debut single ‘Palahniuk’s Laughter’ are filled with emotion, enhanced by on-point harmonies from co-vocalist and guitarist Alex Westaway, which make for a soaring performance.

With a beautifully understated acoustic rendition of They Liked You Better When You Were Dead’s ‘Amethyst’, the feelings of love and adoration towards Fightstar are palpable. The crowd sings with so much enthusiasm that frontman Simpson leaves the choruses to the audience, who require no encouragement to sing at the top of their voices. The quartet close with ‘Mono’, which is, quite frankly, nothing short of epic; a poignant and stunning end to an outstanding night.

Neither band nor audience could have asked for a better comeback show. Fightstar’s performance was spectacular and unforgettable, and of course, the question on everybody’s lips now is: what will they do next? And, more importantly, when?

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Final year English Literature student. Often found making lots of noise behind a drum kit. Also a writer of album & live reviews, features and news articles.

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