The Battle of the Bays tour was announced during the Summer earlier this year with a very promising line-up. Exodus embarked on a tour with death metal giants Obituary, thrash-hardcore innovators Prong and Australian punk-hardcore newcomers King Parrot.
As much as Exodus and Obituary don’t need any introduction, their support bands Prong and King Parrot might do. The night’s opening act was King Parrot, who, despite their odd name, were pretty convincing. Sweaty, energetic, in-your-face punk attitude worked on the crowd, which was a bit surprising as the opening act hardly gets any attention. The band was only formed in 2010 but they are already out with two albums, Bite Your Head Off (2012) and Dead Set (2015).
Prong has been involved in the heavy metal scene for decades despite having many member changes. This powerful three-piece whipped up the crowd even more. By the time of their set I had to position myself carefully so I could see and listen to them, but at the same time be able to get a pint without much of a struggle. Their set was mostly about their latest release X (No Absolutes) and one of their best releases, Cleansing. Short and solid set that prepared us for the heavyweights.
Exodus and Obituary are undoubtedly heavyweights in their respective genres. It doesn’t matter if it’s an intimate club or big festival stage, as soon as Exodus steps on stage, chaos runs wild. Their live performances are never disappointing but I must say, there are no surprises either. You know what you sign up for and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. No complaints from the crowd as all I saw was moshpits and crowdsurfers who kept the security busy. ’Blood In, Blood Out’, ’Toxic Waltz’, ’Blacklist’ and ’And Then There Were None’ are just a few highlights of their set. Steve “Zetro” Souza is a charismatic frontman leading the crowd in fist-bumping, headbanging havoc.
Exodus’ set was a hard act to follow but Obituary were up for the task. Again, nothing we haven’t heard or seen before but we didn’t come to see the pioneers of Florida death metal for anything else than old school death metal. Obituary’s set was more about their debut album, Slowly We Rot than focusing on more recent material, however, ‘Ten Thousand Ways To Die’ was a must. There was no messing around. John Tardy and his comrades went on stage, did what they do best. Destroy. And we couldn’t be happier.
At the birthplace of metal, Birmingham we witnessed a great battle of bands, where there were no losers.
All live photography by Vivien Varga.