He Is Legend, Acres and Liberty Lies at O2 Academy 3, Birmingham - live review

The Gospel - live

Crowd Shot

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LIBERTY LIES [7] might as well be playing in a garage given the sparse turnout, but it doesn’t faze frontman Shaun Richards, who commands the stage as he leads his brethren into a set brimming with rollocking riffs and huge choruses. ACRES [7] can go from lush, melodic passages and floaty guitars to visceral screams at the drop of a hat, while the intensity of songs like In Sickness & Health will ensure that their ‘unsigned’ status is short-lived. The rabid potency and conviction on display tonight belies the fact that HE IS LEGEND [8] have flown under the radar for this long. Having rekindled their white-hot flame with the release of fifth album Few, plus the immediate migration to the barrier, it’s clear that the now-larger crowd are fully immersed from the offset. Discharging energy and swagger by the bucketload, a wriggling Schuylar Croom waves his hands amidst an arsenal of chaotic grooves and elbow-swinging aggression nuanced by earworm hooks – Sand’s glorious chug/ soaring melody combo is an instant headbanger. A crushing performance marred only by its brief running time.