Tag Archives: Live Review

Live Review: Trash Talk – The Underworld, London

Tonight is the first night of Californian Punks Trash Talks short UK tour and a show at The Underworld in Camden was always going to be a crazy one. Unfortunately I was unable to catch Carnival Kids who opened tonight.

Main support for tonight came from Welsh Rap collective Astroid Boys who might seem like an odd choice for support at a Hardcore show but once they begin playing it’s pretty clear why they were picked. Astroid Boys blend Hip-Hop, Dubstep and Hardcore together and within a few songs the majority of the room is bouncing and moshing. However after their first few songs everything just goes wrong for them. Serious sound issues mean the band have to cut their set short. Tonight Astroid Boys showed potential to be a really good live band but things just don’t go their way this time. (5)

Trash Talk on the other hand suffer no such problems. Instead the band blast through their set of aggressive and fast paced Hardcore Punk, rarely giving the audience a break. Bodies fly around The Underworld off of the venues balcony and the pit just doesn’t stop moving. Vocalist Lee Spielman constantly comes down the the crowd to encourage fans to crowd surf, even offering out weed to crowd members willing to come and get it from him. Earlier sound issues clearly aren’t present for Trash Talk as they sound incredibly tight. The only complaint that could really be made is that for a barrier had been set up in The Underworld tonight which created an unwanted gap between the band and the fans and Trash Talk made it clear they weren’t happy about the situation. This seems to be happening more often and is a shame. Apart from this it’s a great show from Trash Talk who have proven themselves to be one of the most exciting Hardcore bands around. (9)

Problems caused by the sound and addition of a barrier prevent tonight’s gig from reaching its full potential but Trash Talk still put on a great show. Hopefully The Underworld won’t make the barrier a permanent addition as it really does hurt the atmosphere at shows like this. (7)


Live Review: Anti-Flag – Electric Ballroom, London

As well as being part of their 20th Anniversary tour, tonight is also Anti-Flags only UK show of 2013. Tonight’s show was very much going to be a celebration for both the band and their fans. It’s clear why Anti-Flag are still going after 20 years as they are one of the best Punk bands around and tonight showed that Anti-Flag aren’t showing any signs of stopping any time soon.

First up though were British Punks Gnarwolves. There is a real buzz surrounding Gnarwolves right now and it’s clear why, even at this early stage the band have loads of great songs already. The band also sound unique in the Pop-Punk scene right now which really helps. Unfortunately the audience just don’t quite get into the band tonight. They still have a few big fans in but generally the rest of the audience just react politely to their set. Still this didn’t stop Gnarwolves from being a good start to the evening. (7)

Next up were Great Cynics, who were a late addition to the line up after Sharks pulled out. Tonight was one of the biggest shows they’ve ever played and the band were clearly nervous at first but they soon settled in. Having both a male and female vocalists who alternated leading the songs helped to give Great Cynics a more unique sound. They did suffer from similar problems to Gnarwolves though, with most of the crowd only really being interested in seeing Anti-Flag but again they reacted politely to Great Cynics. With tonight being such a special show for Anti-Flag it’s understandable why fans were excited for them and no one else. (7)

Finally Anti-Flag came on and immediately began with “Turncoat” which sent the audience into a frenzy. Following this with “Drink Drank Punk” confirmed that tonight was very much going to be a greatest hits set for Anti-Flag. And when Anti-Flag have so many of them it’s understandable why. Tonight wasn’t all about the music though, as the show is supported by charity organisation Amnesty International. Near through their set Anti-Flag stop and ask the audience to help them by sending a text to sign a petition aiming to free the imprisoned members of Russian Punks Pussy Riot. Normally stopping for this long would be a problem but Anti-Flag have always been about more than just the music and it’s great to see they still support Pussy Riot and haven’t given up on trying to help. Elsewhere the set is rammed full of great songs like “Fuck Police Brutality” and “One Trillion Dollars”, and the fans sing along to all of them. During their encore Anti-Flag  say that because tonight is American Independence Day they won’t be covering The Clash like they usually do, instead they performed brilliant covers of the Ramones “The KKK Took My Baby Away” and the Dead Kennedy’s “Nazi Punks Fuck Off”. Finally the night ended with “Power To The Peaceful” and the entire band performed from within the crowd. (9)

Tonight really was a special show for Anti-Flag, even after 20 years the band still put everything they have into their shows. The band haven’t lost their political message and they genuinely believe in what they say, they don’t just say it to follow the crowd. Even though tonight is their only UK show this year hopefully it won’t be too long until Anti-Flag are back/ (8)


Live Review: A Day To Remember – KOKO, London

It has been almost two years since A Day To Remember last played in the UK and tonight they make their return playing the KOKO in Camden. After such a long time away some were starting to doubt whether people still cared about A Day To Remember. But after tonight’s show sold out in an hour i’ts clear that A Day To Remember are more popular than ever.

First up though was Your Demise, playing one of their final London shows as a band tonight was always going to be a special show for them. Launching into “Push Me Under” pits opened immediately and the entire room was bouncing. Your Demise have always been an incredibly fun band to see live and tonight was no different. Front-man Ed McRae constantly calls for crowd surfers throughout the set and the crowd respond with swarms of fans flying over the barrier and the band play with an incredible amount of energy and passion.  Despite being a late addition to the line up there was still a large amount of Your Demise fans here, which shows that they were a fantastic choice to open. Ending with regular set closer “The Kids We Used To Be” always ends things on a high as Ed joins the fans in the crowd during the songs final chorus. (9)

Despite the great reaction for Your Demise, it was nothing compared to the moment A Day To Remember stepped onstage. Opening with new song “Violence (Enough Is Enough)” resulted in absolute chaos and following this with “2nd Sucks” kept the intensity up with every fan screaming the words and constantly moving. From here on ADTR continued to fire out fan favourite’s and didn’t let up, when they can play a song as good as “I’m Made Of Wax Larry, What Are You Made Of?” four songs into a set and still top it later shows how many great songs ADTR have. They are also a band who know how to have fun, with beach balls being thrown into the crowd on “All Signs Point To Lauderdale” and t-shirts thrown during “Better Off This Way”. The energy from the band and the crowd just doesn’t stop, even on softer songs like “Have Faith In Me”, it all results in what is probably one of the sweatiest shows ever at the KOKO. A Day To Remember even play “Another Song About The Weekend” for the first time anywhere in Europe and this gets an incredible reaction. It’s clear that after being away so long, ADTR are happy to be back playing a show in the UK. Front-man Jeremy McKinnon even gets quite emotional at points due to the reaction they receive. A Day To Remember offer another taste of the upcoming album Common Courtesy with “Right Back At It Again” before “The Plot To Bomb The Panhandle” brings their main set to a close. Finally everyone is given a break during the first part of A Day To Remember’s encore as they play a short acoustic set, with an acoustic version of  “It’s Complicated” being a nice surprise for fans before “If It Means A Lot To You” results in the biggest singalong of the night. “All I Want” and “The Downfall Of Us All” see one last burst of energy from the band and the crowd with the final pits opening up and fans crowd surfing again before the fans are showered in confetti at the very end. (10)

It is great to have A Day To Remember back after such a long time. It’s clear that when they do play a full UK tour they will play venue’s much bigger than the KOKO and they really deserve to. During the set Jeremy states that A Day To Remember might not be the best band but they care and its clear he really means it. Most fans tonight would disagree with the first part of that statement as A Day To Remember have proved themselves to be on of the best bands in both the Pop-Punk and Metalcore scenes. Mark my words, A Day To Remember are taking over the world. (10)


Live Review: Green Day, Emirates Stadium

After a few small shows last year, Green Day are finally making their big UK return tonight playing a sold out show at the huge Emirates stadium in London. With their album trilogy turning out to be slightly disappointing, some people questioned whether Green Day were still relevant. After tonight though, Green Day have proved they are more relevant than ever.

First up was All Time Low, and these were simply the perfect choice for an opening band tonight. Despite there Pop-Punk songs leaning far more to the Pop side of things they still do a great job in getting the crowd warmed up for Green Day. Playing a setlist that mixed new songs from their latest album Don’t Panic in with older songs, there was not a bad moment. And ending with “Weightless” and “Dear Maria, Count Me In” was a brilliant touch, especially when Alex Gaskarth and Jack Barakat made their way into the crowd for the very end. Of all the modern Pop-Punk bands around, All Time Low look set to the next ones who could rival the biggest bands in the genre, expect them to be selling out arenas over here in the near future. (9)

In stark contrast, Kaiser Chiefs really proved that they just aren’t relevant anymore. With long moments of awkward silence from the audience during their set as most didn’t know the songs being played. It doesn’t help that with the exception of front-man Ricky Wilson, the band look incredibly bored up onstage and really didn’t bother putting on a great performance. When they eventually play their bigger songs such as “Ruby” and “I Predict A Riot” the audience finally start getting into it but that only happens for a few songs. At times it even seemed like Kaiser Chiefs just resorted to shouting “Green Day” in order to get a cheer from the crowd. (5)

Finally it was time for Green Day to play, not before the entire of the Emirates stadium sing along to “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Blitzkrieg Bop” as they are played. Opening with “99 Revolutions” helped to show that live the new tracks sound a lot better than on record, but its when they play “Know Your Enemy” that the crowd really goes crazy, with the first of many lucky fans to make it onstage to sing with Billie Joe Armstrong. The rest of the first chunk of Green Day’s set focused on from Uno!, Dos! and Tre! whilst still throwing in a few fan favourites such as “Holiday” and “Nice Guys Finish Last”. 

After 12 songs Billie Joe asks the audience if there are any really old school Green Day fans before launching into “Burnout”, this was when Green Day just cranked things up to a 11. Busting out “Sassafras Roots”, “Hitchin’ A Ride”, “Welcome To Paradise” and “Longview” all in a row was just ridiculous, with every song being sung back to the band by the entire audience. Another fan was brought onstage to sing the end of “Longview” too. At one point in during the set Billie Joe even shoots water, toilet roll and t shirts into the crowd, this just drills home the fact that Green Day’s live shows are simply about having fun. “Basket Case” and “She” understandably see the entire audience go crazy and are the biggest sing-along’s of the night. After a crazy covers medley featuring “Shout”, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, “Teenage Kicks” and “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life” the band finally bring the main set to a close with “Minority”.

Green Day soon return to the stage for an encore, kicking it off with “American Idiot”, they even manage to get a Wall Of Death going. “Jesus Of Suburbia” and “Brutal Love” bring the night to a close with the the entire Emirates lit up by fans holding their phones and lighters in the air. Throughout their entire set Green Day had a fantastic lighting set up but kept the theatrics to a minimum, with the live show being the band itself. If there could be one slight complaint about tonight it would be that Billie Joe perhaps got the crowd to sing “WHEEEEYYYYY OHHHHHHH” a few too many times but when everyone was having so much fun doing that, it’s hard to really criticise it. (10)

Green Day are simply one of the best live bands around right now. I doubt anyone who saw them at the Emirates would disagree. Its great to have Billie Joe Armstrong back and when Green Day headline Reading and Leeds later this year it’s going to be amazing. Hopefully they won’t leave it too long to play stadiums over here again. (9)


Live Review: Senses Fail – The Underworld, London

At first glance tonight’s line up is an odd one: Post-Hardcore veterans Senses Fail, British Punks Marmozets and Pop-punk band Handguns. All three are very different bands with very different fan-bases. Still, it’s good to see an experienced band bring some young blood out on tour.

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Handguns kicked things off with a set full of high energy Pop-punk tunes. With Pop-punk being so popular right now it can be hard to really stick out in the scene, and whilst Handguns don’t have a particularly original sound they are still an enjoyable start to the night. There are a few die-hard fans at the front singing along to every song (and pointing a lot) and even a few stage-divers later on in the set. (7)

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Next up were crazy British Punks Marmozets. Even if you’re not a fan of their music, it’s impossible to say they are a boring live band. Every member throws themselves around the stage for the entire set and even play from the audience at points. The band even gave fans a taste of a brand new song “Move, Shake, Hide” from their upcoming debut album. Throughout the set the band sound great with Becca Macintyre delivering an amazing vocal performance and the band sounding tight, even during the more technical sections. Closing song “Vexed” saw pits open as well as the entire drum kit being moved into the crowd and members of Handguns join Marmozets on vocals. It’s a chaotic end to their set and is incredible to watch. (8)

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Finally it’s up to Senses Fail to bring the night to a close. Their latest album Renacer was a huge change for the band, bringing in a much heavier sound, and opening with a track from it was a great move as it got the crowd fired up immediately. Despite only being out for a littler over a month, songs from Renacer such as “The Path” and “Canine” were sung back to Senses Fail as if they were classics. However when Senses Fail actually busted out the classics such as “Calling All Cars” and “Can’t Be Saved” the room went insane. Despite not being at the highest point in their career Senses Fail still seem incredibly happy to be playing shows, especially when so many similar Post-Hardcore bands have disbanded. Frontman Buddy Nielsen jokes with the crowd in between songs and keeps things lighthearted but still performs with an incredible amount of passion. Encoring with “Bite To Break The Skin” see’s one final sing along before the night ends. Senses Fail might only be playing to a few hundred fans but that doesn’t stop them from putting on a great show for those fans. (9)

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With the Post-Hardcore scene being in such bad shape right now, becoming more watered down thanks to certain bands, it’s a shame Senses Fail aren’t bigger. They are easily one of the best Post-Hardcore bands around right now. Tonight Senses Fail proved there’s still life left in them. (8)

All photos were taken by Fran Dignon, check out her flickr page for more: http://www.flickr.com/photos/frandignonphotos


Live Review: Slam Dunk Festival, Hatfield, Part 2

As the second band of the day, Australian Metalcore crew House Vs Hurricane took to the Monster Energy Stage. Playing to a moderately full tent, it took them very little time to get mosh pits open and everyone in the tent bouncing. Whilst not having the most original sound they still played with constant aggression and high levels of energy, helping them to stand out above many other bands playing this stage. (7)

A few bands later Heights came out, unfortunately playing to the smallest crowd so far, however this did not stop the band or the fans in the tent making it the craziest and most energetic set yet. With front-man Alex Monty coming down to the barrier within their opening track “Forget”, shouting along with the handful of extremely dedicated fans towards the front. Heights set only improved from here, with both the crowd and the pits increasing in size throughout each song. Heights are a controversial band in the UK Hardcore scene, from losing old fans due to conflict between the band and old members to a change in sound on the newest album whilst also gaining a handful of new fans, the band have still faced their fair share of criticism in past months. However after this performance it is clear they deserve their place in the UK Hardcore scene, being one of the most energetic, fun yet still excellent live bands around. (9)

Soon after this Ska Punk veterans [spunge] began their set on the Vans “Off The Wall” Music Stage. Drawing in what was likely one of the oldest crowds of the day due to the bands history, [spunge] hosted what could be considered the funnest 40 minutes of the entire festival. Closing their set with catchy fan favourite “Kicking Pigeons” and brilliant cover “Centrefold” it became impossible to keep count of them amount of dancing men with mohawks. (7)

Staying on the Vans Music Stage, flying the flag for British Pop-punk was Me Vs Hero. With what could be considered a risky move the band opened with relatively new track “Heisenberg”, however it was good seeing the risk paid off with the die-hard fans singing along. Throughout the rest of their set, Me Vs Hero gave a great high energy performance, showing how much potential this band have. It is a shame so many British pop-punk fans pay little attention to the UK scene in comparison to the American scene, with bands such as Me Vs Hero, it could be incredibly successful. (8)

Later in the evening, Post-hardcore veterans Senses Fail took to Tiger Stage. With opening track “Renacer”,  front-man Buddy Nielsen was straight into the crowd amongst fans, demanding pits to open directly in front of him. These high levels of chaos carried on throughout the set during both old fan favourites such as “Calling All Cars” and far heavier new tracks such as “The Path”.  The new heavier sound in Senses Fail’s music seems to introduced new life into their live show, with the band performing with more energy and excitement than many younger bands at the festival, as well as being far more in touch with the fans than these bands. Despite not being at the highest point in their career, Senses Fail are showing no signs at quitting soon, still releasing both incredibly strong albums and putting on a great live show. (9)

Finally, Canadian Hardcore heroes Cancer Bats came bounding onto the stage of the tiny room. Opening with older track “Sorceress”, front-man Liam Cormier is straight onto the barrier headbanging with fans. Cancer Bats’ set carried on as the most chaotic set seen today, playing songs from every album even old rarities such as Shillelagh, with Liam inviting as many crowd surfers as possible over the barrier and getting mosh pits to open as big as the smallest room of the festival could handle. The band carry on the prove why they are known as one of the best live bands around today, cramming in as many songs as they could into the hour they had and not a single one of them being seen as a low point. This is especially true when they can pull out fan favourites such as “Bricks and Mortar” so earlier in the set, and things still just improve from there. Not only do Cancer Bats put on a mad, energetic live show with Liam climbing across the bar down the side of room, but the band left on stage still sound as good as they do on record, and easily compensating for any small technical issues they may face. Tonight was a prime example of why Cancer Bats are one of the biggest Hardcore Bands around today. (10)


Live Review: Slam Dunk Festival, Hatfield, Part 1

The 2013 Slam Dunk line was easily the biggest yet. With a great mix of loads of genres and some of the biggest names in Rock, Pop-Punk, Metalcore, Hardcore and Post-Hardcore appearing over the festivals five stages. With such a huge line up it was difficult to pick which bands to see and lead to some inevitable clashes so here’s my review of all the bands I saw over the course of the day.

Opening up a stage is always a difficult task. Luckily Melodic Hardcore band Heart In Hand were well up to the task. Kicking things off on the Monster Energy stage the band played an energetic and emotional set with plenty of early pits opening up. Front-man Charlie Holmes even throw himself into the crowd during set closer “Only Memories”. (8)

Unfortunately Our Last Night just cannot match this. Despite pulling a large crowd to the Monster Energy stage the band just play such mediocre Post-Hardcore music that its almost impossible to stay interested. It doesn’t help that the vocals are so inconsistent either. However the band do manage to pull out a cover of Adele’s “Skyfall” which doesn’t completely suck. (5)

Over on the main stage, Pierce The Veil were playing to a ridiculously large audience. Its crazy to think about how many people would have been turned away if these had still been playing on the Monster stage. Its impressive how far Pierce The Veil have come on in the past few years. They look and sound incredibly slick live. They still need a few more killer songs but the likes of “Caraphernelia” and “Hell Above” sound great. Unfortunately a guest appearance from Sleeping With Sirens front-man Kellin Quinn almost ruins everything. The audience might love it but Kellin’s vocals sound absolutely awful live during “King For A Day” and it just ends the set on a low point. (7)

Back on the Monster stage The Word Alive are playing to smaller audience than they really should be, perhaps this is due to Sleeping With Sirens playing on the main-stage at the same time. This doesn’t stop them from putting everything they’ve got into their performance. Things just get better as the set progresses and “Life Cycles” ends things with a large pit opening and the majority of the audience jumping around and singing. (7)

Starting 10 minutes late due to technical difficulties during their sound-check, it seems that the odds were stacked against Bury Tomorrow, with the packed out Monster Energy stage getting impatient. However, the moment Bury Tomorrow launch “Lionheart” all of those problems are forgotten, what follows is 35 minutes of sheer chaos. Dani Winter-Bates proves himself to be one of the best Metalcore front-men around, commanding the crowd with ease getting a huge circle pit going for “An Honourable Reign” and fans to get on their friends shoulders during “Redeemer”. Bury Tomorrow continue to prove that they could be the next big thing in the British Metalcore scene. (9)

Playing one of his final shows with Devil Sold His Soul front-man Ed Gibbs is incredibly emotional tonight, even coming close to tears on more than one occasion. This emotion only adds to the impact of Devil Sold His Souls Progressive Metalcore. Its a shame the band are playing on the Tiger stage as it really limits the amount of people who can see them. They have such a dynamic sound with songs varying from heavy, poundings riffs and screams to almost hauntingly beautiful moments. Its an emotional send off for Ed Gibbs and brings this chapter of Devil Sold His Soul’s career to a close in a perfect way. (9)

Back on the Monster stage Memphis May Fire were busy getting their crowd jumping with their fairly standard Metalcore. Its not that they are bad, but after seeing bands like Bury Tomorrow destroy this stage earlier in the day Memphis May Fire just seem dull. It doesn’t help that Matty Mullin’s stage banter just seems very arrogant, referring to himself as “the voice of a generation”. They are easily one of the most forgettable bands of the day. (6)

Finally its up to Your Demise to bring things to a close on the Monster stage. Being a late addition to the line up probably didn’t help them as their crowd was considerably smaller than Memphis May Fire’s, but this didn’t stop them from ending the day on the best way possible. Your Demise are known for getting lots of stage divers during their gigs but with a huge security pit this seemed unlikely. That was until Ed McRae invites fans to fill up that area and begin stage diving. “Born A Snake” see’s the fans lucky enough to get into the security pit flying from the stage and this seriously annoys security but is a great spectacle. With the news that Your Demise are playing their final year as a band its clear that they are going to be missed within the hardcore scene. “The Kids We Used To Be” is just the perfect way to end things with the entire crowd singing along as well as moshing and crowd-surfing. Before the song Ed reminds the fans that having fun is the most important thing at shows and no one in the audience could disagree tonight. When Your Demise play their final show next year it will be a real shame. But until then Your Demise will continue to remind people why they are one of the best UK Hardcore bands around. (9)