Monday, May 27, 2024

Parkway Drive play their biggest London Show to date with Killswitch Engage and Thy Art Is Murder

It’s February 2019 and Parkway Drive are currently on their biggest European Tour to date. Selling out in Manchester, Frankfurt, Czech Republic, Paris and Munich. They tonight face a sold out show of ten thousand people at London’s Alexandra Palace with support from Killswitch Engage and Thy Art Is Murder.

We climb the steep hill that is the walk up to Alexandra Palace. As one of the most highly anticipated shows in the metal calendar this year so far, the merriment at the top of the hill is in full swing when we arrive. Fan’s sit in duvet covers and foil blankets on what was predicted to be one of winters coldest night this year so far, the queue stretches long around Alexandra Palace as more and more people start to arrive. Inside we are met by a host of food outlets, catering for everyone’s needs (I recommend the vegan chicken balls). On this Saturday night as the venue fills up quickly, so does the queue at the bar and before we know it we are surrounded by gig-goers in PWD/KSE t-shirts ready for the night ahead.

First up is Thy Art Is Murder from Sydney, Australia. Vocalist CJ McMahon stands hooded as a string of profanities leave his mouth before pummeling into ‘The Purest Strain of Hate‘. Next up ‘Holy War’ one of their most well known songs from their 2015 album of the same name. They warm the crowd appropriately, but the crowd are already ready to be honest with you. CJ puts his hands together as if to pray and signal a thanks to the crowd before taking off his cardi, swearing about how cold the UK is, and burping down the mic. You get what you see with Thy Art Is Murder, they are straight talking and just here to play heavy as fuck music – you don’t really need much more when opening for a show such as this.

Killswitch Engage
Killswitch Engage | All Photos By Ash Crowson

Next up Killswitch Engage, who of course should not need any introduction. However it did occur to me that whilst many grew up with KSE on our CD walkmans soon followed by iPods, there are also a whole breed of younger generation and new fellow metalheads joining us tonight. Almost introduced to Killswitch by Parkway. Our message is simple, if you have not delved into them just yet, you need to make sure that you listen to their music video playlist on YouTube immediately! They are one of those bands who you don’t realise just how many classic tracks they have until you start listening through.

Killswitch Engage
Killswitch Engage | All Photos by Ash Crowson

Killswitch Engage

Opening with ‘Strength of Mind’ off of 2016’s Incarnate is a great choice, and so the belting of lyrics from the crowd starts… and we don’t stop until the end of the night. Front man Jesse Leach says “Hello London! Let me hear you sing” as everyone replies “Seeeeek Meeeee, Callll Meeee…” at the top of their lungs! I don’t know anyone that can resist singing along with ‘End of Heartache’A few tracks later Jesse announces “Hey London cheers!… Our governments keep us separated, this goes out to the government because… fuck the government! This is ‘Hate By Design’.” Let’s be honest most of us could not agree more with that statement over the past few years. The circle pit is at large for ‘Rose of Sharyn’ and soon after everything goes dark apart from the stage as they sing an absolutely beautiful version of ‘Always’ – this song is just so important in terms of highlighting mental health and it really gets the emotions going.

It’s been an absolute dream set of all the hits: ‘Strength of Mind’, ‘End of Heartache’, ‘Beyond the Flames’ ‘My Curse’, ‘Rose of Sharyn’, ‘Just Barely Breathing’, ‘Hate by Design’, ‘Always’, ‘My Last Serenade’, ‘This Is Absolution’, ‘In Due Time’.

The moment we have been awaiting since Download ’18 has finally arrived. Parkway Drive enter Alexandra Palace from the back of the room surrounded by an entourage of security, promoters and crew. Winston in the middle wearing a regal fur coat, they are holding sticks of fire… this must be one of the best entrances we have ever seen. The band walks through the crowd and has to jump over the front barrier! This is a brave move, but everyone simply accepts it and parts, I saw a couple of guys bowing as the band past them.

Parkway Drive
Parkway Drive | All Photos by Ash Crowson

Feelings are intense, Winston and the band are under lights whilst the rest of the room remains in darkness, as he speaks the opening words of ‘Wishing Wells’. Looking around at the crowd and the faces of people are of absolute and complete joy, there is a girl next to me in blissful tears. It’s seeing people be able to let out these emotions at gigs that always inspired me to be a music journalist, because witnessing that sheds a light on just how import music is to people.

Parkway Drive
Parkway Drive Crowd | All Photos by Ash Crowson

Then comes some of their biggest classics ‘Prey’, ‘Carrion’ and ‘Vice Grip’ – somewhere between these songs I got absolutely covered in beer and I must say I didn’t even care. For a lot of fans we have been waiting to sing along word for word until our voices are no more, to crowd surf and dance/mosh, these tracks provide the perfect environment to let loose to do so. Winston commendably tells the crowd to look after each other, “If someone falls down, you pick them up!”, this is an important message that all should be reminded of at every gig. At this moment this crowd of people are one big happy family and we don’t want anyone to get hurt; just sometimes party-goers/moshers need a little reminder to check themselves.

Parkway DriveThere is something about watching ‘Cemetery Bloom’, Winston in the light, the crowd in darkness, which makes him incredibly human and relatable. The bands entrance earlier on surly gave them that rockstar mystique. But there has never been any hint of arrogance or debauchery from Parkway Drive themselves, they come across as extremely humble. When music is real, the words are true and it comes from the heart, that’s when incredible music is made and there is a strong connection with everyone in the room.

People are in worlds of their own, complete joy, dancing – As we all sign “Welcome To A Wold of Pain”, the irony of lyrics sung by a room full of people having the best time. The light rains down the stage as Winston puts it “You’re mad, your all fucking mad” before going into ‘Idols and Anchors’. By this time in the night the smell of smoke and fireworks is strong because Parkway use A LOT of fire!

Parkway Drive
Parkway Drive Crowd | Photos By Ash Crowson

For ‘Writings On The Wall’ we are treated to something a bit different as three violin players and a cellist join Parkway to play parts of the track and they remain to play ‘Shadow Boxing’ too. Parkway have really stepped up their live show in recent years and this set is full of lot’s of different elements. “Ah Jesus… You having fun? Me Too! Seriously, this is mental! I don’t know if you know but this is our biggest show” says Winston.

Parkway DriveWinston suddenly appears in the middle of the crowd with just a spot light on him during ‘The Colour of Leaving’. It’s when he sings “I saw dads face again as he led my friend away…” that emotions run high again in this truly sombre yet magical moment, ending the song with his haunting spoken words.

Everything ends, everything is dark, but you didn’t think Parkway would play their biggest London show without doing an encore, right? Of course not, Winston says “Were not fucking done here London”! They’re back and they unleash the IRE artwork and we are SO ready for these tracks! They play ‘Crushed’ and it’s after this track that they announced their headline spot at Bloodstock Festival this year. Very well deserved in our opinion after everything we have just witnessed! “I’ve been dreaming about this show” says Winston as they play their very last song of the night ‘Bottom Feeder’. Parkway have really pulled out all the stops tonight and made their biggest London show as special as they could.

Parkway Drive
Parkway Drive Crowd | Photos By Ash Crowson

Parkway Drive Set-List

  1. Wishing Wells
  2. Prey
  3. Carrion
  4. Vice Grip
  5. Karma
  6. Cemetery Bloom
  7. The Void
  8. Idols and Anchors
  9. Dedicated
  10. Absolute Power
  11. Writings on the Wall
  12. Shadow Boxing
  13. Wild Eyes
  14. Chronos
  15. The Colour of Leaving


16. Crushed
17. Bottom Feeder

Editor of RAMzine - Creator of content. Chaser of Dreams. Lover of cats, metal, and anthemic sounds. \m/

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