I discovered Beartooth at this years Download Festival and they blew me away. I was thrilled to find out that they were also playing in “The Pit” at Reading Festival last weekend, it was a show that I was not going to miss.
The good thing about music festivals is that you invariably find new bands to love, the downside is that sets are often as short as 30 minutes as festivals attempt to please fans with as wide a range of artists as they can possibly cram in. Such was the case with Beartooth’s set, it was to be a 30 minute set but a set of such energy and intensity that everyone in and around the tent was emotionally drained and exhausted by the end of it.
Some bands are clearly focused around a front man, Morrissey with the Smiths, Robert Smith with the Cure and so it is with Beartooth. Caleb Shomo is a front man like few others. He has a brooding angry intensity that is rarely equaled much less surpassed. Shomo’s lyrics are full of angst, suffering and anguish and he frequently screams his lyrics in the style of the heaviest metal core bands. In my view the presence of rebelliousness and punk style melodies and hooks in most of the songs in Beartooths debut album Disgusting mean that they sit more comfortably within the hardcore punk genre. It is perhaps a moot point and indicative of the current obsession with trying to label bands across far too many genre’s within rock music.
Unsurprisingly all seven songs from their short set came from the debut album. Opening with “The Lines” Shomo proceeded to scream snarl and spit his way through “Relapsing,” “In Between” and “I Have A Problem” but it was when he got to “Dead” that Shomo really showed us what he is capable of. “Beaten In Lips” is one of Beartooth’s more melodic songs, the anthemic chorus lines may be sing-a-long but they do little to challenge the call to arms the song truly is. This is a song with dark and disturbing lyrics, a tale of child abuse, but one that urges the survivor to “keep living loud and proud.”
As Shomo hit “Body Bag” the crowd went absolutely nuts, well even more than they were already. The mosh pit went into an absolute frenzy and the entire crowd screamed back the lyrics “one life, one decision, make sure it ends with you still living.”
Do have a look at the video’s if you are not familiar with Beartooth, they are not from Reading but they do have festival footage which gives you a good idea of the intensity that beartooth create.
Make no mistake, Beartooth are the real deal. Shomo is nothing less than mesmeric as a performer and the band is as tight as a camel’s ass in a sandstorm. Beartooth have come a long way in a short time and on the back of a single album. They have what it takes to become massive. This is a band that will be headlining festivals like Download and Reading in two or three years time if they can maintain their progress.
They have already hit the top five in my list of favourite contemporary rock bands.