Live: PARKWAY DRIVE // Alexandra Palace, London
Fire, fire, and more fire. Parkway Drive’s biggest headline show to date will be one to remember for a long time.
Australian metal musicians Parkway Drive have long been famed for their incendiary live shows, but last Saturday, they really notched things to another level with their biggest headline show to date.
Incorporating insane amounts of pyro (we’re not sure how they quite worked out health and safety with that), violinists, cellists, and a molotov cocktail, the band pulled out all the stops, transforming their live gigs far beyond a musical experience. Completely packing out the acclaimed Alexandra Palace, the glee was evident on the band’s face as vocalist Winston McCall told the crowd that this was their biggest headline show to date.
The evening began with the most dramatic entrance we’ve ever seen; the band paraded through the crowd, guided by fire-bearers whilst more plumes of fire went off alongside the beat. The cheer as the band entered the venue intensified as they reached the stage, and as the lights dimmed for the beginning of Wishing Wells, the tension built up from the entrance was finally given a platform to be let loose in the form of a shattering performance, where every pain that marked the opening of Reverence was given the heart-wrenching performance that it deserved.
The rousing Prey started off the first mosh pits of the night, as thrilling riffs took over and a belting chorus got everyone jumping along. There truly is nothing quite like 10,000 people screaming ‘Prey, we are all prey for the sorrow’ in a cacophonous chorus.
It’s clear that the infectious energy of the crowd only drives the band to deliver more, as Winston beckons “Send out all of your crowdsurfers” before diving into Carrion, a long-time fan favourite since it was released in 2009. Vice Grip, with its reaffirming and rousing lyrics, sends more fans over the barrier whilst The Void thrills and dazzles with fireworks streaming down. The melodramatic Cemetery Bloom brings a whole host of chills as Winston delivers a performance filled with menace and command. A shattering performance of Dedicated shows off Ben Gordon’s prowess on the kit, as blast beats send a wave of energy rippling through, and the guttural growls of the bass in Absolute Power build to a climatic charge of uncontainable spirit.
Bringing a group of live violinists and cellists for Shadow Boxing and Wild Eyes, every dramatic flourish is fleshed out to the max, whilst the end of the main set concludes with a heart-wrenching performance of The Colour Of Leaving which sees Winston and a live cellist performing in the middle of the crowd, with a single spotlight illuminating the duo.
Despite the deep impact of The Colour Of Leaving, this isn’t a band to leave without a grand statement, and that’s exactly what they brought out for the two-song encore. Returning to the stage, Winston sets fire to a bottle, creating a molotov cocktail before hurling it at a pyro set-up, creating an explosion that engulfs the stage in flames that sets the scene for Crushed. And just when you thought they couldn’t bring out more fire, finale Bottom Feeder pulls out every stop with flashing lights, balls of fire and fireworks. It’s the ultimate end to an unforgettable night, and this is a band that never ceases to amaze with their live production, becoming bigger and better with every performance. The future of metal is in very safe hands indeed by the looks of Saturday night.
Photos: Athena Kam