The kings of circle-pits made their triumphant return to London on the back of their excellent new album Winter Kills. Frustratingly they were playing the Electric Ballroom on a Friday night which means a curfew of 10pm (club night afterwards), getting in early is a must if you want to see support bands.
Devildriver take to the stage with feverish excitement & don’t mess around opening with Head onto Heartache (Let Them Rot). The circle pit is open almost instantly & pretty much stays open for the majority of the gig. Hold Back The Day follows but its fan-favourite Not All Who Wander Are Lost that creates the biggest circle pit so far. The crowd are going nuts for Devildriver & by the grins on stage the band love what they see. After every couple of songs Dez Fafara gets on the mic & reminds the crowd just how special they are & how glad they are to be back in London.
It’s the kind of speech that might sound false coming out of a lot of mouths but coming out of Dez’s it feels sincere & is met with the crowd’s adoration.
It isn’t until song number 5 that they air a Winter Kills track. Following from the rarely played, Before The Hangman’s Noose, Oath of the Abyss is given an airing. The first track off Winter Kills sounds huge but doesn’t quite get the reaction I Could Care Less does. It’s a chorus that every fan can sing along with & just about everyone inside manages too.
2 More Winter Kills tracks are aired, The Appetite & the AWOLNATION cover, Sail. Sail is a chance for a lot of the crowd to take a breather & it does kind of kill the buzz for a while. I’m not big on bands adding covers to their sets especially when it’s only 13 songs long.
Thankfully the double header of End of the Line & Dead to Rights manages to pick things up before Clouds Over California elects the biggest circle pit of the night. It feels like everyone in the venue is involved. The band is unwilling to stop there & the final new song of the night, Ruthless hammers every fan across the head with its brutality.
Sadly all good things must come to an end & the band sign of with the classic Meet The Wretched. It’s disappointing to not see an encore as the Ballroom curfew sets about forcing everyone out but it’s hard not to have a grin on your face as most fans seem to have.
Sweaty, exhausted but happy the Devildriver fans slink off to find the nearest watering hole to talk about what they’ve just witnessed.
Devildriver @ The Electric Ballroom, London (04/04/14)