Kittie / It Dies Today / Malefice
23 January 2010
Camden Underworld

This year’s second gig was also a second trip to the Camden Underworld, essentially to get another look at Malefice. We had caught a very brief set by the Reading band back last October with Devildriver and whilst tonight’s set was not due to be of epic length, it at least gave Malefice a better opportunity to show what they were about.

Frontman Dale Butler’s mockney greeting of “Awight, u Landan slags!” grabbed the crowd’s attention before warning, “We’re Malefice from Reading and this is as close as we get to a hometown show, so don’t let us down!”.

From the numbers gathered at the front as opener The Midas Effect kicked in, it was apparent a good portion were here for the British band. Their enthusiasm boiled over, creating a pit during Sickened which last pretty much throughout the set. Risen Through The Ashes took us back to the band’s Entities album, but the majority of the set was culled from latest release Dawn Of Reprisal.

Onstage was a blur of activity as Malefice threw themselves into their performance. Butler’s confession that “We’ve been doing this for a month and we’re f**king knackered!” wasn’t noticeable from the effort. On the contrary, that month on the road appeared to have bound Malefice into a very tight live unit. Guitarists Ben Symons and Alex Vuskans crunching riffs with melodic fills were particularly impressive.

The video for An Architect of Your Demise has been popping up on Scuzz TV and unsurprisingly appeared to be the song most familiar to the crowd, though closer As I Bleed, which has Glover dropping his growl in the chorus, was the most instant song of the set.

Typically were Malefice from America it’s likely they would be getting more press attention which could be disheartening to the British act. However, tonight’s explosive performance indicated they seem up for the fight.

Malefice set list:
The Midas Effect / Sickened / Risen Through The Ashes / End of Days / An Architect of Your Demise / Hatred Justified / Abandon Hope / As I Bleed

By contrast It Dies Today are from the USA, get a higher slot on the bill and more column inches. However, never has a band name been more apt, with a disinterested crowd failing to be won over. It’s no surprise really as in terms of shout along metalcore with the occasional emo vocal chorus, this was a generic as it gets. Seriously, this genre is in desperate need of a cull right now being over saturated with sound-alike bands. It’s something that happened to the thrash scene and amusingly some of those Z-league thrash bands are popping up again now and trading on being part of the scene all those years ago, even if they were never any good. So on that basis there’s always hope for a band like It Dies Today to reform in about 20 years time!

This may seem harsh but I can’t remember being so bored and unmoved by a band for some time. The bar beckoned.

It Dies Today set list:
My Promise / This Ghost / Severed Ties Yield Severed Heads / Thank You For Drinking / The Depravity Waltz / Sacred Heart (Sacre Coeur) / Miss October / A Threnody for Modern Romance / Freak Gasoline Fight Accident

Interestingly Kittie have stood in a scene that had opinion turn against it and have survived. The band’s debut Spit and particularly its single Brackish did well with the nu-metal crowd and a UK tour supporting Slipknot had them poised for success. However, with their labels tour support drying up, Kittie had to turn down major support slots with the likes of Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson and Creed and as a result they’ve actually headlined every show they’ve played in the last 10 years.

Kittie 2010 is a very different band to the one that released Spit. Only the Lander sisters, Morgan on vocals and guitar and Mercedes on drums remain and the band’s sound has changed. Interestingly nothing from Spit is aired tonight but a good portion of latest album In The Black is.

The band’s arrival on stage fools the crowd twice with them strangely appearing to check their instruments themselves on two occasions before the Kingdom Come (intro) was set running by the soundman, indicating that their next appearance would be the actual start of the set.

The first thing to strike you was that whilst Morgan Lander’s roar was as vicious as the gents in the two band’s preceding Kittie, the band’s material come across far less aggressive. Material from the band’s last two albums in particular was concise and catchy. Increasingly Morgan Lander has taken to using her clean vocal and it’s something that pays dividends and she proved that it is something she can pull off impressively outside the studio.

With the Lander sisters somewhat limited in their movement by their respective roles, guitarist Fallon Bowman and bassist Tanya Candler have the run of the stage and indulge in some guitar hero posing to the delight of a mixed crowd at the front of the stage. Hailing from Ontario in Canada, Morgan points out to their fans that the band are “from London too, but the not so cool London.”

I have to concede that Kittie are pretty good at what they do, but didn’t particularly grab me this evening. My attention did start to wander after the half hour mark but it was obvious that their fans enjoyed the set.

Kittie set list:
Kingdom Come (intro) / My Plague / Cut Throat / Oracle / Flower Of Flesh And Blood / Never Again / Pussy Sugar / Breathe / Burning Bridges / What I Always Wanted / Severed / Die My Darling / Whiskey Love Song / Sorrow I Know / Look So Pretty / Forgive & Forget

It Dies Today