Date: November 25th 2018
Venue: Thekla, Bristol
Support: Courage My Love / Holding Absence / Trash Boat
‘The Great Depression’, the third album from As It Is, has gained a horde of new fans that crave a style of punk left behind from a time when The Used and My Chemical Romance were the go to for every angsty teenager.
Their shift away from their more radio-friendly pop-punk sound has proved to be a success and, as a bi-product, has honed them their biggest headline UK tour to date.
Due to some travel complications, sadly we don’t manage to get there quite on time to catch opener, Courage My Love.
However, all is resolved in time for Welsh outfit Holding Absence , who are riding high off the release of their new single, ‘Like A Shadow’. Vocalist Lucas Woodland trounces across the stage with a presence of maturity that’s beyond his years, and there’s crowd interaction and sing-alongs aplenty.
They end with what is certainly one of their most accomplished songs, ‘Penance’. The mix from the PA tonight has hindered a band that require precision to shine as bright as they deserve, however, there’s so much more to come from Holding Absence yet that their future looks scarily bright.
Trash Boat  follow with a mundane and plainly stale set. The crowd are undoubtedly indulging in the British pop-punk troupe, but that doesn’t hide the fact that there are cracks in their set that they fail to cement over. Each song lacks character, is difficult to differentiate, and as a result the set is quite a drag.
There’s no doubting that Trash Boat have a target audience that they stay true to, and there are clear signs that the band are very talented. Tonight, however, they’re firing blanks and leave a pretty easy set to follow.
As It Is  take to the stage and smash through a set list comprising mainly of songs from their new record, ‘The Great Depression’. Opening with ‘The Reaper’, vocalist Patty Walters, who is adorned in a blood red shirt with jet black eyeliner and lip stick smeared across his face, delivers crushing vocals that were nowhere to be seen in the band’s earlier repertoire.
While the set lacks tracks other than singles from their previous record, ‘okay.’, older numbers like ‘Dial Tones’ and ‘Austen’ are met with great praise. The most surprising, however, is that new album deep cuts ‘The End’ and ‘The Fire, The Dark’ are met with even more enthusiasm than the band’s established hits. The audience are monstrous in voice, and there are stage divers and crowd surfers galore – a snapshot of where the band’s future musical endeavors are heading.
A brief conversation about mental health is very poignant and resonates with the room. Ending on ‘The Stigma (Boys Don’t Cry)’, the venue erupts and the smile from each band member on stage proves just how much of a milestone this is.
As It Is have made the record that they wanted to make, and every fan in here tonight appreciates that. Hopefully, in a few years, they’ll be performing in venues that give them the scope to add the theatrics in a live setting that their music deserves, because that would be something special.