Untitled photo

December 13th, 2022

So after only knowing about Loathe for the better part of a year and a half, I get to attend their headlining show at Underground Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I’ve been really excited to see this band for the past week and a half, ever since I knew that I would be in town long enough to see them on this tour. Considering how new they are to me (I’ve only known about them for about a year and a half), and that they’ve made such an impression on me, was special. To be able to see them perform the album that I fell in love with, “I Let It In and It Took Everything”, from front to back in its entirety, was amazing! Loathe is a perfect mix of quite a few of my favorite bands. When I try to think about how to describe them, my first thoughts are; if Deftones and SikTh had a baby, it would be Loathe. But then Deftones and SikTh would split up and then Loathe would get new “Step-bands” which would then help raise them from an infant to the full grown masterpiece that they are now. Those new “Step-bands” would be The Dillinger Escape Plan, and Candiria. And then as a teen, Loathe’s BFFs, the “bad kids that your parents warned you not to hang out with”, would be Meshuggah, Gojira and Periphery, adding to even more outstanding influence.

Untitled photo

I know it’s all crazy sounding, but sometimes that’s how my brain works. But just having those several influential bands alone, once you throw in the talent and the soul that the members have, and the extremely ethereal, beautiful vibe, and brutal heaviness that they emit, you get the band Loathe. Now, this is only my opinion, of course. Perhaps they could sound a lot like other bands to some people, even more so than the ones that I’ve named, but considering those are the bands that I’ve listened to and grown up with, that’s the first thing that sticks out to me. And they get away with this mashup without really sounding like any one of those bands. They’re totally themselves! (Well, there can definitely be some uncanny Deftones vibes sometimes, but they do it so well!)

Now, back to the show. The concert was sold out, and completely packed! (Bravo to them for selling out so many shows!) As I showed up to shoot, I quickly realized there was no photo pit! My head began to swirl with questions about “how will I capture this show properly if I can’t get close?” I’ve been so spoiled, always having a photo pit to shoot from. Well, it was time to brave the mosh pit! Camera gear and all! And let me tell you…there was definitely a PIT!! These metal heads went OFF! From the first heavy riff of the first song, “Aggressive Evolution”, with its thundering drums, glitchy and intense samples, and absolutely crushing bass and guitars, the pit opened up and chaos ensued. At one point, one of their singers, Kadeem France, came down to the middle of the floor, and requested that a huge circle pit begin revolving around him. Then the music kicked in, and it just erupted into an intense, swirling mosh pit, with Kadeem remaining in the middle of it! It was absolutely nuts (in an awesome way!)

22 years ago, I was a part of these pits…with blatant disregard of anything other than the music and the band (and of course being aware, if any of my fellow metal heads happen to fall…you PICK THEM UP!) But here I am now, early 40’s, with an expensive camera and lenses strapped to me, amongst an extremely brutal mosh pit, wondering if I’m going to get crushed, banged up, or if my camera gear will be ok! LOL But sometimes, you just have to own the situation. The metal community is awesome, and this show was no exception. The venue was packed full of people just having an absolute blast. Sure, the music is heavy and brutal, but this place was full of smiles and people having a wonderful night. I must have counted around 20-30 stage divers and crowd surfers during their performance. These people had the time of their lives. Loathe was absolutely intense, beautiful, melodic, and commanded a certain presence. Their sound was thick, and seemed to be mixed quite well (cheers to their engineer!). With the band bathed in red and blue lights most of the time, and a projector, projecting lyrics and graphics on a screen behind the drummer, Sean Radcliffe, the vibe of the light show and projected visuals totally fit each song perfectly. One of the more intimate, and beautiful moments of the show, was when they played the song “Is It Really You?”, which is one of their more melodic, ballads. Vocalist Kadeem France asked the rowdy group to take out their cell phones and turn their flashlights on. The venue completely lit up with light from everyone’s camera phone, as they went into one of their more harmonious songs. The whole crowd sang along with Kadeem and the other vocalist/guitarist Erik Bickerstaffe, through the entire song, even sometimes seeming to drown out the two powerful singers! Seeing the entire crowd with their hands up, and belting out at the top of their lungs, along with the band putting on a spectacular performance, was just a beautiful thing. All in all, Loathe absolutely killed it. What a spectacular show. And as I listen to more of their catalogue, I really look forward to seeing them perform again, and playing some of their older, heavier songs as well!

Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In