LIVE: VersaEmerge @ Club Academy, Manchester (23/05/2011)

Date: May 23rd, 2011
Venue: Club Academy, Manchester
Support: Marmozets, Not Advised


Following the UK release of the debut full-length ‘Fixed At Zero’ in March, VersaEmerge have steadily been building their presence over on UK shores. Since their first visit to the country back in 2009 for Give It A Name, it didn’t take too long for them to return again, and now on their first ever UK headline tour, it’s easy to see that their occassional visits have made an impact.

Leeds based female fronted act Marmozets (***) bare many similarities to now defunct American punk act Be Your Own Pet, bringing a raw yet accessible punk edge with yelped barks from Becca Macintyre whose voice brings more comparisons back to BYOP and Jemina Pearl. Songs like ‘The Perfect Beverage’ show an enthusiastic spark in the young Yorkshire quintet, who seem to have a bright future ahead of them.

Taking the stage to a score from the Star Wars film franchise, the more pop-punk driven Not Advised (***) keep the steady and fun pace going, and the whole crowd are eager to get involved. ‘Right Now’ and ‘The World’s Not Ready’ come across as a far more serious and mature version of most of All Time Low‘s material, and despite suffering from a rusty nail impaling his foot earlier in the day, frontman Jim Thomas is still bouncing around like nothing is wrong. ‘Jane Says Left’ brings more activity into play, with plenty of sing-a-longs and handclaps to keep everyone involved.

Headliners VersaEmerge (***) are welcomed to the stage with a hoarde of screams and cheers. It’s more than clear that this is the act everyone is here for. Sierra Kusterbeck‘s vocals are clear and sharp through songs like ‘Mind Reader’ and ‘Whisperer’, and warming up to a crowd who requested her to wear a Pikachu hat and her forgetting a story made for a more intimate and friendly set. ‘Aim Your Arrows High’ brings a rare show of face from the somewhat timid Blake Harnage, and from there on his confidence and presence in the set soars. At times, the more vocally challenging numbers like ‘Lost Tree’ and ‘Your Own LoV.E.’ sees Sierra‘s vocals trail off and show a little weakness, and sadly this brings and an almost excellent performance down a few notches from what it could’ve potentially been.

Written by Zach Redrup