Concert review: Knocked Loose w/ Speed, Show Me the Body, and Loathe | 05.21.24, The Pageant (with photo gallery)

Photo of Bryan Garris of Knocked Loose by Jen Ruff

Knocked Loose MOTHERRRRR…ouch.

One of my favorite things about a Knocked Loose show are the tales of battle scars. I love to hear them and share my friends’ injuries but, approaching my big five-oh this year, I play crowds safe and appreciate performances for the production and wholeness of the experience. And then it happened. On the way to the venue approaching the box office quickly at the sold-out Pageant, my crocs defied me. I faceplanted to the concrete in front of a bunch of people I knew were laughing. To be fair, so was I. All scraped up with a now healing sprained finger, I’m calling it my battle scar. My very own.

Inside the venue, it was so electric already and the crowd was showing the capacity prior to the opener—usually a crowd sort of trickles into a venue until the headliner, but not this night. From Speed’s opener, the show was in full movement front to back and top to bottom. These fans were warming up knowing although the night just started; they had to be battle-ready in a limited time frame. It was Speed’s first STL visit, but there’s no way it won’t be a staple on their tours to come as it felt like a beloved local act from the start. Coming from Australia, this five-piece hardcore punk band came to show out and they did.

Show Me the Body were already on a return trip to STL, at one point acknowledging their prior visit to local venue the Sinkhole. They’re the very first heavy band I’ve ever seen rocking a banjo throughout the set. Although their flavor was a bit different compared to the other bands on the bill, they came with some hard music and kept the crowd ready. The NY-based post hardcore band started the set with a spoken word piece and gradually gave the crowd that energy needed to match the hype crowd.

Loathe could headline a show here. The band is from Liverpool, England, but they brought everything they could. There was so much passion in vocalist Kadeem France’s performance; he made an appearance during Speed’s set and he’d also come out with the headliners. Guitarist Erik Bickerstaffe, bassist Feisal El-Khazragi, and drummer Sean Radcliffe are all masters at their craft. The reception for them was very high-spirited and high-energy until the show stopped mid-set. I couldn’t tell if someone was hurt or if there was a fight, but it was a 15-20 minute break with everyone concerned for the situation and show itself. Whatever the issue was became resolved and the band gave us a few more songs and then the greatest pause.

If you’ve never seen a hardcore band headline a midsized venue that’s absolutely packed, there’s a surge in the air as a big banner drops to hide the set design until it’s showtime. From above, I observed crowd dance-offs including one male jump into another man’s arms a la Dirty Dancing’s epic final move and then being held there like Simba in the Lion King. At some shows that moment could’ve been THE moment I’d mentally tag as the standout memory, but there’s my aforementioned injury that I’ll cling to.

Finally, that façade of the curtain drop and it’s like the flag going down at a raceway only now as an indicator like it’s time to MOVE. Yourself, your neighbor, whomever—just fucking move. Most bands tour in support of a current or recently released album cycle and this is no exception. However these are not new songs to fans, as the bands most current are dominating the top streams on Spotify and Apple Music. You Won’t Go Before You’re Supposed To is absolutely a masterpiece delivering around 3-5 million streams so far for a just-released album. Nothing short of mind numbing.

Vocalist Bryan Garris isn’t a big talker outside of commands to move, jump, up—one word commands that his fans obey. Every microphone extended the crowd’s way was met with the lyrics. Not one human was confused as to their role. Sixteen songs in total—starting with the first release from YWGBYST, “Blinding Faith”—in only an hour and six minutes, which really speaks to the craftsmen that Knocked Loose have become. This year, they solidified a major dream for any band: to be direct support for Slipknot as they complete shows which celebrate their 25-year career thus far. Not band for some good old Kentucky fellas. Crushing through fan favorite essentials like “Mistakes Like Fractures,” “Billy No Mates,” and “Counting Worms,” you couldn’t be a casual observer and pick out songs from the new record. I feel that’s what endears this band to their fans. There’s no fluff, no bullshit. Sixty six minutes of the opportunity to forget everything in life and just connect. That’s what fans want. That’s what Knocked Loose delivers. Flawless. | Diane Ruff

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