GIG REVIEW: BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE, JINJER and ATREYU Live at Roundhouse, London
Bullet For My Valentine is one of those bands that went from “every emo girl’s wet dream”, to a respected act, beloved within the metal community. I was certain that I am in for a treat, as I approached the gates of the ever-growing popularity “Roundhouse” in North-West London, and was greeted by an overwhelming queue of metal fanatics blasting “Tears Don’t Fall”, as they were (not so patiently) waiting for the clock to strike 18:30, and the doors to open.
The atmosphere inside the Roundhouse is always breathtaking, as the architecture of the hall is built to announce: “Prepare for greatness”! As the house playlist was tickling the ears of beer-gulping fans across the venue with classics by Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold, and others, greatness, indeed, was fast approaching.
As the house lights faded to black and gasping voices grew louder with anticipation, Darude’s “Sandstorm” filled the arena. And before long, there, from the shadows, emerged the American quartet from California: Atreyu. Before the lights unveiled their pretty faces, and before their setlist kicked off in full, they opened with a performance of their melancholic short from their 2021 effort “Baptize”, called “Strange Powers Of Prophecy”. That was a unique start that didn’t set the tone for the night, however, as they wasted no time blasting “Becoming The Bull”, which is a real hard hitter from their 2007 album called “Lead Sails Paper Anchor”.
The band was loaded with energy and a good mood, and they showed that they are there to have fun. The following song “The Time Is Now” came with a special treat for the crowd, as vocalist Brandon Saller made his way to enchant the fans from within, by joining the crowd. That significantly elevated the quality of their performance, as the fans loved this extra touch of effort that Atreyu put for their satisfaction, and even Brandon emerged happy, with a free shot of whisky in his system.
They didn’t take long to announce their gratitude towards the fans, and they were overwhelmed with emotions for the fact that this is their final stop on the tour with Bullet For My Valentine, and they made sure to let everyone know of the great time they’ve had, as well as to thank BFMV for taking them on board. This; sharing stories from touring, lots of engagement with the crowd, as well as mispronouncing “Thames” and blaming it on their American heritage, resulted in a monster of a mood-lifter and great memories for everyone who was in attendance.
- Strange Powers Of Prophecy
- Becoming The Bull
- The Time Is Now
- Ex’s and Oh’s
- Save Us
- Battle Drums
As the crowd replenished their now vacant cups of beer (which the floor drank from mostly), a sudden silence caught the attention of the fans. And from the sides of the stage, under enigmatic light, began to emerge the members of the ever-rising Ukrainian metalcore act Jinjer, with vocalist Tatiana Shmayluk emerging last. They wasted no time opening with the track “Who Is Gonna Be The One”, which is one of their most popular and catchy songs. This was a sure crowd-pleaser and a great opener. They continued to deliver a set of 9 songs.
As one of the modern divas of the metal world, Tatiana Shmayluk made her appearance sporting a unique full-body singlet, formed of unique lines and shapes, which glowed like neon under the stage lights and especially in the dark. This was complimented by extravagant eyeliner which completed the provocative glowing look. The show was focused mainly on her, as her outfit and energetic headbanging were under the strongest lighting, which for the most part, left the other members of the band somewhat hard to spot, but never hard to hear.
I found myself in the realization, that Jinjer’s shows are not for people sensitive to light, as the fast energetic pace of the band was supported with an addition of fast-paced bright lights, similar to that of a rave, which caused me a mild headache, and I don’t have any diagnosed conditions for light sensitivity.
Their sound also felt inflated to a point of mild discomfort, as it bared more electronic notes, which further influenced the rave vibe to the set, and at times felt more intrusive, than pleasant. In general, they presented themselves and sounded different from a lot of other bands within the genre.
I did notice that the audience responded differently to them, as they seemed more focused on the action than being a part of it. Initially, I thought this might be due to the more performance-oriented act Jinjer was putting on, which resulted in less crowd interaction and more to the point. In retrospect, I now believe it may have had something to do with their unique sound, which I personally felt did not fully fit the line-up.
Nevertheless, they delivered an exciting show and gave it their all on stage, which is a respectable feat in every case.
- Who Is Gonna Be The One
- Home Back
- Judgement (& Punishment)
- Pit of Consciousness
- Dead Hands Feel No Pain
- Call Me a Symbol
As the main event was approaching, everyone in attendance made sure to let Bullet For My Valentine know that their presence was anticipated and eagerly awaited. As the house light dimmed, System Of A Down’s “Chop Suey” was played over the speakers in the venue, and what resulted, was one of the most genuine and beautiful moments I have witnessed. The whole crowd showed their love for the song by joining, in tandem. The mood skyrocketed and the atmosphere turned electric! I am truly happy to have been a part of a precious moment like this!
And finally, as the color returned to the stage, and the smoke machines were cranked to 100%, the silhouettes of the fan-favorite metalcore giants began to fill the gaps. The first noticeable sight was Jason Bowld’s drum kit, which was equipped with see-through plates at the front, which I assume are added for extra acoustic, and not as protection from flying cups of beer.
As the band took their place on stage, it was visible that they are in great physical shape, and were dressed to impress. Their playing was also impressive, as they sounded better than ever! Matthew Tuck’s growls carried across the venue as a menacing, but warm summer’s breeze. His voice sounded youthful, aggressive, and sharp, making it a truly authentic experience. You would assume that after months of being on tour, there would be some strain, but apart from maybe some physical signs on their faces, the band’s musicianship was flawless. Michael Paget’s melodic solos are always so full of soul and energy, so witnessing them live was a goosebump-inducing experience, that easily rivals the likes of Metallica, who are one of BFMV’s biggest inspirations.
Their interaction with the crowd was also satisfactory, as the energy they gave out inspired the London fans to pursue crowd surfing, which grew with every passing song. They opened with “Knives” which is one of the fan favorites from their latest self-titled album. They continued to deliver a banging set of 17 songs, which consisted of many crowd-pleasers. Knowing their fans, however, they delivered the true treats at the encore of the night, where they pulled out their strongest cards. It started off with “Your Betrayal” which is a classic from their 2010 effort “Fever”. Following that, was “Tears Don’t Fall”, which is their most popular song, and a must-have in the playlists of many! It was masterfully enhanced by a beautiful acoustic intro performed by Matt. I believed that they will close the night with this song, but they had other plans, as they wanted to go out with a heavy bang! That is when they whipped out “Waking the Demon”, which is one of their heaviest songs from their ”Scream Aim Fire” album. That was a true surprise and an extremely energetic and memorable way to close this European tour.
Bullet For My Valentine’s Setlist:
- Over It
- Piece of Me
- 4 Words (to Choke Upon)
- You Want a Battle? (Here’s a War)
- Hearts Burst Into Flame
- The Last Fight
- All These Things I Hate (Revolve Around Me)
- Scream Aim Fire
- Suffocating Under Words of Sorrow (What Can I do)
- Rainbow Veins
- Don’t Need You
- Death By A Thousand Cuts
- Your Betrayal
- Tears Don’t Fall
- Waking The Demon