No band has managed to find the balance between pop-punk and metalcore quite as effortlessly as Ocala’s A Day To Remember, a quintet who just so happen to also be the kings of breakdowns.
It’s been about three years now since the Floridian outfit released any new material (save for a Marshmello collab a couple of months ago), their last being their sixth full-length album, ‘Bad Vibrations’. That was until yesterday, at least, when they released a brand new single called ‘Degenerates’.
Ahead of a main stage set at this year’s Reading & Leeds Festival this weekend, the band announced a free yet super intimate show at London’s House Of Vans in Waterloo. With a capacity of just over 800, it’s been a long time since the breakdown lovers played to so few people over in the UK, so it was always a certainty that the show was going to be something really special.
After Daniel P. Carter worked up the increasingly busy and cramped room into a bit of a lather with a DJ set of all the rock and metal hits you could hope for, A Day To Remember storm the stage and deliver the wonderful wallop of ‘2nd Sucks’ to start things off. Obviously the pits open up right away, and everyone else has their voices more than warmed up by the end of following number, ‘Right Back At It Again’.
It’s this mix of cuts that are chunkier than biting into that Yorkie you left in the fridge overnight alongside the radio-bothering pop-punk ear worms that make A Day To Remember such a versatile band that can reel in rock fans of almost any persuasion into the mix, and when they can deliver ‘Sticks & Bricks’ and ‘I’m Made Of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?’ as effortlessly as ‘All Signs Point To Lauderdale’ and ‘All I Want’, it’s difficult to favour one approach over the other.
Built-to-be-a-banger ‘Rescue Me’ is exactly that live – a banger – to the extent that the room pogos in unison during its building chorus, and less-a-day-old ‘Degenerates’ sounds like it could’ve been dragged from the All Time Low rulebook with a Four Year Strong-esque breakdown chucked in there for good measure.
They strip down for the first part of the evening’s encore, bringing out the acoustic guitar and arguably the largest sing-along refrains from the crowd all night long for ‘If It Means A Lot To You’, which still sounds as anthemic as it did when it first dropped a decade ago, then the Citizen Kane of chugfests – ‘The Downfall Of Us All’ – sees the evening out.
We probably won’t ever see A Day To Remember in a venue this small again. Tonight served as a reminder of just how many hits they have stockpiled, and you can bet in seventh record, ‘You’re Welcome’, they’ll have plenty more to play with.