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36 Crazyfists, All Hail The Yeti, Shvpes, Prolong The Agony @ The Engine Rooms, Southampton, UK

36 CRAZYFISTS / All Hail The Yeti / Shvpes / Prolong The Agony
in Thursday, 19 February 2015 at The Engine Rooms
by Tim Bolitho-Jones

Eleven years is a long time in the music industry. Way back in 2004, 36 CRAZYFISTS played to a rabid and enthusiastic crowd at Portsmouth’s Wedgewood Rooms. Every inch of floor space was covered as hundreds of teenagers bounced, sang and crowd surfed with reckless abandon and the Alaskan four piece looked set to conquer the world. Fast forward to now and from the looks of things, most of the same people have turned up to see them at Southampton’s Engine Rooms. Everyone’s a bit fatter, greyer and more reserved now, but this is an audience that’s grown up with the band and they’re still committed enough to go apeshit during "We Gave It Hell". The support bands however get a bit of a rough ride.

Local lads PROLONG THE AGONY for example have the unenviable task of waking up an audience that’s barely made it past the bar yet. With the room less than half full, the Engine Rooms seems big and soulless and their impressive Metalcore gets little more than polite applause. There’s lots of hefty breakdowns, well-placed a Capella moments and neat melodies, but they also look like rabbits in the headlights up there. Hopefully this’ll just be a temporary blow to their confidence as they’re ferocious in smaller venues.

The infuriatingly named SHVPES (not a typo!) also face an uphill struggle, but they have a secret weapon in their arsenal; singer Griffin Dickinson. Despite being a relatively recent addition to the band formally known as CYTOTA, he is single-mindedly committed to getting the party going and not one inch of the club is safe. He bounds about the stage, hangs from the rafters and screams into the faces of the onlookers, all within the first minute of the opening song. They’re also much heavier than their Youtube videos would have you believe and it’s hard not to grin like an idiot for the whole thing.

Bearded Californians ALL HAIL THE YETI however add a more Satanic edge to the night. Covered in tattoos, bathed in red light and with nary a clean vocal to be heard, they are relentlessly sludgy and unpleasant and more punishing than swallowing raw jalapenos with mouthfuls of whiskey. "Blood Guilt" sounds like Aleister Crowley butchering a hog and by the time they finish the front few rows are all alive and fist pumping and even the people at the back seem to be cheering louder.
Having spent over a decade on the road though, 36 CRAZYFISTS have absolutely honed their craft and tonight easily belongs to them. The punters have been very laidback so far but as soon as the opening riff to "At The End Of August" kicks in, a circle pit opens up and things get hectic very quickly. Looking like four broken hearted Ice Road Truckers, the band play like they’re in constant fear of someone running out and kicking them up the arse any second. Up tempo versions of "I’ll Go Until My Heart Stops", "The Heart And The Shape" and "Bloodwork" all rocket past early on and the pace only drops with the pounding mega-riff of "Sorrow Sings".

With the latest album "Time And Trauma" only having come out Monday, it’s not surprising that the newer additions to the set list get a comparatively muted reaction, but the calls for older material are thoroughly rewarded with the encore. "Circle The Drain" is an unexpected delight, one lucky bloke gets to share vocals with Brock Lindow for "Destroy The Map" and "Slit Wrist Theory’ brings the entire house down. They’re not the superstars they promised to be back when "A Snow Capped Romance" came out, but even if they’re not playing bigger venues, they’re not playing smaller ones either. And they’re still the second best thing about Alaska after that seafood restaurant from "Man Versus Food".

*Photography: Katrina Graef-Thomson

Promoter: Live Nation
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Edited 30 January 2023

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