Thursday, 27 February 2014

Taking Back Sunday – Coventry Kasbah – 23-02-14

It’s been a few years since Taking Back Sunday where last in the UK which was missed in the Tell All Your Friends Anniversary tour, and it’s been almost 10 years since I last saw them myself. I’ve always been a huge fan so tonight I’m excited to get to the relatively random venue of the Coventry Kasbah (which is becoming more popular with bands who do a few shows in the UK and want to play a date outside of London). The venue is a nice if not poorly designed one, with no real sloping floor, making it hard to see the stage from the back of the room. Unfortunately I missed the support acts due to confusion with getting in the venue, but I’m all ready by the time the main act get on stage.


Taking Back Sunday blast onto the stage after a short intro of The Circle Of Life music from the Lion King, and then jump straight into A Decade Under the Influence and take no prisoners in doing so. Singer Adam Lazzara pounces around the stage with his usual swagger and confidant demeanour, as he swoops from one side of the stage to another with the occasional jump and twirl and later in the set he does his trademarked mic swing. The band sound amazing with the guitars, bass and drums all coming over the speakers clear and without distortion, the backing vocals aren’t really loud enough and is clearly noticeable in the second song Liar (It Takes One To Know One), where there’s a lovely overlap of vocals on the record but here it’s muted, but its only really noticeable in this song as all the rest mainly depend on Adams amazing vocal range. The first 4 songs go by in an instant with no pause for a break then, Adam points to a guy in the crowd and says I saw your photo on twitter, you’ve got an awesome tattoo, as he fills the time whilst long time drummer Mark O’Connell fixes a broken snare, which broke away during Timberwolves at New Jersey. This leads them into new track Flicker, Fade which goes down huge, the crowd adore the slower tones and wooshyness of the song, before Adam announces that they’re a long way from home but this gig is awesome, so here’s a song that we haven’t played in England in a long time, before jumping into Bonus Mosh Part 2. By the end of the song Mark has broken yet another snare and so Adam talks to the crowd a bit more, in which people who weren’t paying attention might have though he was having an argument with a crowd member as Adam says “Call me a Mother Fucker again and I’ll pop you over the head with the mic” but it’s all in jest as a crowd member keeps calling for a song to be played over and over. Adam tells the crowd how they were in France the other day, to which the room erupts in boo’s, he says “don’t boo it’s a beautiful place, check it out, I mean where from Carolina so that’s allot of flights and swollen ankles for me where as it’s only a short trip for you guys.  They continue uninterrupted then with What It Feels Like To Be A Ghost, Number Five With A Bullet, Error: Operator and My Blue Heaven before they invite a member of the crowd on stage. Now people in attendance may have thought what happened next was a rushed job, but in fact it took 3 years for the audience member to sort out what turns out to be a proposal for his long term girlfriend, he takes to the mic  “This is for Sophie we've been together 8 years, this bands been around 15 years and means allot to the people here” before popping the question she says yes and they leave the stage, it’s something they won’t forget but something that the audience is probably thinking just took up time where another song could have been, Adam comes back to the mic and says “You two will get up to some crazy shit tonight, this songs for you” before playing You’re So Last Summer. The set continues with Best Places To Be A Mom, One-Eighty By Summer and Beat Up Car, before stopping again to announce that it’s the 3rd snare drum of the night that Mark has broken before getting chants of Animal going. They wrap up the set with Cute Without The E (Cut From The Team) before leaving for the traditional encore, then coming back and playing 3 more; Call Me In The Morning, You Know How I Do and Make Damn Sure.


Overall tonight’s setlist was a greatest hits of sorts with songs covering all but 1 album, it’s a shame for myself that they didn’t do more off Tell All You’re Friends, but I suppose that’s the 18 year old me wanting more from a band that I love when allot of this crowd probably are more interested in the newer stuff than the old, but it’s still an awesome night, with less stage antics that I remembered but with great sounding songs and the same passion and energy that I remember Taking Back Sunday having. I look forward to them coming back soon with their newest album and bigger venues as I’m sure they can take their place at the top of modern rock once more.


TBS 4/5


Tuesday, 18 February 2014

A Day To Remember – Birmingham Academy 1 – 14/2/14 With Support from The Story So Far, Every Time I Die and Mallory Knox

The venue is its normal chaotic self as fans wrestle to get inside as the queue goes all the way round the block. The bill tonight is a huge one, topped by the mighty A Day To Remember, who haven't been on a UK tour in a while but are hot of the back of a massive gig at Alexandra Palace where they filmed a live dvd. The room is bustling and so the first band takes to the stage.


The Story So Far are up first and this band sound like allot like A Day To Remember, heavy flowing riffs, with crunchy vocals, there's no slowdowns and harmonies like there headline counterparts but they're definitely the punky side to them.  The fast circle pit inducing music gets the crowd instantly pumped with sweat already starting to form on many a person’s brow. They sound slightly muffled, but nothing that affects the enjoyment of seeing a punk band shred and growl through a set. They aren't too energetic but they do move about a little, they play a nice 20 minute set that gets over what they’re about, and leaves the crowd pumped for the next act.


Every Time I Die take to the stage and take 5 seconds to blow it up, they are, to me, just noise, but amazing noise, beautiful angry noise. They move around the stage like decapitated chickens whilst thrashing out caterwauling screeches and angst. It’s hard to detect the last song from the next apart from the change in pace, it gets faster and faster as the set progresses with the crowd going crazy in the pits, jumping and moshing as if it was all going to end! This band is the perfect opener as they don't talk too much. They're constantly moving and it’s hard not to move along to their cries of pure passion and rage! They play a twenty minute set and look completely knackered towards the end, they take the time to thank all the bands and take a good look at the beautiful crowd on Valentine’s Day.


Mallory Knox are up next with a more rhythmic and slower take on the rock genre that the band before. They blast onto the stage and get all the teenage girls screaming, they sound great and come across crisp and clear as they blast into the bustling academy. They do a great job of keeping the energy brimming not quite as chaotic as before, but a good sing along vibe never the less. The blokes in the crowd get into the more refined harmonies and clean cut guitars and start moshing their heads along with the girls. By the time the band hits Death Rattle the crowd are all singing along and making themselves heard especially in the oooh oooh oooh part. They do a great job of using the space around them and it’s clear that a year of touring has worked well for them as they seem allot more at ease and work the stage with pride. Again they take little time to talk to the crowd, with the occasional thanks for coming, who's excited for a day to remember. But it’s fine as we get to hear more songs including one that is in progress from their next album. The also play resuscitate from their Pilot EP which gives the show a heavier vibe and still reminds me of Down With The Sickness. They put on a great show and I can’t wait for their next headline tour to come around.


A Day To Remember don’t have to do allot of work as this crowd is already warmed up, and with a nice sing along to System Of A Downs Chop Suey helps the crowd stay ready before they blast onto the stage with All I want, I’m Made Of Wax Larry, What Are You Made Of? And Homesick. Which sets a statement, we’re here to rock out and have fun! And they do, they control the stage and move around the open and bare stage giving everyone a clear view of each member no matter where you are in the crowd, they sound great and are coming across nice and clear with the dynamic vocals of singer Jeremy McKinnon dominating the sound to pure bliss. The rest of the band sound great too, with the heavy guitars and booming bass all whisping together with the ever changing pace of the drums, which add something to this bare stage with their light up LED’s which shine when the lights go down on the stage. These Florida pop-punk/hardcore rockers know how to have fun with the crowd, along with the light up drums, they have blasting confetti cannons, and smoke cannons that blast the crowd and the stage. They also bring the Beach Balls and flood the audience with them during 2nd Sucks and Right Back At It Again. The fans are making the security work with tonnes of them crowd surfing and going crazy, more so than I’ve seen in a long time! The band don’t talk to the crowd to much but that’s because they have a 18 song setlist, to get through which includes songs from all 5 albums, including the latest Common Courtesy, they go to play City Of Ocala as Jeromy says “Were gonna play a new one, whilst we throw some free t-shirts into the crowd!”. They slow things down and ask “Who's seen us before? We thought we’d play some songs people didn't expect, so were doing acoustic songs from our first albums” and go into You Had Me At Hello, If It Means A Lot To You before speeding things up and playing It’s Complicated in which Jeremy gets into a giant Zorb (or hamster ball) and goes out into the crowd for 30 seconds before being unzipped and getting back on stage to finish the song. The sound then took a downward spiral during Mr Highways Thinking about The End, when Jeremy sings “it’s like speaking in tongues” his mic sounds distorted and the guitars are too loud, I’m guessing this is due to switching from acoustic to electric, or even the use of samples, but it puts a dampener on an otherwise impressive set! The sound does get better, but it’s never as good as the start. Before playing Sometimes You’re the Hammer, Sometimes You’re the Nail Jeremy announces “This is the last new song we’re going to play, thanks for all the support during the hard time we had making the album, if it wasn’t for you guys we wouldn’t be a band”. They wrap up the set with Have Fair In Me and The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle, before taking a quick break and coming on to finish the night off with Violence, All Signs Point to Lauderdale and The Downfall of Us All.


Tonight’s gig has been a long one with 4 great bands playing their hearts out. It started with the awesome Story So Far, before getting a heavy twist with Every Time I Die before a sing a long with Mallory Knox and then the main act, A Day To Remember hit the ball out of the park with a stonking set of old and new which got everyone in the building singing and dancing. It’s been 4 years since they were last in Birmingham and we’ve missed them, they put on a great show and know how to work a crowd. Hopefully they’ll be back allot sooner and with the same great songs and stage presence.

Story So Far 3/5

Every Time I Die 3/5

Mallory Knox 4/5

A Day To Remember 4.5/5

The Beards - Birmingham Glee Club - 17-02-14

The Beards - Birmingham Glee Club - 17-02-14The Beards - Birmingham Glee Club - 17-02-14The Beards - Birmingham Glee Club - 17-02-14The Beards - Birmingham Glee Club - 17-02-14The Beards - Birmingham Glee Club - 17-02-14The Beards - Birmingham Glee Club - 17-02-14
The Beards - Birmingham Glee Club - 17-02-14The Beards - Birmingham Glee Club - 17-02-14The Beards - Birmingham Glee Club - 17-02-14The Beards - Birmingham Glee Club - 17-02-14The Beards - Birmingham Glee Club - 17-02-14The Beards - Birmingham Glee Club - 17-02-14
The Beards - Birmingham Glee Club - 17-02-14The Beards - Birmingham Glee Club - 17-02-14The Beards - Birmingham Glee Club - 17-02-14The Beards - Birmingham Glee Club - 17-02-14The Beards - Birmingham Glee Club - 17-02-14The Beards - Birmingham Glee Club - 17-02-14
The Beards - Birmingham Glee Club - 17-02-14The Beards - Birmingham Glee Club - 17-02-14The Beards - Birmingham Glee Club - 17-02-14The Beards - Birmingham Glee Club - 17-02-14The Beards - Birmingham Glee Club - 17-02-14The Beards - Birmingham Glee Club - 17-02-14