After a stint of huge festival sets and arena support slots this past summer, Loathe are thrumming with excitement over the prospect of a no barrier show. Tonight, the heavy metalgaze quartet are set to perform to a packed-out crowd in The Warehouse - and fans are in for a treat, it’s not often that the group’s immense, awe-striking soundscapes are able to unravel within such an intimate space these days. But, most importantly, it’s an evening with a purpose.
The sold-out show is to be the first of many upcoming gigs raising funds for beloved local venue Boom Leeds, currently under threat of closure. “We always want to support grassroot venues, and Boom’s history within hardcore music is so important,” guitarist and vocalist Erik Bickerstaffe explains ahead of the band's set. “Boom is such a communal place for musicians,” frontman Kadeem France adds. “Those spaces are so vital. Like, the practice room we used when we were 16 is just an accommodation block now but we met so many people in that space. So many bands wouldn’t exist without communal spaces.”
Downstairs, fans have eagerly crammed themselves inside the venue. With the clock ticking, Loathe make their final preparations - and the energy, the anticipation, is electric. By the time the quartet make their grand entrance, the operatic might of Giacomo Puccini’s Nessun Dorma sounds out over the venue speakers. They’re met with a a hero's welcome - one they soak up avidly. But the grandeur quickly descends into the chaos of Gored, and the floodgates are opened.
Fans are immediately in motion, throwing themselves around in sync with the sharp bite of Gored's hectic instrumentals. New Faces In The Dark and Banshee welcome in the first waves of stagedivers - with no barrier in sight, nobody can resist taking a punt.
As the crowd swarms and swirls, Kadeem looks entranced. Lost in the bittersweet ebb-and-flow of harsh riffs and weightless keys, the frontman floats, feather-light, as the mania unfolds - all before crashing back down to Earth with a guttural growl, blastbeats rumbling through the venue floor as he commands the crowd to mosh even harder.
“We can’t stress the importance of supporting DIY spaces like Boom," the singer takes a moment to emphasise. "Without them, there wouldn’t be the community. Keep the love."
In the spirit of celebrating the heavy community, Loathe welcome out a few guests. Dance On My Skin sees Modern Error’s Zak Pinchin growling along for the climactic finale, while Broken Vision Rhythm sees vocalist Harry Rule unleashing carnage, feral after lying dormant since God Complex’s final show last April. The final feature comes in the form of Static Dress’ Olli Appleyard for Heavy Is The Head…, Kadeem and Olli working together in perfect harmony.
As the evening slowly nears the end, Loathe knock out the heavy hitters in the form of two of their most poignant, gloriously gorgeous tunes. Is It Really You? is transcendental, Erik’s soft vocals practically heaven-sent as they ooze out over the crowd. Closer Two-Way Mirror serves as the final burst of instrumental prowess, the gentle crush of rich shoegaze the perfect send-off. As the band finally trundle off stage, the crowd revels in the afterglow. Loathe’s sound captures something timeless, and it’s clear that The Warehouse was truly blessed tonight.