Words & pics by Aatish Ramchurn
As I drive onto Lower Trinity Street to park my car I see a red, double-decker tour bus with a trailer right outside Mama Roux’s. At first I thought a band due to play in the main room of the O2 Institute had parked outside the wrong venue; it’s normally vans and cars I see parked on this street, not tour buses fit for major rock stars.
But of course, it makes sense. Tonight’s headline act, Miss May I, are traveling across the UK and Europe on their We Are Stronger Than Before tour with American bands, Fit For A King and Currents, along with Void of Vision from Australia. It’s only right such a metalcore smorgasbord should be in a big, comfortable tour bus together.
I arrive just in time to see Currents, who hail from Connecticut, open the night. This is their first international tour, which also means their first time in Birmingham. Usually, not many people arrive at a gig early enough to watch the opening acts but Currents really give it their all on the stage in front of the first few that watch them. First impressions count after all.
I shoot the first three songs of Currents’ set, then take advantage of a rare opportunity to sit in a booth upstairs at Mama Roux’s, reviewing the images I’ve taken.
As the next band set up the stage, I scan the room from the balcony, looking for interesting perspectives to shoot from. The room isn’t filling up with too many more people, so it appears this night won’t be the busiest – great for me making my way to and from the front of the stage, perhaps not so great for those on it.
I head to the floor to shoot Void of Vision, another band performing for the first time in Birmingham, although going by their solid set and engagement with the crowd you wouldn’t believe that. Donning a baseball cap and oversized t-shirt, frontman Jack Bergin paces the stage, encouraging the audience to start circle pits and wave their arms in the air.
From seeing a few people wearing their t-shirts, and a few comments I overhear, I sense that the main support act, Fit for a King, are the band a lot of people are really looking forward to. Their presence on stage has more people heading towards the front, giving me relatively little space to shoot from, but keeping us all in a nice and understanding crowd.
It’s only fair that I extend that courtesy too, by keeping my stance as low as possible, and by keeping my time at the front of the stage short so the ticket paying public can make use of the space. After all, fans have shelled out over £12 a ticket to experience a great night of metalcore, not the back of a photographer’s head. I spend the rest of Fit for a King’s set on the fringes of the room, enjoying watching the majority of people sing along to their songs word for word. I just know that Fit for a King are a band that really means something to these fans.
The atmosphere starts to feel a bit deflated by the time Ohio’s Miss May I grace the stage. It could be that people are slightly drained from the excitement of Fit for a King, but Miss May I don’t quite get the reception that I would have expected for a headline act.
They open their set with a few singles from their latest album, Shadows Inside, but it isn’t until they play more familiar numbers like ‘Hey Mister’ that the crowd really starts to give the band their full energy. Perhaps four full hours of metalcore can get a little too much in the end, but overall I’m sure it was an enjoyable night for the fans.
Miss May I @ Mama Roux’s 24.01.18 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review
For more on Miss May I, visit www.missmayimusic.com
Fit for a King – supporting Miss May I @ Mama Roux’s 24.01.18 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review
For more on Fit for a King, visit www.fitforakingband.com
Void of Vision – supporting Miss May I @ Mama Roux’s 24.01.18 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review
For more on Void of Vision, visit www.voidofvision.com
Currents – supporting Miss May I @ Mama Roux’s 24.01.18 / Aatish Ramchurn – Birmingham Review
For more on Currents, visit www.currentsofficial.com
For more on Mama Roux’s, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.facebook.com/mamarouxs
For more on Surprise You’re Dead! Music, visit www.surpriseyouredeadmusic.co.uk