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Spiritbox @ Patronaat, Haarlem 2023

CONCERT REVIEW: Spiritbox (Holy) Rolls Through Haarlem For Sold-Out Show

After playing a lot of festivals in Europe, it was time for Spiritbox to play some headliner shows, from which two of them were in The Netherlands. The first of those two shows was in a sold-out Patronaat in Haarlem, with the second one taking place the day after in Eindhoven, where the band will play in front of yet another sold-out crowd in Effenaar.

Still riding the wave of their popular release Eternal Blue, Spiritbox have only built on it with the releases of their 2022 EP Rotoscope and the brand new single The Void, which has also garnered significant attention and praise. Now before we get into the actual show, I do want to note that the merch was very expensive, with t-shirts costing 40 euros, something we generally only see in big arenas from bands like KISS and Slipknot. I am fairly certain this is not due to the band itself, but due to the rising expenses for touring the globe and Europe specifically, but it is getting a bit out of hand. In today’s rapidly changing world, the rising expenses for touring and live events have become a significant challenge for both artists and fans.

Now onto better and brighter things, the actual show itself. Spiritbox are an exceptional live band and delivered live renditions of songs that only added to the studio versions, showcasing the band’s impeccable musicianship and skill. One of the things that instantly stood out was, not only was Courtney LaPlante’s voice impeccable, as her range effortlessly transitioned from hauntingly beautiful melodies to guttural growls, showcasing her incredible vocal prowess, bassist and backup vocalist Josh Gilbert also displayed impressive talent and harmonized vocals that really added depth to the performance.

The visual production of the show was equally impressive, enhancing the immersive experience. The interplay of vibrant lights, albeit a bit bright, blinding some fans who had a light directed at their face, and the band’s intense stage presence added another layer of depth to the performance, further immersing the audience in the world of Eternal Blue.

Throughout the evening, Spiritbox masterfully weaved together tracks from Eternal Blue, combined with 2 songs from Rotoscope: Rotoscope and Hysteria, the older track Rule of Nines and the brand new The Void. Each song was a sonic tapestry that showcased their growth as artists. The dynamic shifts within songs like the fan favourite heavy-hitter Holy Roller to the more calm and serene Secret Garden were executed flawlessly, leaving the crowd in awe of the band’s ability to seamlessly transition between heavy, atmospheric, and melodic passages.

Throughout the set, LaPlante chatted with the crowd, saying she was happy to be playing a headliner show instead of a festival tonight, as festival sets don’t leave a lot of room for chatter. This interaction with the audience created a sense of intimacy and connection between the band and their fans, fostering a memorable and personal experience for everyone present. With the immense growth that the band is currently enjoying, this intimate setting could soon be replaced by semi-arena shows with higher production value.

One standout moment was the emotionally charged performance of Constance, which lyrically weights heavy on the soul, but as LaPlante shared, having played it in front of so many crowds, and seeing the joyful reaction to it, the performance of it has turned into a cathartic and joyous occasion. The hauntingly beautiful ballad took on a whole new level of intensity when performed live and gave the fans a breather from the heavy songs that preceded it.

Spiritbox have been on the rise ever since the release of Holy Roller and seeing them live makes you understand why they have garnered such a devoted fanbase. The songs are stellar and the live performance captures the essence and energy of their music in a way that transcends simply listening to their tracks. Seeing Spiritbox should be on your bucket list if you haven’t seen them already. Check out some photos from the performance in the gallery below.

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Glenn van den Bosch