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Spiritbox’s Debut UK Headline Show Was An Astonishing Display From A Band About To Go Stratospheric

Jack Rogers
Jack Rogers 14 June 2022 at 12.17

It's been a long time coming, but Spiritbox have finally played a headline show in the UK. Taking to the stage at London's Islington Academy, this is why it was not just a monumental moment for them but for all who were there to witness it.

There are moments we experience that we know we will be talking about for years to come. Things that stick with us and live in the back of our minds, creeping back into our psyche every now and then and transporting us back to how unrestrained we felt watching literal magic take place. They are the things that make us, shape us and ultimately define us, reminding us of how beautiful, powerful and limitless life can be. 

And Spiritbox produced two of these moments in the space of two days. 

Still coming down from their first ever UK performance at Download Festival on Sunday, a set that sent ripples throughout the site, the band took to the stage at London's Islington Academy for their first ever UK headline show a day later. These are milestones that, in other circumstances, would have taken place years ago, with the band being on UK soil back in March 2020, ready to show who they are before having to go home as the world shut down. But then, without the way the last two years have been, perhaps we wouldn't have been able to share these special moments now. For all the frustration, uncertainty and doubt of the past 24 months, the catharsis and emotion of finally being able to do what they were destined to do feels even more palpable. 

And they genuinely feel fucking unstoppable right now.

For a band that, in the grand scheme of things, has just less than half a century of shows under their belt, tonight feels like Spiritbox have been doing this for absolutely years. Despite their stratospheric success in the build-up to all of this, it's clear how much Courtney LaPlante and Mike Stringer still felt like they had to prove themselves and show that they still needed to cut their teeth on as many stages as possible. But the moment that opening belter 'Circle With Me' hits you, it's clear how much that sentiment has paid off. Flawlessly tight, spine-tinglingly heavy and wholly powerful, it's hard not to feel a little bit choked up. 

That choked-up feeling lingers as colossal moment after colossal moment follows. 'Hurt You' is all the more brutal and bouncy when performed live, and 'Rule Of Nines' is a terrifically technical opus, every chug delivered to perfection. And everywhere you look on the stage, there is something to behold. There's drummer Zev Rose's impeccably effortless rhythm, and bassist Josh Gilbert is slotting into his role with passion and prowess. And then there is Mike, focused and ferocious, and Courtney, commanding, captivating, vulnerable and humble all at the same time, finally getting the chance to see their creation come to life before their eyes. It's clear just how special that is to all of them and is a joy to behold. 

And those creations, from the stunning 'Halcyon' to the tear-stained 'Constance', the towering 'Secret Garden' to the expansive 'The Mara Effect. Pt. 3' are received with rapturous and raw devotion. Every emotion delivered, from crushing heartbreak to unrelenting power, is felt deep in the chest of everybody in attendance. From the swell of the pit at the front to the arms raised in total devotion at the back, there isn't a single soul in this room that isn't grateful to be here to witness this. 
And then, if that wasn't enough for you, there is the small matter of 'Holy Roller' inciting even more chaos than was already present and making sure any remaining hairs on the back of your neck were now standing to attention. Rounding things off with 'Eternal Blue' and 'Belcarra' and letting the curtain fall on one of the most brutal, beautiful and breathless shows this room has ever seen, there is a moment to take stock of what has taken place.

After all of the plaudits aimed their way over the last two years, the expectation to deliver tonight must have been immeasurable for Spiritbox. But instead of letting it get to them, they took whatever pressure was weighing on their shoulders and produced some truly extraordinary diamonds. Proving exactly why they are such an exciting prospect in the world of heavy music, and then taking things to a whole other level of awe-inspiring brilliance, this is still only the beginning of something that feels absolutely out of this world. And they are only going to get more enchanting from here as well.

We will be talking about these moments for years.

Spiritbox is a band that we will be talking about for years. 

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