LIVE: Underoath / MeWithoutYou @ The Forum, London

By James Davenport

Florida’s Underoath had been dormant for some time until they recently announced their ‘Rebirth’ tour that would consist of them performing both ‘They’re Only Chasing Safety’ and ‘Define The Great Line’ in their entirety. Meet and greet packages were made available as well as an exclusive vinyl re-issue, giving fans a chance to get up close and personal with the band as they either re-live this nostalgic era or are only just discovering the band for the first time.

Support for this tour comes in the form of MeWithoutYou who waste no time in diving straight into their set list for the evening. Without so much as in introduction MWY draw in the eager crowds whilst performing their unique brand of sporadic, indie-punk. During a brief pause between songs, front man Aaron Weiss explains that the band are now in their sixteenth year together which makes their energetic and jolted movements onstage all the more impressive considering how long they’ve been at it. Including elements of math-core, indie, punk, post-rock amongst others you can call MeWithoutYou whatever genre you want but their legacy and influence is undeniable.

The venue is plunged into darkness and momentarily deafened by sonorous sirens before tonight’s headliners Underoath explode into action. The opening lines of ‘Young and Aspiring’ send the attending crowd into a frenzy of excitement and nostalgia. Hanging onto every note and singing back every word it’s not difficult to see why ‘They’re Only Chasing Safety’ arguably spawned an entire sub-genre. As the first half hour of Underoath’s set comes to an end so does this certified gold album. Album closer ‘Some Will Seek Forgiveness’ has often caused some tension due to its overtly Christian lyrics and themes but the band have re-worked the track into a much more experimental wall of noise that abandons the obviously religious lyrical content.

Performing one complete album is in itself an achievement let alone playing two back to back. Before the second half of Underoath’s presentation a screen at the back of the stage is revealed onto which an ambient film is projected. As the film roll begins clicking and a countdown appears there’s a second wave of suspense cast upon the room. The band tear into ‘In Regards to Myself’ maintaining their high energy levels as though this were their first performance of the night. The most noticeable difference in their two sets this evening though comes in the form of lighting. ‘Chasing Safety’ consisted of bright and colourful flashing lights, whereas for the duration of ‘Define The Great Line’, (the darker of the two albums) the band are lit from behind and silhouetted. Whether or not this is intentional just a coincidental semblance, it certainly adds to the atmosphere created by the experimental and artsy film that’s been adopted as the back drop.

As the band work their way through their ground breaking fifth album there are times where it starts to seem as though the band have more energy than the crowd in attendance. From ‘Young and Aspiring’ to the massive crescendo that is ‘To Whom It May Concern’, an approximately eighty-minute set, Underoath never lack energy or vigour for even a second. Despite the ‘Rebirth’ tour being a celebration of ten years since these two albums were released, Underoath are back and still capable of playing these songs with the same conviction as though they were performing them live for the first time. Announcing their return, this is more than just a celebration and the tour couldn’t have been any more aptly named. ‘Rebirth’ by name, ‘Rebirth’ by nature and one that sees Underoath returning at the top of their game, welcome back.