LIVE REVIEW: Beartooth, Motionless In White, Stray From The Path, OVO Arena Wembley, 19/03/2023
Photo Credit: Stu Garneys
In the wake of the devastating events that followed at the o2 Academy in Brixton last year, there has been a backlog ripple effect of gigs being moved to several varying venues across London. Whilst the unique slanting floors of Brixton’s Academy can never be replicated or replaced, desperate times call for desperate measures and after a drought of two years without live music, postponing them is simply not an option. One of the many bands affected is Beartooth and their beastly monster of a tour with fellow Americans Motionless In White and transatlantic four-piece Stray From The Path. Balancing bands between either Hammersmith’s Eventim Apollo or Wembley’s OVO Arena, Beartooth were thrown in the deep end, upgrading from an originally sold out 2k cap Brixton to ten times the size 12k cap Wembley Arena. Big boots to fill, but with their brand of hot razor sharp metalcore, Ohio outfit Beartooth descended on Wembley Arena with a riptide of rock and roll audacity, causing complete devastation in their wake.
First up, hardcore favourites Stray From The Path get bodies packing out the floor and opening up brutal mosh pits early doors. Hot off the heels of releasing their ninth studio album Euthanasia last year and with eight efforts in between and only a short support slot of a setlist, Stray made the most out of a short time on Wembley’s stage. From the spitting lyrics Drew York dishes out in Goodnight Alt-Right to the warped hardcore whirs of Fortune Teller and the rebellion against the sick systems of the US with Guillotine to the formidable breakdown centrepiece First World Problem Child, Stray From The Path paved the way for a support hardcore band bringing politically charged lyrics, razors sharp riffs and jaw dropping drums Craig Reynolds beats through to the masses. It’s rare to say you would like to see a support band headlining a venue the enormity of Wembley, but Stray From The Path could easily do it. 10/10
Next up, Pennsylvania’s Motionless In White walk out to the backdrop of their too most recent record release in 2022’s Scoring The End Of The World, an album that saw MIW explore industrial landscapes and digitalised horizons, moving away from their metallic gothic-core for something a little more sonically expansive. Becoming somewhat of a TikTok sensation in recent times, vocalist Chris Motionless and co adored in their blackened wardrobe of black caps, cargos and monochrome makeup, call it their very own Disguise, encapsulate the enormous crowd at this point. Chris’ entrancing and haunting vocals in Another Life and Eternally Yours getting goosebumps raised on people’s skin, to his blood curdling screams in Slaughterhouse and Cyberhex inflicting terror throughout Wembley Arena. Like their fellow support comrades Stray From The Path, on this Beartooth tour, one massive problem kept becoming apparent throughout the evening. Every single band could be equal headliners, the standards were set that damn high. 10/10
Lastly, headliners Beartooth blaze through a Below heavy set that was never short of flames and fire in the literal and sonic sense. Diving headfirst into their monstrous opener Below, the initial instigator for most pits popping up and exploding all over Wembley, Beartooth’s new material keeps coming in thick and fast throughout the night, Devastation, Riptide, Dominate, Skin, The Past Is Dead and set closer The Last Riff all taken from the bands 2021 album dominating but never dimming on the heavy riffs, booming drums and frontman Caleb Shomo’s destroying vocals and fearless attitude to get in amongst his audience, proving Beartooth are a band with no false gimmicks and all rock fuelled authenticity.
The scene has seen Shomo grow up from an innocent adolescent previous project Attack Attack! to establishing himself as one of metal’s most adored vocalists in Beartooth, and tonight’s show saw Shomo’s life flash before twelve thousand people’s eyes. Not missing the opportunity to bring it back to Beartooth’s early days, songs such as the humongous The Lines and In Between taken from Beartooth’s debut album Disgusting, stopping off briefly for Hated from sophomore record Aggressive and lastly the gargantuan Disease, You Never Know and Bad Listener, pulled from their third studio effort Disease.
You can’t help but think playing a room like Wembley in comparison to Brixton’s Academy could be a blessing in disguise for Beartooth, this band clearly born with the back catalogue and metal rock infused bite to rip the faces off tens of thousands and Beartooth did that tonight to unapologetic effect. 10/10
Written By: Katie Conway-Flood
Photo Credit: Stu Garneys