Photo story: How to do an anniversary show right feat. Devil Sold His Soul @ O2 ABC2, Glasgow
Who isn't on an anniversary or reunion tour right now? It seems like the windows for such thing is increasingly shorter. Whether it's the 4 years it took Alexisonfire, the 3 it took Thrice or the several minutes it took Asking Alexandria, nostalgia is very much the way to go for ticket sales.
Which is fine. There's nothing wrong with celebrating good times, memories and huge artistic achievements. Add booze and it's a magnificent combination. But it's hard not to think that a lot of these moves aren't just cynical cash grabs ( mentioning no names, unless I did already...).
Devil Sold His Soul though...they're doing it right.
Devil Sold His Soul haven’t broken up. Good on them for powering through. But they never quite made it either. Three excellent albums, a couple of brilliant EPs and countless incredible live shows and sweet support slots somehow couldn’t quite put them over the top.
So they’re a much quieter band these days. Quality over quantity and all that. They also had a singer change a few years back, with the distinctive vocal of Ed Gibbs being replaced the powerhouse of Paul Green. A stylistic change I wasn’t as sold on, but I certainly couldn’t say the band’s output since then has lowered in quality, it’s just different to what I loved before.
So when this 10th Anniversary tour of their debut record was announced...I wasn’t immediately sold. I didn’t really want to see the album without the vocal that played such a big part in its sonic identity. But then, I discovered Ed would be signing for the band on this tour. Alongside Paul.
That sold me. This wasn’t a nostalgic cash grab. This was a celebration and collaborations. A chance to hear old favourites with a new twist. That’s my kind of anniversary. Remembering the past is great, I'm all for that sort of celebration: but reliving it isn't of interest to me.
Unsurprisingly, the show delivered everything I hoped. The music is as powerful as I remember and the band play it with an intensity, precision and plain, simple enthusiasm that only fuels the audience's adoration more and more as the set progresses.
Hearing vocalists past and present split up parts in a way that felt totally organic and really served the songs was wonderful. Each taken turns to deliver the piercing screams, soaring melodies and introspective crooning that weave their way through the band’s compositions. As raw as the live performance is, it still maintains the immersive nature of the record at the same time.
The lengthy track times pass in a blur because time is no longer a concern, you’re too busy embracing the eye of the musical and emotional storm
Although, the dude in the band who used to play the sample pad wasn’t there. I thought that was a shame. Sure, he doesn’t have some sort of odd gimp mask like Slipknot’s sample guy, but his cinematic enhancements add a lot to the band. And he would have been a nice reminder of a time before bands had laptops as members.
Missing personnel aside, the gig was incredible. A potent reminder of how much I loved the band’s first two records in particular. What really struck me, was how the band’s gentle and melodic passages and brooding mood building moments always maintain a sense of tension and menace.
Countless bands do the whole quiet to loud thing, but few do it with a identity as fierce and distinct as Devil Sold His Soul. They’re an incredible and unique band who deserve more recognition that they’ve ever gotten. More than they probably will ever get at this stage in the game.
But, they have been in the quiet mood of the dynamic for a while now...I’m hoping for something loud from them again before too long. If ever there was a time for a band like this to return to the UK scene then surely it’s now?