LIVE: Beartooth @ O2 Empire, Shepherds Bush

By Christopher Lee

In their relatively short career, Beartooth have taken the rock scene by the scruff of the neck and thrust themselves in to the centre of it all. The band only formed back in 2012 by vocalistĀ Caleb Shomo, but have already supported Slipknot, played Reading & Leeds festival and even toreĀ apart the main stage at Download earlier this year.

We catch the band on their ‘Aggressive’ tour, and the energy in the Shepherds Bush Empire is absolutely electric. The venue is full from wall to wall and as the house lights go down, the crowd scream with excitement. Amidst the dark, the band take to the stage withĀ a brutal opening of ‘Burnout’ that sees the entire venue bouncing.

“It’s so good to be back in London,” Caleb tells us, and he’s got a set of instructions for those in attendance this evening. “At a Beartooth show you will do three things,” he states. “You will jump, you will mosh and you will sing until you have no voice left.” The crowd oblige as ‘Aggressive’ and ‘Beaten In Lips’ see an endless sea of crowd surfers, circle pits and every person in the venue singing back the choruses.

There’s a brief respite as Caleb asks who’s been to a Beartooth show before, which almost half in attendance reply to with a “YEAH!” Caleb points out that there’s a lot of first timers in tonight before reiterating his set of instructions, adding that he wants to see as many crowd surfers as possible. Letting everyone know that by the end of the night they will be covered in sweat from head to toe, Caleb countsĀ the crowd into ‘Dead’, which sees the floor erupt into one giant mosh pit.

Up next is ‘Sick of Me’, which gets its first play in the U.K. on this tour. The crowd sing every word back at the band. ‘Fair Weather Friend’ sees even more crowd surfers, which the security do a great job of catching. Caleb tells the crowd they “look absolutely fucking beautiful,” and just how loud they are before we’re treated to a powerful rendition of ‘Hated’.

It’s been a blistering set so far and everyone is having an amazing night, including the band. We’re all about to get a well earned breather as Caleb exclaims, “Oh my god, it’s safe to say you guys are having fun!” He then gets everyone to take a knee for our own good. It’s nice to see that Caleb cares about all of our wellbeing, but the guys are soon back to it, exploding into ‘The Lines’. We then get an older track, ‘I Have a Problem’, which Caleb dedicates to anyone who was the bands first ever London show at the Barfly in Camden.

‘Always Dead’ sees Caleb instruct the crowd to open up a circle pit thatĀ takes up almost the entire floor of the venue. Up next is ‘Rock Is Dead’, before which Caleb points out Beartooth are not a band thatĀ conform to a specific genre, and are a bit of a loud, exotic mix of everything. The track sees incredible drum and guitar solos, and an epic breakdown which sees the crowd erupt yet again. Caleb tells us that tonight has been one of the best nights of his life before launching in to ‘In Between’, which gets the crowd singing at the top of their lungs.

With that the band depart the stage, leaving the crowd chanting their name andĀ singing the bands biggest hit, ‘Body Bag’. When Caleb eventually comes back, he’s alone, acoustic guitar in hand. “This is our 74th day straight on tour,” he tells us, he then explains that the last couple of years have been his toughest, mentally, and that if anyone is going through pain not to keep it in and talk to somebody. “I’ve got no idea about being a role model, I’m just trying to be the best me and I fucking love you all,” he tells us, giving an emotional performance of ‘King of Anything’, which sees the band join him in stage mid way through and an epic breakdown. The crowd then get what they wished for. The band let loose with a brutal performance of ‘Body Bag’, which sees every person up on their feet and circle pits galore.

It’s been a powerful performance from one of the most exciting bands in recent years, and Beartooth have done this great venue a huge justice in trying to raise it to the ground. Who knows what’s next for the band, but we hope they’ll be back tearing up the UK as soon as possible.