Date: March 11th 2017
Venue: Academy, Manchester
Support: ROAM / Hands Like Houses / Young Guns
It’s crazy to think that following the debacle of their time on major label Island Records and the lukewarm at best reaction to their one output on that imprint, ‘Changing Tune’, Watford’s Lower Than Atlantis were very much considering throwing in the towel. Yet, here we are, two albums later, their most successful date, and the band are on the road on their biggest UK headline tour to date.
First up on the bill are ROAM , one of the UK’s pop-punk bands who consistently seem ready to make that breakthrough to become the next Neck Deep, but for one reason or another are yet to crack through the ceiling to the next level. Sadly, guitarist Alex Adam‘s vocals regularly get lost in the mix, and despite Alex Costello making a good effort to pump up the slowly filling room, it’s not quite enough to make a memorable enough set.
Hands Like Houses  are a long way from home, but thankfully in the past year or so the Australian post-hardcore troupe have been hitting our shores more often than we’re used to. They’re the heaviest band on the bill, admittedly not by much, and keeping their setlist entirely focused on their latest LP ‘Dissonants’ shows just how confident they are in their newer material. ‘Colourblind’ and closer ‘I Am’ are the highlights, and it seems like frontman Trenton Woodley‘s voice gets better and better every time.
Seemingly heading one step at a time towards a similar goal to that of the evening’s headliners, London’s Young Guns  also contemplated calling it a day a couple of albums ago, but through perseverance, here they are today. It might be thanks to new album ‘Echoes’, or the drummer shift of Ben Jolliffe to Chris Kamrada, but Young Guns seem to have some form of new found energy and spirit about them. Oldies ‘Weight Of The World’ and ‘Bones’ still sounds huge, and fresher cuts like ‘Bulletproof’ easily have the potential to edge the band further up the ranks of their contemporaries.
Bursting onto the stage with their latest radio infiltrator ‘Had Enough’, over their 15-song long set Lower Than Atlantis  produce banger after banger of sugary radio rock goodness. The once hardcore, turned post-hardcore, turned alt rock, turned pop-rock quartet seem to have finally found their ideal sound and style over the years, and hits like ‘Dumb’, ‘Beech Like The Tree’, and ‘Ain’t No Friend’ sound like they’re crafted not just for these rooms they’re filling out, but also for stages that dwarf them.
What adds to the band’s appeal is their relatability. Frontman Mike Duce is regularly thanking the fans, and describes himself as “just another bloke speaking from one human to another”, and that after a life of listening and losing himself to records he just hopes his band can be the same for others. Evidently, with the room filling with the crowd singing back the refrains in slower numbers ‘Words Don’t Come So Easily’ and ‘Another Sad Song’, they’ve already reached that milestone.
By the time we reach the final moments of closer ‘Here We Go’, during which the band start destroying some of their stage amps, it might just be another album or two before Lower Than Atlantis claim the crown as the biggest pop-rock band the UK has to offer.
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.