Rain and it being a School Night couldn’t keep the throngs of Metal faithful from Underground Arts on Wednesday Evening. Toronto, Canada’s Cancer Bats were in town, bringing their Punk and Hardcore infused brand of no nonsense Metal to Philly for the first time as a Headliner.
The show started with up in coming local melodic Hardcore band The Cloth. The three piece took impressive command of the stage, playing an interesting set of mid-tempo doom-leaning crunchers. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for them playing the area in the future.
The biggest surprise of the night was the second act, Exalt, also from Canada, like The Bats. These guys blew me away with their relentless Thrash/Grind attack. Devastating riffs and super tight, quick drumming, accompanied by the vocalist and guitarist trading high and low screams, delivered with extreme efficiency. They damn near made the entire building cave in on top of us. I’ll be picking up their latest record, Pale Light, as soon as I get the chance.
Starting with the opening riff and vocals “…and I remind myself who I really am…” from opener “True Zero”, Cancer Bats vocalist Liam Cormier had the crowd in the palm of his hand, thanking them profusely for coming to see the band on a weeknight and re-christening their somewhat unquantifiable style as “Wednesday Night Metal”, a mantra which was chanted throughout the performance. The Bats led the audience through a raucous set, highlights including crushing “bangers” like Dead Set on Living’s Bricks and Mortar and Hail Destroyer’s Sorceress, all the time keeping the energy up and the vibe positive, which the fans in attendance returned in kind.
The entire floor turned into a massive pit during the band’s stomping run-through of Hail Destroyer’s title track. A certain person writing this article may have fallen and busted his ass. Good dudes in the pit got me right back up on my feet and rocking out. Shout out to those guys. Cancer Bats surprisingly closed the set with Beelzebub, a slower more reflective song, and one of my favorites off of their new record “Searching for Zero”. A perfect end to a perfect night.
All in all an amazing time at Underground Arts. Today’s lesson: Don’t let the fact that it’s a weeknight stop you from showing up for a kick ass metal show. Wednesday Night Metal lives!
Words by Kevin Hawkey / Photos by Megan Hawkey