The annual Kerrang! Tour hosts four of the biggest established and upcoming bands that the brand/magazine are loving at that time. This year those four bands are Young Guns, My Passion, The Blackout, and All Time Low. But Kerrang! should hope for their sake’s they’ve put good – and only good bands – on the bill who will deliver the goods, and bring yet another successful year for the tour.
Definitely the youngest band – surely not intended from their name – and the only one without a single full-length album to play from, Young Guns (***) do themselves proud with a strong and sturdy set to open the tour’s Manchester date. Songs like ‘Weight Of The World’ and ‘In The Night’ show that the band have progressed and improved their stage presence in such a short space of time, and could well be on to following the footsteps of success that You Me At Six took by the time the first full-length hits the shelves. Frontman Gustav‘s ripped remains of his tank-top after crowd surfing with adoring young fans is a sure back-up of such a claim.
Electro lacing goth punkers My Passion (****) keep the high mood of the show at a steadily increasing level. Frontman Laurence RenÃ©‘s constant whipping of his illuminous microphone lead and swirling of mic stand is one of simplicity but visual awe and energy. In such a short time My Passion have gone from filling out small pubs and clubs, and are now playing to a crowd of a few hundred kids screaming back lyric after lyric of their songs, such as ‘Thanks For Nothing’ and ‘Day Of The Bees’. The one and only album under their belts has clearly made an impact in reaching and obtaining a substantial amount of fans, and after such a performance would have easily won over a couple more.
The Blackout (*****) however make My Passion‘s efforts look a little tame. Coming onstage to a large cinematic orchestral piece which screams drama would seem a little big-headed and over the top with most acts, but with what the Welsh 6-piece follow it up with it’s more than fitting for them. A mix of both their albums through their hour long set keeps the crowd on their toes, who are easily having just as much fun as the band during their post-hardcore onslaught. Sean Smith‘s frantic outbursts throughout keep things lively and entertaining, whilst the dedicated crowd singing back through ‘Save Ourselves (The Warning)’ brings their performance to another level. The cherry on top it all however is when closer ‘I’m A Riot? You’re A Fucking Riot!’ comes into play, with the band requesting for “the biggest circle pit the Academy has ever had”, and they deliver. A circle pit big enough to go around the venue sound desk is the result, and makes you wonder why the hell these boys aren’t the tour headliners.
The tour’s actual headliners All Time Low (***) only seem to further cement that, and don’t manage to give the climatic close that’s deserved and expected. What should be big, exciting and ‘in-your-face’ just turns out to be straight-forward, predictable, and at times a little disappointing. All Time Low‘s attempts of comedic banter often struggle for a pity chuckle. Still, the mainly teen-aged fans are feeding off the young pop-punkers vibe like there was no tomorrow ahead of them. ‘Weightless’ as expected is recited by 90% of the room’s occupants like it’s the gospel, and other chart-success laced singles (all saved ’til the end f the set by the way) ‘Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t)’ and ‘Dear Maria, Count Me In’ aren’t far behind either. Popularity doesn’t really give anyone all that big of an advantage when it comes to the band’s overall performance quality, and though ultimately the young 4-piece aren’t astonishing, they definitely didn’t deliver what they were expected to, and would have made a much more fitting place in a lower position on the tour’s bill. Quite a shame really.
Written by Zach Redrup