Spiritbox review – Courtney LaPlante has arrived

Last year Spiritbox played two sold-out shows at the O2 Islington Academy and seemed shocked they could completely fill out the room twice over.

This year, they’ve done it again. The Canadian metallers sold out two more shows – this time at London’s Roundhouse in Camden – but this time, they knew what they were getting into.

Frontwoman Courtney LaPlante prowled onto the stage ready for action before cooing into the band’s first track, Rules Of Nine.

The unassuming 20-something crooned through the song’s more tender notes before releasing her demon for its chorus – and that’s how it went through most of Spiritbox’s setlist that evening.

Every subtle, more nuanced vocal note emanated from Courtney like a sea witch lulling her dutiful audience into watching her every move. But once she switched into her Mr Hyde persona, no one was safe.

READ MORE Spiritbox live review: Canada is coming for the UK metal scene

  • Buy Spiritbox – Eternal Blue here.

This was most evident during tracks such as Circle With Me and Holy Roller (of course) where her guttural vocals rivalled (and even surpassed) the performances of some of the scene’s biggest and best singers. And she made it look effortless, with a stunning technique that proved she has a right to stand on any stage that’ll have her.

Courtney proved this tenfold during Yellow Jacket, which included a surprise appearance from Architects’ Sam Carter.

Sam needs no introduction, and the crowd’s reaction showed just how loved he is in the scene – but his arrival was more of a bonus than a feature of the evening. Some guest appearances at live shows can overtake the intimacy and special connection the band have with their audience, but Sam loyally arrived, delivered an incredible performance, and bowed out. He knew Spiritbox were the attraction tonight, and he respected it. Fair play, Sam.

Can you blame him, though? It was hard to argue with Spiritbox’s prowess throughout the night. Band members Mike Stringer, Zev Rose and Josh Gilbert were on top form; geniuses at work creating stunning soundscapes with just their few instruments.

Weirdly, coming away from Spiritbox’s monumental performance at Roundhouse, that was the only thing I wanted more from the band: more depth.

With one guitar, a bass, and a drum kit, Spiritbox felt oddly stripped back during their quieter moments. That isn’t to say it sounded bad in any way – quite the contrary – but their phenomenal musical repertoire didn’t pack quite as much punch as they always do on record.

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Spiritbox created an entire experience at the Roundhouse. Stunning visuals silhouetted Courtney with lyrics plastering the walls, sparks, flames, confetti, and explosive pyrotechnics which actually added to the experience (rather than looking like a tacky add-on). But, between it all, there could have been more power behind the musicality. Another guitar would have gone a long way to truly thicken out Spiritbox’s overall sonic experience.

With that said, Courtney needed no help on that stage. When she fronted the band at the Islington Academy in June last year, she played a powerful show. This time around, she delivered a performance; captivating her audience (and they were /hers/) with one of the most enchanting and enrapturing stage presences I’ve ever seen in the flesh.

Spiritbox have exploded in popularity over the past year – and it’s extremely easy to see why. They are going to continue growing, and their next album has some big shoes to fill if it’s going to come anywhere near their live performances.

  • Buy Spiritbox – Eternal Blue here.

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