36 Crazyfists at Islington Academy, London - live review

A metalcore masterclass from The Last Frontier

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Alaskan metalcore veterans 36 Crazyfists have done their time as the underdogs, but tonight at Islington Academy they’re greeted like kings. And deservedly so, having proven on their latest album, Lanterns, that after 20-odd years they’re still able to rise to the challenge of constantly updating their sound while still bearing the hallmarks of what makes them so fiercely loved by their fans. Plus, they can still pack out a venue, selling out the Academy just moments before they hit the stage, and for good reason; with the fervent energy of a band still just starting out, they put everything into their show. Brock Lindow is a charming instigator of chaos on whose instruction approximately half the audience seems to go sailing over the barriers, while a constantly swirling circlepit opens up like a vortex in the middle of the Academy floor.

They hold everyone’s attention from the outset by juxtaposing old and new songs; kicking straight off with Lanterns opener Death Eater before going into the classic At The End Of August, they know when to reel in the crowd’s aggressive delight and when to feed it. From the huge singalong melodies of Wars To Walk Away From, they dip back into their Roadrunner-era tunes such as Bloodwork, which hasn’t dated at all, before bringing us back to the electric Better To Burn. It’s one of their best choruses on Lanterns, and in Slit Wrist Theory 36 Crazyfists close the night by hitting a timeless nerve.