Beartooth live review - Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

Ohio hardcore punks go wild in west London

Beartooth on stage at Shepherd's Bush Empire
(Image: © Marie Korner)

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Although superficially similar to tonight’s headliners, Boston’s VANNA [6] don’t take the crowd’s support for granted. Vocalist Davey Muise bounds around like an excitable puppy, playing a hype man working the audience into a frenzy. Vanna themselves are at their best when they allow the groove and bounce of nu metal to bleed into their sound, but elsewhere there’s too much reverence for by-the-numbers hardcore tropes. They’re entertaining but forgettable.

BEARTOOTH [8], however, are on fire. Caleb Shomo notes that they’ve been on tour for over two months now, and it shows. Tighter than a corpse’s fist, it’s a masterclass in set-it-off-ology. Drummer Connor Denis, apparently channelling Animal from The Muppets, is a ball of frenetic energy while bassist Oshie Bichar’s clean vocals boost Shomo’s rawer contributions as the band hurl themselves around the stage. The energy is returned tenfold by one of most passionate crowds this venue has ever seen. The circlepits start during the second song and by the third, even the balcony is bouncing. When Caleb takes to the stage solo to thrash out bluesy rock’n’roll chords while commending talking openly about mental health, the whole room listens, rapt, before promptly losing their shit once more. One of the best in their game, and getting better every time.