Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Yashin With Support From Tantrum To Blind, Every Last Breath and Jody Has A Hitlist - Birmingham Academy 2 - 18-03-12

Well tonight I'm pretty psyched as I get to see some pretty cool bands, including a new Swedish band Called Tantrum To Blind who I’ve had a listen to and sound pretty awesome. It should be a fun night and I can’t wait to get to the venue and get rocking.

Unfortunately it isn’t as simple as that, as I get to the venue and have to deal with allot of hassle, I can't get in straight away to get my photo pass, so I have to queue and unless I was here at 10am with the die-hard fans I'm not going to get in on time to shoot Tantrum To Blind, the band I'm Most excited to see! So I queue, rather begrudgingly, as I’m trying get in to see a band I want to push and promote to you guys, I eventually get in with 5 minutes left and get told I can't take even half a songs worth of photos as I missed the first 3 songs! So I settle in and enjoy the last 3. The band are a female fronted rock band, with punky undertones, the sound isn't the best as I think the sound guys are just warming up, but they jump around the stage and put on a good show and although the guitars sound out, the vocals sound wicked! They are joined on the last song by Yashin vocalist Harry Radford and the band get the biggest cheer so far, the set ends and I'm left wanting more.

Well the next band up is Every Last Breath, they're a heavy rock/screamo band who have a long road ahead of them. They have the basics down, they sound alright just not great, they move around the stage but with not enough energy and they sing ok, but a bit off in the higher parts. I'm sure they can break through and get a decent following if they tour more and work on these minor flaws. Other than that they were ok, nice breakdowns and a gruff scream but I’m left feeling rather disappointed.

 Next Up are Irish pop rockers; Jody Has A Hitlist, they come out to a warm response, it seems like allot of the kids here tonight are here for them. Now they are different from the first two bands, they’d probably better suited supporting You Me At Six or All Time Low than on this tour but I suppose it’s a nice break from the rockiness of the evening with some catchy songs with some keys and sing-a-longs.  The sound is better than the first two bands which makes things better, they take full control of this small stage and definitely work the crowd into a frenzy. They’re catchy, happy and look like there really enjoying being on stage which is great! They play a nice little set and have worked this crowd of young fans into a frenzy! 

Now before I start with Yashin, I want to take a moment talk about the crowd tonight. Normally I go to gigs and joke that I’m the oldest person there, and at 28 I’m not too old, I’m not a cranky middle age reviewer that has been doing this for years and hates going to gigs, I’m a person that still loves seeing bands and trying out different/new styles of music. But tonight I AM the oldest person in the room, and that includes the bands!  The only people who are older are the parents that have settled at the back of the room to make sure they’re young kids are alright. It was crazy, the audience was mainly 14 year old girls all screaming and getting worked up at everything that was happening.  Now I personally don’t understand what dictates the type of audience that a band gets, what age etc. but I totally don’t understand how Yashin have such a young crowd as when I saw them a few months ago supporting Skindred at the Jagermeister gig in Birmingham I thought they were aimed at an older audience, how wrong I was!

The Scottish rockers Yashin appear on stage and the already hyped up crowd go crazy, there is constant screaming and whistling, the noise is so loud that it’s hard to hear the band! But when you do, you understand why the sound has been poor all night, it’s because each band has been using their own kit and the only band that has been checked out properly is Yashin, as it’s their show and you can tell, as they sound great. The levels are tight, the vocals stand out and between the great sound coming from the stage and the high pitched screaming coming from the crowd mixes in the middle to make you feel quite nauseous.  Yashin, are excellent performers, they work the crowd up, they jump around the stage, they play off each other, just as great rock bands do, it’s just a shame they’re not in the main academy as this stage is too small for them.  They perform well, doing songs they’ve been playing for a few years, mainly songs from they’re debut album “Put Your Hands Where I Can See Them” with a few newer ones thrown in.  Unfortunately they don’t do their amazing Britney Spears cover of Everytime which blew me away when I saw them last but they have impressed me, it’s just a shame I feel like the gig was missing something, and I think that the something was; age, I really think that older people should check them out! They’re a great fun band, yes a bit juvenile in parts but they’ve got something to give and I’m sure if you check them out you won’t be disappointed!

Overall tonight has been a mixed bag, it started off slow due to missing most of the band I came here to see, Tantrum To Blind, and the fact they didn’t sound great, due to poor levels. Then it turned worse Every Last Breath not being tight enough, it got different with Jody Has A Hitlist and their poppy style and then finally it ended well with Yashin and their fun stage show.

Tantrum To Blind 3/5

Every Last Breath 2/5

Jody Has A Hitlist 3.5/5

Yashin 4/5

Friday, 16 March 2012

The Presidents of the United States of America - Wolverhampton Wulfrun – 09-03-12 with support from Straight Lines

I’ve always been a massive fan of The Presidents of the United States of America or PUSA as they shall be known for the rest of this review. So when I had the chance to see them for the first time in almost 8 years I jumped at it! I’m normally quite a professional person when it comes to reviewing bands and gigs but tonight I have lots of friends coming along so I let my hair down a little. Unfortunately this meant having to miss the start of Straight Lines set as we were in the pub too long thus meaning I couldn’t get any photo’s which is a shame as I’ve seen them a few times before and they’re always fun to shoot as they really put themselves into they’re music!  Although I missed the start I still caught the majority and I was thoroughly impressed, this band keeps getting better and better. They’re confident on the stage and now demand to be watched; even if the audience tonight isn’t all that keen they’re still getting respect.  Singer Thomas Jenkins says “We know you’re here for PUSA but here to get you warmed up, you may not like us, but if you do please check us out!” which wins over lots of people who are on the edge, as these nice farmers from South Wales have a good rapport which is different from many bands out there at the moment.  Overall they’re rocky emo anthems go down well, people are moving but they’re just not letting themselves go, that task is for PUSA.
There is a nice gap between bands which turns the Wulfrun from a room where everyone has space around them to move and talk into a hot and sweaty pit of people all ready to jump and rock out to PUSA’s unique style of rock which is very basic and very random but utterly enjoyable!  The band come out to strong applause and burst into ‘Rot In The Sun’ which gets the crowd moving up and down. They sound amazing, the vocals are clear and personal, the guitar, bass and drums levels are great and all complement each other. Now when I mentioned that PUSA are basic this is due to their instruments, the bass has only 2 strings and the guitar just 3, meaning that they’re never going to be technically amazing, but what they do with so little is just fantastic. They have guitar and bass solo’s mixed into long drum brakes and you can tell that this band of almost 20 years have just got better with age, they’re masters of the art and also mix in singer’s Chris Ballew’s witty lyrics and great crowd interaction you can’t get better. They play a few more songs including ‘Some Postman’ and ‘Tiki God’ before getting to the main event.
As it has been a few years since PUSA graced our shores, they decided to play their iconic debut self-titled album in full which they do in style, playing all the songs perfectly adding little stories in-between songs, which is great as it gives this hot and sweaty crowd a chance to get their breath back! After ripping through the album they play a few more hits from old and new before leaving the stage to the amazing cover of The Buggles – Video Killed the Radio star, which some people might remember from the Adam Sandler film ‘Wedding Singer’.  The crowd have loved tonight, and aren’t ready to go home just yet, to PUSA come out and play ‘Jenifer’s Jacket’ ‘Nothing But Love’ and ‘More Bad Times’ which breaks into a reprise of ‘Kick Out The Jams’ to end the night in fantastic style! 
Tonight has been great, Straight Lines where good but PUSA where immense, they tore the place down! Everyone went home happy, so if you’ve never heard of PUSA go and check them out now as you’ll love they’re catchiness and hopefully it won’t be too long before they come back!