Life of Agony @ Institute, Birmingham – Friday 22 September 2017


Life’s hard enough without a curfew…

A tale of woe and wonder by Jason Guest…

There’s a curfew. On a Friday night. For a gig. A curfew. LOA appear on stage at 8.30. Well, good. Because all us adults’ve all got to be home by 10pm or mommy and daddy will be annoyed and we’d probably end up grounded again if there wasn’t a curfew. A curfew. Yes, really.

Taking in 6 tracks from the band 1993’s River Runs Red, Life of Agony open with ‘River Runs Red’ and the crowd are immediately into it, Mina Caputo owning the stage and carrying us through the classics ‘This Time’ and ‘Method of Groove’. ‘Love To Let You Down’ and ‘Lost at 22’ are up next, and the band are flawless in their delivery, the energy of the room continuing to rise with every hammered beat and every heavy hardcore riff. With ‘Weeds’, ‘A Place Where There’s No More Pain’ (the title track of their magnificent latest album) and ‘Other Side Of The River’, Caputo and co. shift into the more melodic/melancholic material from their discography, the crowd hanging on every word.

‘Bad Seed’ and ‘I Regret’ are both colossal, and ‘Dead Speak Kindly’ and ‘World Gone Mad’ – both from latest album A Place Where There’s No More Pain – are as heavy and potent as anything they’ve released thus far. A few minutes set aside so that Mina, after being called a MILF, can take the piss out of the British accent – all in good humour of course, and we are back into it with ‘Through And Through’ and closing track ‘Underground’.

65 minutes might be considered too short a show for some. But when you’ve got a discography like Life of Agony have to draw a set list from, you can do little wrong. And LOA’s 65 minutes was tighter, more compact and hit harder than a clenched fist in an underground boxing match. Despite – perhaps even in the face of – all that Life of Agony have gone through in their 28-year career, they are more powerful than ever. And live, they kill it. Now that they’re signed to Napalm Records, let’s hope that with a label that knows how to look after them, we’ll hear more from LOA in the near future. Anyway, got to go. Don’t want to be grounded again, do we?

Life of Agony 2017
Photo by Tim Tronckoe

Set List:

  1. River Runs Red
  2. This Time
  3. Method Of Groove
  4. Love To Let You Down
  5. Lost At 22
  6. Weeds
  7. A Place Where There’s No More Pain
  8. Other Side Of The River
  9. Bad Seed
  10. I Regret
  11. Dead Speak Kindly
  12. World Gone Mad
  13. Through And Through
  14. Underground