Sound Circus, Bournemouth

Tonight has a surreal quality to it – regardless of the events which are set to transpire before me, the atmosphere is strange. This is most likely due to the fact that the sun is still lingering on the horizon as I reach the infamous Sound Circus. It feels strange to be here when it’s not pitch black, but somewhat refreshing.

Ultimately, there’s a reason why I’ve ventured down so early – Create To Inspire. Ever since their first EP ignited an influx of deserved hype, I’ve been wanting to see them in the flesh. Tonight, they don’t disappoint, launching into a full-scale onslaught of the pupils and ear drums. Their captivating energy on stage leaves you struggling to decide where to hold your gaze, as impassioned vocalist, Sean Midson does his best to leave the early birds feeling smug that they bothered to support the openers. It’s also worth noting that the new sound system at Sound Circus has made considerable improvements as a spectator – The riffs sound huge, the drums pack a punch and the vocal clarity is as clear as daylight. Don’t miss CTI on their return to Bournemouth with Napoleon in August.

Next up are Black Peaks, a band who stepped in at the last minute for Palm Reader. If you were disappointed by this change at first, then the performance tonight will have well and truly steadied the ship for any doubters. Warming up for their support slot for Deftones at Wembley Arena, the band showcase a set which leaves every person in the room utterly speechless. It’s sometimes difficult to visualise a band of an arena calibre playing tiny shows, but Black Peaks manage to summon a sound that does more than overwhelm the senses. Every song is laced with intense, dark undertones which perfectly compliment the euphoric screams and soaring clean vocals which Will Gardner delivers with the utmost precision and striking character. Their smart production, variation in the dynamics of their performance and unique qualities make their set an absolute delight to behold. Best upcoming band in the UK? I think so.

Finally, the time has come. The almighty heroes of the punk/hardcore scene – Cancer Bats are in town. Boasting a set laden with riffs aplenty and the expected showmanship of Liam Cormier, the band hold their audience in the palm of their hands throughout a storming set of classic anthems. It’s hard to criticise their performance due to the nature of what you’d expect to hear at one of their shows, but the lack of dynamic variation in their set doesn’t do them any favours. Surprisingly, they aren’t as tight as either of their supports, and although the punks out there will be cringing at this comment, there is an expectation of any band at this level (regardless of genre) to play with a certain level of precision. They may be catering perfectly to what the crowd want to hear, but for this reviewer, I’m left slightly underwhelmed with the one-dimensional formula of their set.

Overall, Cancer Bats came and they conquered their infatuated audience. They are deservedly known as one of the finest bands in the hardcore spectrum and I’m sure they will divide many people’s opinions, but there is always a reason behind the success of such an outfit. There’s little doubt that this band will continue to capture the hearts of their adoring fans, but I’m not going to lie and say I loved their performance. They’re an admirable band who played a solid set tonight, but they just didn’t excite me. Each to their own, I guess.


Words By George Fullerton.