Monday, 21 February 2011

Kerrang Relentless Tour - Good Charlotte, Four Year Strong, Framing Hanley, The Wonder Years - Birmingham 02 Academy 18-02-11

I arrive at the venue early for an interview with Good Charlotte only to find massive ques already with people even lying down on pillows, wrapped up in blankets. God knows how long they've been there, but it just shows how much tonight's bands mean, to allot of people. With this in mind I'm ready to check out the bands and how they handle performing to a eager and excited crowd.

First up is The Wonder Years, a pop punk band that are only playing for fifteen minutes to get the crowd warmed up and to get their name out there. They're a bouncy and fun and engage the audience which keeps their set nice and fun. They put on a good energetic show, and the building is hot and alive so for a short set they do their job and I'm sure allot of the crowd will check them out afterwards.

Up next are Nashville alt rockers Framing Hanley, who come onto the stage and get the crowd pumped straight away with their infamous cover of Lil Wayne's 'Lollipop'. They sound great with nice flowing bass, rhythmic guitars and stunning vocals. They rock the stage with lots of jumping around and movement, they definitely aren't short of energy. Part way through their set singer Kenneth Nixon says "It Smells Like Sweaty Balls up here" and I'd have to agree, the academy is so hot tonight, and this is definitely due to the crowd's energy as they just don't stop! Framing Hanley do a nice set of all their major songs including 'Stupid Girl' and 'War Zone'.

Four Year Strong take to the stage next, looking rather beardy and ready to rock. The band are definitely punk and remind me of Reggie And The Full Effect. They have great vocals with nearly all members joining in, and keyboardist Josh Lyford switches between standing behind the synths and jumping all over the stage depending on songs. Unfortunately this switch between synth really makes no difference as you cannot hear it at all due to the pure bass heavy sound the band are producing. They play 'It Must Really Suck to Be Four Year Strong Right Now' and the crowd go mental with almost constant crowd surfing till the end of their set. They give and open invite during their final track 'Wasting Time' for people to come up and join them, and even though their are tonnes of crowd surfers no-one manages to get on stage. Overall they played a great set and the crowd are definitely into them but for me I proffered Framing Hanley and think that they should have been where Four Year Strong are on the bill, but I'm sure that most of the people in the academy would disagree with me.

Finally the main act of the night are ready to come out on stage and finish the crowd off in style. DC pop punkers Good Charlotte fly onto the stage into modern day classic 'The Anthem' which is followed by the hit single 'Girls and Boys' and then into 'My Bloody Valentine' which is a great way to start a gig. Good Charlotte know how to work a crowd, and engage in great banter in between every 3 or 4 songs, with brothers Benji and Joel playing of each other. Joel sings part of The Smiths classic Panic, to link into his shout of "hello Birmingham" they say how thank-full they are for the crowd coming out and supporting all the artists and that if you ever see and band and they don't say they are thank-full for people coming and supporting them then they are not worth paying money for. GC rock into one of their newer tracks 'Silver Screen Romance' and tear the place down,they sound amazing, with each instrument sounding flawless, each member of the band moves round the stage all night so all the crowd can see them. The crowd are having fun and one of the great things about GC is the fact they have fun, you can clearly see they love being on stage and they love performing the songs, they're funny and know how to get a crowd jumping. They play for almost an hour and a half which considering there where four bands on tonight shows just how much GC love what they do, as they've put so much effort into keeping the crowd happy. They play a great set with songs from all 5 of their albums, including a cover of Blink 182's Dammit along with their ten year old track Little Things which the crowd lap up as if it was brand new. They don't leave the stage and do an encore as they make sure the crowd get as much of them as possible.

A great night is definitely had by all in attendance, four great bands have given everyone a great time. Good Charlotte are definitely worthy of being headliners and I would recommend that everyone go and see them when they come back later in the year, as I know allot of people may think they're cheesy pop punk but they put they're all into every second of their performance and this makes for one hell of a show.

Wonder Years 3.5/5

Framing Hanley 4/5

Four Year Strong 4/5

Good Charlotte 5/5

Saturday, 5 February 2011

A Day To Remember - Birmingham Academy 1 - 2/2/11 - with support from Pierce The Veil and Bayside

Its a cold damp evening in Birmingham, but that hasn't stopped people coming out in mass to the O2 Academy. There's a headliner on at each academy but for once the security seem to be getting people in quick and they need too as San Diego post-hardcore band Pierce The Veil are due on stage any second.

Pierce The Veil come running on stage jumping around full of energy, the crowd get straight into them as they are all ready to enjoy this night of punk and metal. The sound is pretty off but this is due to the set up and not the band, as the levels are clearly out. The singer 'Vic Fuentes' keeps the crowd entertained and even joins them during one of their tracks, the guitarists jump around in synchronized moves and the drummer is great, playing hard fast rhythms. The band rap up their set with the single 'Caraphernelia' which means they are joined by ADTR's vocalist Jeremy McKinnon which gives the crowd a taste of what else is to come tonight.

Next on is Bayside a punky 4-piece from New York. The band are another high energy fast paced band with ripping solo's and heavy bass. Unfortunately the sound was still off but this doesn't stop every ones fun. The sound is very basic, but it is broken up with nice little drum beats and solo's that make the band more interesting. Bayside are good but I think they should have opened up tonight as they just help pass time before ADTR appear on stage.

The building is a sell out, but I've been to sell out gigs here before and they have never felt as busy as it does tonight. I pop out for my guilty pleasure of a cigarette between bands and find out how busy the academy is, I spot lots of people sneaking in from the balcony section to the standing section and I'm informed that people have paid touts £50 on the door just to get into the balcony so people are trying their hardest to get into the mix.

I arrive back into the main room to find the stage covered by curtains hiding ADTR's stage set up, the lights go down and the curtains open to reveal a knock out of a stage, which is decorated with big punch bags and ramps round the drums. The band line up on stage and a big bang is heard as confetti cannons fire up confetti into the crowd and immediately the Florida rockers kick into their unique style of pop-punk metalcore. The massive crowd go crazy and the band blast into tracks from their new album "What Separates You From Me".

ADTR are the most energetic band of the night and that says something about how much enjoy playing to people, they don't seem to be able to stand still as they run around the ramps and keep changing mics. They're stage show is great and they even brake up tracks by blasting clouds of gas up on the front of stage. Jeremy McKinnon interacts with the crowd well and tells the audience "Birmingham is definitely the warmest show on the tour, so that means your rocking the hardest" they then keep up the pace by playing some heavy tracks from the last two albums.

They're setlist is great and mixes all 4 albums really but they keep the crowd happy by playing most of their third album Homesick. The crowd love it and toilet rolls are flying all over the place. The band rap up their main set with 'You Should Have Killed Me When You Had The Chance' but the song has a few sound issues with the music cutting out but unlike the first two bands this is their first and only problem.

Jeremy and guitarist Keven Skaff come back on stage and slow things down with and acoustic number of 'If It Means A Lot To you' which is a great calm before the storm as they kick into they're big finale of 'The Downfall Of Us All' going into 'The Plot To Bomb The Pan Handle'. ADTR go down great and everyone has had a great night. All Bands where enjoyable and A Day To Remember cement the fact that they're getting stronger and stronger and they'll definitely be around for a long time to come.

Pierce The Veil - 4/5

Bayside - 3.5/5

ADTR - 5/5