With a career spanning over a decade and a wealthy catalogue of fan loved and critically acclaimed releases, post hardcore quartet, Fightstar, are royally welcomed to Exeter’s Lemon Grove.
The crowd is a very specific demographic, the kind of people you’d expect to find at Reading and Leeds Festival. T-shirts of Capture The Crown, Bullet For My Valentine, Black Flag and Metallica are donned showing how Fightstar are one of those bands that can take in fans from across the board. You can smell nostalgia in the air from 2000s emo kids now turned estate agents.
You could smell nostalgia in the air from 00s emo kids now turned estate agents
A soft spacey intro track plays for the stars of the night to take centre stage. All at once they crash into ‘Sleep Well Tonight’, a personal favourite of mine from one of their most popular releases; debut album Grand Unification. It isn’t just me who felt that rush, as the crowd pushes, jumps and screams along to a classic and perfect opener. One of the immediate things I notice: the sound is big. It’s heavy, practiced, guttural, powerful and effective.
Fightstar continues to smash through their set playing fan favourites such as ‘Paint Your Target’, ‘Palahniuk’s Laughter’ and ‘99’. The whole band plays with overwhelming energy and the crowd reciprocates this enthusiasm even in new singles including ‘Sharp Tongue’ and album title track, ‘Behind The Devil’s Back’. At times the sound could have been better leveled out; the bass seems much too high in the mix and Alex Westaway’s vocals are sometimes drowned out which is a shame considering his talent. Overall, though the audience seem to love it, with there being chants of the drummer’s name ‘Omar’.
The band returns to the stage and Charlie talks to the crowd of his gratitude, showing him to be a humble and down to Earth man. Simpson dominates the venue and jumps down to shout the song at the barrier, answered by mosh-piits and beaming faces, screaming along.
Playing ‘Mono’ as their last song, is a questionable choice. ‘Deathcar’ would have ended the night more dramatically with it’s sheer brutality. But the crowd seem to love it, with the final bars of the song accompanying the ejection of several crowdsurfers, it is quite a finale.