Spiritbox + Caskets + Vexed @ O2 Academy Islington, London

Spread the metal:

Spiritbox + Caskets + Vexed

@O2 Academy Islington, London

June 14th 2022

Review and Photos by Rebecca Bush

As I arrive at tonight’s venue I am greeted with queues around the block, which is hardly surprising: the line-up is a real scorcher – three super exciting bands blazing exciting new paths in the scene.

First up and tasked with getting the crowd warmed up are Vexed, a four piece from the home county of Hertfordshire. These guys don’t warm up the place, they light a fire under it!

Blasting through the air are the guttural, powerful vocals of Megan Target. An absolute force of nature, she brings a performance that is pure energy no holds barred!! Supported by huge hefty riffs and shattering drums, she takes the vocals to some truly impressive places.

The whole band fully commit themselves to this performance and it’s awe-inspiring to watch them keep the energy level at full throttle throughout.

The crowd are here for it too: the energy is infectious and it’s brilliant to see them so well received. It’s always tricky being the opener but this could have just as easily been their own headline show tonight.

If there was anyone who hadn’t heard of the band in the crowd tonight they were definitely won over, arms and voices were raised for them across the room!! Look out for this band, they are going places for sure and you definitely want to be along for the ride.

Next up are Leeds-based metallers Caskets. Comprising of Matt Flood (vocals), James Lazenby (drums) Craig Robinson and Benji Wilson (guitars), and Chris McIntosh (bass), the five-piece come on to another excited response from the crowd and it’s immediately obvious why.

They bring the second high energy performance of the night and keep the mood of the room well and truly high. This band are explosive on stage, fully connected to the crowd and each other, taking time to interact when not leaping around making the stage their own.

Singer Matt Flood gives an incredibly dynamic and sharp vocal performance that really powers through the already exciting combo of catchy hooks and charging drums and elevates it all. Caskets are definitely ones to watch, with a bright future ahead of them.

There is such a huge buzz around tonight’s headliners, Spiritbox: they have been eagerly awaited on our shores for two years, having had to postpone their debut over here due to Covid. Fresh from a massively triumphant performance at Download they are here at the O2 Islington for two nights, and this is the second.

They went so hard last night that frontwoman Courtney LaPlante sprained her ankle, but tonight she says, ”you’ll notice I’m not moving around as much…but it’s alright cos you guys are putting on a show for me!” The crowd goes absolutely crazy for every single note and they bring a blistering set. Despite her injury, Courtney is fully immersed in her performance and delivers immaculate vocals.

Her clean vocal tone is beautiful and the power and depth of the roars is perfect. She proves that even without the physical activity she can give a beguiling and emotional performance and she is right about the crowd as every song is echoed back at her word for word.

The energy is the most excitable and palpable I’ve felt at a show for a long time. It’s like a hive mind of voices and it has the hairs on the back of my neck standing up on end! The band couldn’t have asked for a warmer welcome and Courtney says that they feel at home having spent two nights with us.

Just when we thought they couldn’t give more, about two thirds of the way into the set they announce a special guest, a young girl aged 10 who performed one of their songs on AGT!! Harper (thatyellaharper on Instagram) comes out and absolutely smashes ‘Holy Roller’ together with Courtney. It’s a mind blowing and sweet moment and such a credit to the band that they have inspired a young performer and are encouraging her and her dream of being a singer.

To have made such an impact when they themselves are relatively new speaks volumes about what they bring to the table. It certainly wont be long before they are headlining arenas and stadiums I have absolutely no doubt that they will continue to thrive. I for one am definitely down for this journey!! Can’t wait to see more from these guys – what a night!!