Live

LIVE: You Me At Six @ The Roadhouse, Manchester (10/09/2009)

Date: September 10th, 2009
Venue: The Roadhouse, Manchester
Support: Not Advised, Me Vs. Hero
Website: None available
MySpace: www.myspace.com/youmeatsix

Rating:

It wasn’t too long ago when You Me At Six were only just able to fill up small clubs like The Roadhouse, but nowadays things have blown to the scale of the 5-piece filling out much larger venues with ease. This small intimate shows tour sees the band selling out the venue is just 3 minutes! This is a sign for one hell of a messy night, and one just for the fans.

Openers Not Advised (***) don’t really kick off things to a great start, getting very small energy reactions from the crowd before them despite their constant shout outs for a bit of jumping here and there. Regardless, they manage to set the right tone with their melodic and inviting pop-punk prowess to an audience clearly conserving energy for the headline act. Their cover of Michael Jackson‘s ‘Man In The Mirror’ sees the best reaction of their set though, with the lyrics being sung by almost everyone in the room.

Me Vs. Hero (****) manage to step things up a little bit more, with their rawer and rougher sound citing many surges and pushes across the venue floor. ‘Days That Shape Our Lives’ along with others bring the goods and sets things ablaze from one side of the room to the other, maybe showing promise in this young band in the very near future. Offerings of free t-shirts thrown out during their set only brings more fun and excitement to the band’s set, and sees the kids almost literally fighting one another to bag one for themselves.

And though the previous band managed to achieve a level of energy in the crowd which isn’t easy to gather, headliners You Me At Six (*****) manage to top it with very little effort. Reeling off well-known singles ‘If I Were In Your Shoes’, ‘Kiss And Tell’ and ‘Finders Keepers’ shows just why You Me At Six have gotten so far in such a short space of time. Despite their small stage room, the boys manage to put their all as much as they would on a stage more than triple its size. Their cover of ‘Poker Face’ manages to bring even those unfamiliar with their work into the fun of it all, with the crowd often overpowering vocalist Josh Francheschi despite the lack of speakers and microphones. The band’s usual set closer ‘The Rumour’ sees the best reaction of the night without contest, the ending chant “So hold your hands in – into the air / Hold your hands as – as if you care” is sung by pretty much everyone in the club whilst Josh screams along, ending the night with firm evidence that things for You Me At Six can only look brighter if they keep this up.

Written by Zach Redrup

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LIVE: Me Vs. Hero @ The Sugarmill, Stoke (16/03/2009)

Date: March 16th, 2009
Venue: The Sugarmill, Stoke-on-Trent
Support: Sold Out Story, Rumour Has It, Paige
Website: None available
MySpace: www.myspace.com/mevshero

Rating:

Co-headlining tours aren’t all that common, with two bands of similar public status trade the headline spot on tour. There’s always that risk though that the headliner of one night is outshined by the other band that has stepped down one spot. At the Stoke date, it’s Me Vs. Hero who need to come out on top from the other acts.

Locals Sold Out Story (***) surely aren’t a tough act to follow. The thing is, Sold Out Story aren’t bad at all in their set performance; their songs have clearly been practiced over and over, to the point where they’re about as tight as Mr. Burns from The Simpsons cartoons. Their main problem lies with confidence, most notably with lead singer Mat. Most of the members just seem to like staying in one certain spot on the stage, as if their feet are glued, and pulling out the same stage performances over and over again, which leaves things like the lead guitarist’s constant bum wiggle incredibly tedious and boring by the end of the night.

Second support act Rumour Has It (****) however succeed in the flaws that the previous act made clear and obvious. Their pop-punk vibe and charismatic nature easily gives the impression that this band aren’t too far from reaching a position where they could go on a small headlining tour in the nearby future. Songs like ‘Step Up’ give plenty of moments for crowd participation and sing-a-longs, though the amount of fans in the room seem to show this band’s current impact to date on the Stoke audience.

With the small leagues aside, the big players are now up to show them all how it’s done. Paige (***) however don’t seem that much more entertaining than Rumour Has It, and arguably could’ve actually been surpassed by them. Their more melodic and serious material seems to be drenched in too much drama and not enough fun for the rest of the night’s line-up. This doesn’t mean they didn’t get the crowd worked up though, with most people feeding off their energy and at times fighting each other off to get just a few seconds up onstage with the boys. More touching and heart-felt songs in the set go down a treat, and give a nice moment of recollection and calm for the night – definitely needed to sustain energy for the band to follow up.

Only moments after getting onstage, Me Vs. Hero (****) are barraged in cheers and wails from the crowd – all before playing a single note or saying a single word. Their hardcore-esque touch on their pop-punk style is one of both aggression and fun, kind of like how a kid would feel finally beating up a childhood bully (not condoning violence at all), and sends the audience in a huge flurry of crowd-surfing bodies, flinging arms and legs, and to put it more simply: utter carnage. Songs like ‘Star Raiders And Space Invaders’ and ‘Bring The Keys To The Massey’ are pulled off like it’s all on the back of their hands, even managing to make them sound better than they do recorded on the CD. Their cover of New Found Glory‘s ‘Understatement’ is delivered in their own brand and style, making it almost sound like a song of their own – exactly what you need for a good cover. What’s most astonishing about the band’s set tonight is that Me Vs. Hero aren’t a big band at all. They’re not plastered on poster’s in people’s bedrooms, they’re not in every other issue of Kerrang! or Rock Sound magazine, and they’re not constantly in the charts on the radio. Yet still, they’re being treated like royalty, and much more successful and respected than a fair few bands who have all of the above. With a set like this one, it shows what could probably be the reason for their success.

Me Vs. Hero are the ones of top for those in Stoke. Paige may well have just had an ‘off night’ here, but they’re going to need to pick up the pace for their headlining dates, or they’re undoubtedly going to be left in the dust.

Written by Zach Redrup

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LIVE: Lostprophets @ Download Festival (15/06/2008)

Date: June 15th, 2008
Venue: Main Stage, Download Festival
Support: N/A
Website: www.lostprophets.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/lostprophets

Rating:

The only UK headliners of the festival weekend Lostprophets came to the stage on the Sunday evening, and gave an honourable end to the 2008 Download festival.

Most people, including frontman Ian Watkins himself have little idea as to why a band such as Lostprophets have been given the oppurtunity to end such a legendary festival, but they prevailed and performed well. Due to it being the last band to play the festival that year, fans and those not too keen on their music were present among the crowd, and though the music may not take your fancy the show was something to be proud of. Playing stuff for the fans like ‘We Still Kill The Old Way’, ‘To Hell We Ride’, and ‘Everyday Combat’ to please those who aren’t just around to hear their single collection, though songs like ‘Rooftops (Liberation Transmission)’, ‘Last Train Home’, and ‘The Fake Sound Of Progress’ were also thrown in to appease those less familiar with their work, and to reel the unsure in. With some humorous banter from the band, a few firework displays “stolen from Kiss, and a brilliant set closer of ‘Burn Burn’, the band finish their set and close the curtain for this year’s Download festival.

Rightfully, a UK band deserve to end a UK rock festival, and though many would think that Lostprophets aren’t in a status to close such an event, they should be proud with the show they put on.

Roll on Download 2009!

Written by Zach Redrup

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LIVE: Lights @ Academy 3, Manchester (15/04/2009)

Date: April 15th, 2009
Venue: Academy 3, Manchester
Support: N/A
Website: www.iamlights.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/lights

Rating:

Setting off the night’s four-act bill, Lights‘ (also know under her real name Valerie Poxleitner) spoonful of electro-pop/synth-pop is a refreshing, delightful, and welcomed change from the usual latter on the Give It A Name festival bill from past years. As pretty and friendly as her material is infectious, songs like ‘February Air’ and ‘The Last Thing On Your Mind’ are clearly unknown by a large proportion of the crowd, but are enough to at least have them moving. Restrictions of the small stage space and the band equipment definitely reduced the amount of performance activity, but the audience reaction when recent single ‘Ice’ makes an appearance is nothing but positive – not bad for one of their first ever shows in the UK.

New and generally unheard of, Lights could have done a whole lot worse. And though the band is a 3-piece, the act is ultimately the product of one woman’s creation. There’s undoubtedly going to be some degree of demand for a return to the UK.

Written by Zach Redrup
Photo taken by Andy Squire – 2009 © www.andysquire.net

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LIVE: KISS @ Download Festival (13/06/2008)

Date: June 13th, 2008
Venue: Main Stage, Download Festival
Support: N/A
Website: www.kissonline.com
MySpace: None available

Rating:

Thousands of people at Donington park travel down towards the main stage to watch the headliners of the festival’s first day, Kiss. Known to be a spectacular visual performance throughout the course of their career, those who aren’t too keen on the music will still get entertainment from the legendary rock band.

A large flag with the Kiss logo cloaks the stage, and when ripped away it presents the four band members, with all of the members aside from drummer Eric Singer, being lowered from the top to the bottom on an elevated platform. With pyrotechnics aplenty aswell as confetti being sprayed across the front of the arena like dandruff. Songs like ‘Hotter Than Hell’, and ‘Rock And Roll All Nite’ go down a treat, with a large amount of people uninterested in classic rock becoming bedazzled by the visual delights. Throughout the set various band members show-off their talent on their instrument, which may come across as self-indulgent, but with an act like Kiss they can get away with it. Again the visual prospects are important in this field, with fireworks flying out from Tommy Thayer‘s guitar head during his improvised guitar solo.

After a long set of classic anthems from the legendary group, Kiss bid their farewells after their show of fire and excitement. Whether you like their songs or not, their stage presence and appearance is one not to miss.

Written by Zach Redrup

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LIVE: Kids In Glass Houses @ Apollo, Manchester (11/07/2007)

Date: July 11th, 2007
Venue: Apollo, Manchester
Support: N/A
Website: www.kidsinglasshouses.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/kidsinglasshouses

Rating:

Kids In Glass Houses are currently one of South Wales’ most hotly-tipped bands. Yet, with this in mind, some people may be asking ‘Why the hell are they supporting a band like The Goo Goo Dolls?’ Well, tonight they’re here to show the older side of the audience what they’re made of, and that they know how to make good music like their peers.

They open up with ‘Easy Tiger’, one of their more interactive songs, with a sing-a-long chorus of “Doo dah-doo doo-doo-dah-doo”. Even members of the audience who hadn’t previously heard of the band join in with this infectious song. Following is a new offering called ‘Girls’, which is a little more sinister than their other material, the chorus instructing “Let me have my wicked way with you.”. A few more songs in, it’s clear that the audience have receieved the band well, perhaps surprising given the lack of similarity to tonight’s headliner.

The band end their performance with their most popular track, and also their most recent single release ‘Me, Me, Me’. Straight from the opening line “We take three steps forward, and three steps back,” a good half of the audience are singing along. Lead singer Aled decides to get a little closer to the audience, standing right beside the stage barrier. A few moments later the song has finished, their turn is over, and it’s time for the headliners to give it their turn.

Kids In Glass Houses won the audience over tonight, and have certainly improved their sound and stage presence from a few months back. Nothing but good things are ahead of these boys if they keep it up.

Written by Zach Redrup

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LIVE: Job For A Cowboy @ Download Festival (14/06/2008)

Date: June 14th, 2008
Venue: Main Stage, Download Festival
Support: N/A
Rating: 5/10

 Website: www.jfacmetal.com
 MySpace: www.myspace.com/jobforacowboy

 Job For A Cowboy profile

At this year’s Download festival, Job For A Cowboy play on the festival main stage to feed the spectators full blown death metal. An underground metal band being upgraded to playing the main stage at one of the biggest musical festivals in the UK is a pretty big step up in such a short space of time.

Though songs like ‘Entombment Of A Machine’, ‘Embedded’, and ‘Reduced To Mere Filth’ are played to their upmost brutal states, it seems the band look a tad unconfident and uncomfortable performing on such a large scaled stage. However, despite this the US boys don’t fail to deliver a set of sheer aggression, and causing the fans in the crowd to create a chaotic and explosive circle pit with the light drizzle falling from above. During the band’s closer ‘Knee Deep’, and few fans crowd surf over the front barrier, with a select few of them being unconsious due to their time in the circle pits made from the band’s show.

Even though Job For A Cowboy weren’t as confident on the main stage as they are in their usual underground and metal club venues, they still put on a half decent show, and haven’t put themselves to shame for being a main stage band.

Written by Zach Redrup

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LIVE: Jimmy Eat World @ Download Festival (15/06/2008)

Date: June 15th, 2008
Venue: Main Stage, Download Festival
Support: N/A
Rating: 7/10

 Website: www.jimmyeatworld.com
 MySpace: www.myspace.com/jimmyeatworld

 Jimmy Eat World profile

2008 is a wierd year for Download, who would ever have thought that Jimmy Eat World would have been playing the main stage playing just before the night’s headliners? Believe it or not it happened, and they did a good job.

With the band’s music being very poppy and not whiny, they’re more of an acceptable ’emo’ band with the Download festival, and during songs like ‘Pain’ and ‘Work’, the crowd is just jumping around and having themselves a good time, and some of them don’t even like the band. The songs that get things a little more pumped up are their chart-bothering hits ‘Salt, Sweat, Sugar’, ‘Sweetness’, and ‘The Middle’, with the lyrics being sung across the field from both the speakers and the spectators. The strange thing is even the band comment themselves on how baffled and honoured they are to play such as a high priority slot at such a legendary rock festival.

Though surprised Jimmy Eat World kept their cool and delivered a great show. Who knows? They might be playing next year’s festival, and at perhaps an even higher slot.

Written by Zach Redrup

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LIVE: New Found Glory @ Club Academy, Manchester (19/11/2008)

Date: November 19th, 2008
Venue: Club Academy, Manchester
Support: International Superheroes Of Hardcore, Me Vs. Hero

Rating: 8/10

Website: www.newfoundglory.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/newfoundglory

New Found Glory profile

It’s a very rare occasion where a largely established band, at a position where they can play venues not far from the size of theatres and be featured on highly popular alternative music festivals such as Give It A Name and Warped Tour, play a small club venue on a headlining tour holding a capacity of around 300 spectators at the very most. Well, New Found Glory go ahead with all of the above on November 19th 2008, playing at the Manchester Club Academy venue, two days before they’re due to play the much bigger Manchester Academy room.

If this still doesn’t sound too infrequent of an occasion for you, then how does the fact that the opening act is none other than New Found Glory‘s newly created parody side-project International Superheroes Of Hardcore (***). Their fast-paced and straight to the point hardcore punk sound is substantially different to that of the pop-punk nature from New Found Glory, opening the members up to write and display their other influences. The added humour factor into the band – such as calling themselves names like Captain Staightedge and Sgt. Soy, and writing songs about car safety – is just an extra benefit.

Due to the short back catalogue and length of songs at ISHC‘s disposal, local punk rockers Me Vs. Hero (****) are up for the interlude between the parody act and the big headliners. Their insatiable and delicious attack of fun powerpop and pop-punk fun with the odd burst of harsh hardcore vocal work makes Me Vs. Hero an exciting a worthy act for such an uncommon event. Songs like ‘Hand Me The Keys To The Massey’ and ‘Star Raiders And Space Invaders’ go down a treat with the crowd, even inciting the odd mosh pit or two. The boys even have heart and reason in their performance, respectfully dedicating ‘Upbeat Down’ to their recently departed guitarist Alex McCulloch (R.I.P.), and shedding off lots of natural energy in their performance for their friend.

Headliners New Found Glory (****) however completely blow things to another proportion when they announce that not only is this show highly limited for tickets and venue size, but that they’re playing an all requests show too. Throughout the night the fans are screaming (and even writing requests on paper and shoving it in the air) for the band to play their favourite songs. Songs like ‘Sincerely Me’, ‘Sucker’, and ‘Better Off Dead’ are requested and played, with the band blasting through song after song to get as many requests out there in the set time they’ve been given. Some of the band’s songs which were requested had been forgotten and had to be relearned again by the members there and then. Popular singles didn’t go amiss either, with ‘Dressed To Kill’ and ‘All Downhill From Here’ making appearances at some point, with every word screamed across the room from speakers and fans alike. One fan even got up onstage and offered to pay £50 for the band to play one song for them. If you weren’t even one keen on the pop-punk masters, then the banter inbetween songs is enough entertainment for an evening anyway.

People at this show have experienced something that’ll probably never happen again. The first UK appearance for International Superheroes Of Hardcore, an all request show by New Found Glory, and all in a small basement club environment.

Written by Zach Redrup

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LIVE: InnerPartySystem @ The Roadhouse, Manchester (09/10/2008)

Date: October 9th, 2008
Venue: The Roadhouse, Manchester
Support: My Emergency!, Furthest Drive Home

Rating: 7/10

Website: www.innerpartysystem.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/innerpartysystem

InnerPartySystem profile

Quickly putting themselves on the map and rising at a decent rate, InnerPartySystem are a group who are eager to get their name international by touring the UK after releasing their debut self-titled album. Tonight, they’re playing at The Roadhouse club in Manchester – definitely far from the biggest sized venue they’ve played at, but none the less it doesn’t mean the opportunity should be taken for granted.

Their combination of synth and electronics along with alternative rock isn’t a new one, but this doesn’t matter when InnerPartySystem (***) pull it off as well as they do. Though the club room isn’t huge, the place is pretty much packed, and though their stage isn’t huge they make the most of what they’ve got. The fans present are truly dedicated to their work, throwing back every word to the likes of ‘Heart Of Fire’ and ‘Die Tonight, Live Forever’ adding a great atmosphere to the show. The band have clearly practiced each song down tightly, with even minor flaws to a minimum, and the vocal work of Patrick Nissley with added effects and the guitar input from Kris Barman complimenting one another effectively. The stand-out moment from their whole performance however came with set closer ‘Don’t Stop’. Everyone in the room, even those who’d tagged along to the show a little unfamiliar with the band’s work were singing along to some of the lyrics, with the chorus “This is entertainment! Lies are entertainment!” filling every orifice of the club. If that weren’t enough, the band then became boisterous enough to crowd surf the front few rows of spectators in the closing moments of the track, despite the small size of the venue, bringing the show to an exciting and unexpected finish.

InnerPartySystem‘s show tonight just goes to show you that it may not be the biggest of venues where you play a show, but you can still make it a pretty big performance.

Written by Zach Redrup

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