Monday, June 27, 2022

Iwrestledabearonce + Oceano + Vanna + For All Those Sleeping – O2 Academy2, Birmingham

It’s the first night of Alabama’s own quirky metalcore crew Iwrestledabearonce’s UK tour in support of their new album Ruining it for Everybody. For those who are fans of some bands on the line up will understand this is quite a momentous occasion. It see’s Iwrestledabearonce’s first UK appearance since their regular front woman, Krysta Cameron, became pregnant (congratulations from us!) and Oceano’s first UK shows since the vicious rumour of their splitting up. So, naturally, we have rather large expectations for tonight’s event…

Openers this evening are For All Those Sleeping who march onto stage to a crowd of about 30 people. Nonetheless their confidence is absolutely indomitable. They play with precision and the lead vocalist, Mike Champa’s, voice sounds impeccable. It’s clear they’ve used everything in their arsenal to make this an as energetic show as possible and it’s simply a shame there wasn’t some more chaos from the audience.

Now it is the time for Vanna. Let us assure you, these guys are neither sane nor safe people. They begin with the energy and charisma typical of any strong live band. But, by midway through their set Vanna have gotten to a point of viciousness we’ve never seen in any band before. The ferocity of their set just builds and builds to the point where the front man, Davey Muise, throws bottles at people in the front row to tell them to get off their mobile phones.  The end of their set sees Davey take to the mosh pit smashing any intimacy boundaries and giving fans and observers alike a show to remember.

Oceano were originally supposed to play here last year on the Impericon Never Say Die Tour. However these dates were cancelled and so began the story of their demise as a band. Thank goodness this was all complete rubbish and they were only having some time off due to their vocalist, Adam Warren, becoming a father (yet another congratulations!). As a result, Oceano fans of Birmingham are here to collect what they’ve been owed for so long and the band seemed poised to give it them. Initially the boys are a little rusty but it isn’t long before they’re getting the warmest response from the crowd that we’ve seen all night. Adam constantly displays all the traits of a brilliant front man and quite the formidable acrobat with his onstage leaps and dives. A monstrous performance of Weaponized is the defining moment in their set and makes us wonder could we have really ever believed such a fiery band would be over so quickly?

Their performance leaves the room primed for headliners, Iwrestledabearonce. A fair question on quite a few people’s lips is ‘how well will they be able to cope without their original front woman?’ A fair answer would be just as well as usual. There isn’t a moment’s hesitation from the crowd in accepting their replacement singer, Courtney LaPlante, and the band themselves play with unbeatable enthusiasm throughout their set. As in their songs, elements of comedy shine through in their performance as the band members take any and every available opportunity to do a little funky jig to their own music showing their loveable fun side. The vocals tonight are particularly impressive as Courtney absolutely nails down the sudden transition from angelic clean vocals to brutal screamed voices to a tee. This band truly shows they to be a head above everyone else in the world of rising metalcore bands. Seriously, who else would stop a show midway to ask about the quality of local beers? Only Iwrestledabearonce.

Sean Rafferty
A metalhead residing the birthplace of metal - Birmingham!

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Napalm Death at Download Fest

Dead Posey at Download Fest

Latest Articles