Even when your face feels like it’s about to fall off – rich with the soupy mucus of early-onset hayfever and a late cold – there’s no excuse not to go and see a show with the heady potential of one such as Norma Jean supported by The Chariot. The ties between these bands run long and deep, and it although I have seen the two separately and been impressed apart, the prospect of a joint show between two excellent bands entwined in the career of Georgian frontman extraordinaire Josh Scogin is something I’ve not yet witnessed – despite it having happened many times in the past. Well, now it was time for our humble British shores to welcome the metalcore duo.

Unfortunately, as often happens with British venues on weekend nights, the show started a lot earlier than anticipated, so my enjoyment of the openers Admira’s Arms and Dead And Divine was nixed -which I was quite miffed about, as they look like a lot of fun – to the point of coming in late for The Chariot. Maaaaan…

The Chariot

That being said, a little of The Chariot is better than none, and although I had to limit my viewing experience to watching from the rear of the venue, it was immediately apparent that adding my skinny frame to the proceedings wouldn’t have made much difference to the atmosphere, which was absolutely heaving. You can’t fault these guys for the commitment and passion they put into their shows, Be it in their hometown, in the usually unforgiving and static crowds of reserved Britain, or some unknown town in Russia, The Chariot always find a way to get people moving; throwing themselves off the stage into the crowd and generally not giving a shit about hitting all the right notes. That’s punk.

The now customary dismantling of the stage, down to individual pieces of the drum kit, was met with calls for more – a sure sign of a successful set.

Norma Jean

My experience of Norma Jean – Scogin’s former band – is less comprehensive, but having managed to bag myself a railing-side view next to the stage, I was all sorted to witness the full fury of a band now five albums deep into their career – each of which they saw fit to sample in a show that captured multiple facets of their career, and played out a lot like a ‘best of’ show. Hot after hit graced the list, even down to the one song I genuinely get pumped for from the patchy The Anti-Mother (‘Robots: 3, Humans: 0‘), and rising as to the heights of the iconic refrain from ‘Creating Something out of Nothing, Only to Destroy It‘, and of course it was only right that Scogin returned to the stage to assist with ‘Memphis Laid To Waste‘, which I stand by as a genuinely scary song from a terrifying album.

For all the mention Scogin gets, it was great to see Cory Brandan as a live entity, rather than from afar or merely on record. This kind of music thrives on performance, and the crowd gave as good as they got, descending into a massive sticky mess by the end. Truly great stuff to see.

There are still a few more dates left on this energetic run, so make sure to head out and see them if you can. Check the poster up top for full details!

– CG

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