LIVE: Underoath / Parting Gift @ Electric Ballroom, Camden

By Adam Rosario

Since they reformed in 2015, Underoath playing live in the UK has been a rarity, with the band citing cost as the primary reason. When they have made it over the pond, though – usually for festivals and warm up shows – they’ve been lauded as being at the top of their game. Tonight is no exception.

Opening proceedings are Parting Gift, who blend atmospheric rock with fuzzy electronics and a deep message in their lyrics. They’re a band on the up and manage to fit seven songs into their half hour support slot, with very little interaction between band and crowd. In fact, they don’t even tell the audience who they are but their songs do the talking for them. Front man Zac Vernon has taken influence from his previous role as the front man for Holding Absence, and it is telling; whether it’s ‘Without Sin’ or ‘Vein’, his vocals soar and fill the venue with ease. Parting Gift are definitely a band to look out for, and with some big festival sets to come, they’re about to make themselves a lot of new fans.

The night, however, belongs to Underoath. Having flown in from America at 7am on the morning of the show, the band absolutely smash their hour long set. Opening on a double punch from their latest album ‘Erase Me’ sees ‘On My Teeth’ and ‘Rapture’ cause carnage in the Ballroom, while ‘On My Teeth’ with its venomous verses, and ‘Rapture’ with its wall of industrial synths setting the tone for the evening. Spencer Chamberlain leads the procession, stalking around the stage, with high energy and vocals to kill for. He is every bit the front man of Underoath and, having put his numerous issues behind him, has evolved into a massive live presence. 

Aaron Gillespie slams his drum kit as hard as he can throughout the course of the night, his clean vocals intertwining with Chamberlain’s screams to great effect. Tonight sees a lot of ‘Erase Me’ aired, but it’s the older material that elicits the biggest reactions. ‘The Blue Note’, ‘It’s Dangerous Business’ and ‘Young and Aspiring’ as a three song run really shows the strength of the discography the band have put together in their history. 

The band create an incredible canvas of sound for Chamberlain to paint with his vocals, seamlessly transitioning from singing to screams, he’s captivating to watch. The highlight of the set proves to be ‘A Boy Brushed Red Living In Black and White’, from the first album to feature Chamberlain on vocals. Despite being 15 years old now, it still gets the biggest reaction from the crowd of the evening. After ‘In Regards To Myself’, Chamberlain picks out a fan who has flown all the way over from Brazil for the show and dedicates ‘Too Bright To See, Too Loud To Hear’ to them. This is the dedication that this band brings out in people. 

Closing on ‘Sink With You’ and the classic ‘Writing On the Walls’, Underoath bring an hour long emotional rollercoaster to a close. Watching this band really brings the question of “why aren’t they playing bigger venues than the Ballroom?” The performance was worthy of a bigger venue, and if this was Underoath performing whilst suffering from jet lag, how good are they when they’re fighting fit and ready to go? Download Festival is in for a treat.