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Cancer Bats - April 24, 2009 - Academy 2, Dublin, IR

By: Ken McGrath

The Academy 2 is the pokey little brother of the Academy, located further underground, off down in the basement. It’s not a bad spot though at all, especially for a punk/hardcore show. Sure, it may be a little confined, the stage only about two steps off the ground and with the pillars in the way - you can’t watch the band from the sidelines, but all that means you have to cluster closer together in the centre. And that’s where the action is.

Local support Wounds, who were last seen supporting Bats (anyone spotting a trend here?) are up first creating a nice punky, noise inspired, racket, but one that doesn’t really linger in the brain after they’ve packed up. As Cancer Bats vocalist Liam Cormier points out later on from the stage, the fact they don’t have any CDs or merch for sale is a mistake (especially seeing as they’re supporting again in Cork the next night). Reading between the lines, it’s basically saying they need to take things more seriously if they want to become a going concern.

No such problems for the Canadians though, selling off t-shirts and Hail Destroyer vinyl for €10 a piece, you can’t go wrong and if they didn’t sell a shitload of merch, then the recession’s hitting a lot harder than initially thought and I’ll go straightedge.

An explosive ball of energy, live, Cancer Bats are like a mix between Amen, Everytime I Die and a punky Pantera confined into a small space and trying their hardest to break out. It’s got a big southern groove, huge stomping riffs and that energy which made Casey Chaos and friends dangerous about 10 years ago. Probably the most fun gig so far this year, it’s impossible to not rock out, the pit in front of the stage opening up and sucking in smiling faces with it s flailing arms. You can see why this band is loved. Fuck it, close your eyes and just listen to why they’re loved.

So big foot stomping rock songs with a twist of Southern comfort might not be what you’d expect to here a bunch of hardcore guys playing but there’s certainly nothing wrong with it. “Pneumonia Hawk,” “Lucifer’s Rocking Chair,” “Deathsmarch” all plough through the place, but it is “Hail Destroyer” that invokes mass chanting/air-punching. There’s going to be sore ears in the morning.


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