Date: February 1st, 2012
Venue: Camden Koko, London
Support: Marmozets, Don Broco, A Loss For Words
For anyone who is unfamiliar with the Koko club in London, it is a fine establishment and is definitely more of a night club than a venue. However, on this occasion, it plays host the mighty Four Year Strong who more than threatened to blow the roof off of the place.
After underestimating the (dreadful) London Underground system and missing a train, I arrive late at the venue tonight, and am too late to catch the opening band Marmozets. But, despite them not actually being reviewed properly, it feels impolite not to mention them. So go check them out, because they are heading for big things.
The first band I actually do see are the fantastic Don Broco (****), who run through a tight set with big riffs and powerful melodies. Songs like ‘Beautiful Morning’ and ‘Dreamboy’ have even the sternest faced neutral tapping their feet to their impressive beat. Even managing to conjure a wall of death during new song ‘Priorities’ is an impressive feat for an opening band. Their mix of enthusiasm, big tunes and commanding stage presence will see them head for stardom in 2012, mark my words.
Up next are Boston’s A Loss For Words (*****) who despite not being apparently well known amongst a large proportion of the crowd, cause more than a stir to their fans down the front. Opening with the brilliant ‘Honeymoon Eyes’, they run through an impressive set made up of a mix of older and newer material. On songs like ‘Raining Excuses’ and ‘I Want You Back’ (yes, that is a Jackson 5 cover), Matt Arsenault really shows off his impressive vocal range, and on the slower ‘Mount St. Joseph’, the whole band shows that they can mix it up with the best. A chaotic closer of ‘Stamp Of Approval’ is exactly that for the band who appear to have won over many new fans on this showing.
Whilst that may be all well and good for neutrals and die-hard fans, the band that most people are here to see is Four Year Strong (*****) and as usual those bearded mofos (yup) do not fail to impress. Hard hitting songs like ‘What The Hell Is A Gigawatt?’ and ‘Maniac (R.O.D.)’ sound massive inside this huge venue. There are also massive sing alongs like ‘Catastrophe’ and ‘Stuck In The Middle’ thrown in there too. Giving newer material like ‘Heaven Wasn’t Built To Hold Me’ goes down well, and mixing it with older stuff like ‘Heroes Get Remembered…’ make for an enthralling and devastating set. Having seen the band majorly underwhelm me at last year’s Hevy Festival, I approached this with trepidation. However, in hindsight I was a fool, and a very big one at that.
Written by Oliver Thompson