AMERICAN HEAD CHARGE
Manchester Academy – Manchester, UK – 13 September 2017
Review by Mark Dean – Photos by Christopher James Ryan
Well, after a couple of false starts in recent years the US heavyweights were finally in town. With a quite eclectic supporting cast of Reptil, In Death, and the enigmatic Liv Sin. I managed to do a full band interview with American Head Charge in the afternoon prior to the show and it was clear that the band were enthusiastic about finally getting to play a show in Manchester.
Opening band Reptil were simply one of the weirdest bands that I have ever seen with their live set being as focused visually as it was sonically. Costume changes, public flogging and bizarre dancing being just some of the many elements that we witnessed.
In Death from Australia were a brutal style death metal band which generated a hugely favorable response from the almost full to capacity venue audience.
Special Guest slot was former vocalist Liv of Sister Sin. While only touching on her former band’s song catalogue briefly in her set – “Outrage” was the sole track played – she preferred to mainly focus instead on her debut solo album Follow Me. Liv’s performance was very visual and certainly caught the eye of the mostly male audience, who lapped up the show enthusiastically.
With a bizarre sounding hip hop intro which caused much bemusement among the audience the band exploded straight away – no hanging around as they quickly made up for lost time with the UK audience opening with the Tango Umbrella track “Let all the world believe.” Their latest album was not overplayed with just three tracks from it being represented in the band’s set. The Manchester crowd were equally fired up from the outset, and although the venue was not a complete sellout nonetheless was almost full despite the distractions of another couple of rock shows the same night. The fans gave the band a very passionate response, which quite surprised me as I knew that many of them had never witnessed the band in a live performance previously. I guess the band were not the only ones keen to make up for lost time. “All Wrapped Up” was a personal favourite of the band’s all too quick seventy-minute set.
Vocalist Cameron Heacock didn’t display much direct vocal interaction with the audience but chose instead to convey his emotions through a dual vocal style of guttural and melodic. “Seamless”, an old favourite, saw the creation of some particularly crazy circle pits enveloping the venue.
Despite going through many struggles and personal demons, the sad demise of an original band member, and management/record label problems, American Head Charge have emerged triumphant through the amount of adversity which should have destroyed them. Instead they have survived with a passion and brutal anger that begs the world to sit up and take notice of them, second time around.