Posts tagged Gig

KISS @ The HMV Forum

4th July 2012

It’s not everyday that one of most worshipped and all time greatest American rock and roll bands head to the UK shores to perform. On 99% of said days, the seats of Wembley stadium, fields of Knebworth or 107,000 gatherers at Donnigton beckon for the loyal fans who would donate their left kidney for a comfortable position down stage front. Today was not one of those days as this very special charity show in aid of Help The Heroes was set to shake London Town to it’s foundations. Only 2,300 lucky (golden) ticket holders stood patiently on Kentish Town High Street as the overcast clouds threatened to empty their loads. Thankfully they had read the script and restrained, good job as the hundreds of painted faces (quickly skipping the lycra wearers) would have not have stood up well to a typical British summer shower.

KISS tees totally enveloped and circled the block and stretched back down towards the tube in the most epic (and organised…because were British  queue this side of the Vatican  To their credit once the flood gates opened and the HMV Forum doors flew wide it was a pretty swift journey to get in and take up position. A spot where I’d wait for another hour staring at the stage concealing curtain, yet somehow once here it didn’t seem to matter. With classic rock on the jukebox the sing-a-long atmosphere was already rife long before KISS finally made their eagerly awaited entrance.

KISS

And boy was it an entrance ! Fireworks (Indoors!!!) exploding from all angles, flames licking at their backs and those iconic costumes striking poses famous the world over. They are slightly early for Guy Faulkes night but I guess American Independence Day is also worth a few thousand pound worth of pyrotechnics. Despite downsizing from humongous stadium stages to the relatively speaking tiny Forum Stage, they somehow squashed in their full stadium set up with massively raised drum kit and soloing podiums, packed with more whizz bang trickery than a new years firework finale. Built from scratch they were elevated way higher than your usual headlining band, giving everyone a corking view (plus their stage’s in-built air conditioning fans had to go somewhere didn’t they?).

Although getting up and close with those costumes is not a sight for sore eyes. I was tallying up who had the worst deal and there was no clear winner. Demon Gene Simmons’s oversized outfit was a straight no, and Tommy’s Thayer lycra was too much, Eric Singers Cat whiskers were OK if you forget his leather collar and Paul Stanley’s bare mid rift had seen better days.

Yet there was one king of this band tonight and that was the Star Child Paul Stanley, whose voice hasn’t aged a day with a tremendous range which drove the outstanding chorus’s of the night. His stage presence was phenomenal and guitar work wasn’t half bad either. At every opportunity he was stoking the crowd and the KISS faithful with traditional salutes and phrases (I was non the wiser) which provoked huge cheers and retorts from the ecstatic fans.

Paul Stanley

With such a vast catalogue of hit singles it was a true greatest hits show tonight with only a single new tune Hell or Hallelujah from new LP Monster which was a modern KISS classic. From opener Detroit Rock City to closer Rock And Roll All Night via Deuce, Shout It Out Loud, Shock Me, Calling Dr. Love, Crazy Crazy Nights and Lick It Up the classic rock truly never stopped. Neither did the spectacular stage antics; Gene Fire Breathing, firework’s shooting out of guitar head stocks, entire drum kits lifted 15ft in the air, catherine wheels, bazooka launching fireworks and even more flames were simply showmanship at it’s best.

Bazooooka!!!!

But then what else were you to expect from a band whose been doing this for 38 years and can still sell out stadiums worldwide, let alone small London venues. An absolutely stunning evening of all round great entertainment the KISS titans showed the rest of the world how to rock and roll all night! All in the name of Charity too!

Put simply the best Gig  Ever!!!

 

Thrice @ The HMV Forum

12th May 2012
After being shunned in favour of a nice cup of tea and a few biscuits, I headed solo to the forum this evening. Only a very rare occasion could spark the deconstruction of the DoesItRock band of men. The last UK show of post-hardcore turned alt-rockers Thrice before an indefinite hiatus, qualifies double A* in this category.
Brontide
Mathy post rocking support band Brontide grasped their big chance a front of the packed out crowd. Now im not complaining, neither am I going soft with age…but hell they were loud!!! The bass was vibrating not only my clothes but I’m sure it was upsetting my heart rhythm. These moments of ultimate power were a stark contract to their intricate and innovative loop pedal driven melodies, super technical fretwork and sullen sparse breaks. Impressive and epic efforts, I’ll be sure to seek out this instrumental trio’s records, of they are half as good, I won’t be disappointed.

It has been a very long time since I first saw Thrice in Scranton PA. USA, as they headlined at the touring punk festival institution that is the Warped Tour 05. I’ll be the first to admit that I had no idea who they were and we only stopped to watch because they were on the stage closest to the exit. A came away that evening screaming their names from the highest towers as they were simply brilliant. Couldn’t tell you why, or what they sounded like, it was just great aggressive rock music.

Thrice

It’s an easy observations, but 7 years later on we have matured. Thrice have gone from angry punked youths to methodical prog tinged rockers. both veins given a run out this evening, the latter style kicking off the night with tunes from their latest album Major/Minor which showed their more restrained noise, but most expressive melodies. There is no questioning the quality and scope of tonight’s setlist, mainly because it was informally selected from by an online fan poll. Taking songs from each of their albums they covered angry riff driven metal/punk of early day albums Identity Crisis, The Illusion of Safety and The Artist in The Ambulance on numbers such as Phoenix Ignition and To Wake And Avenge The Dead and set highpoint eponymous The Artist In The Ambulance.

The crowd were at their most moshiest during these tunes, especially during some huge breakdowns (prime suspect Silhouette) which had even the most recently converted fans heads a wagging. The fans tonight were truly awesome, each opening chord, note or vocal this evening was met with a huge roar of “yeeeeeeeeees!!!”, followed by manic leaping and mouthing of each and every word. There was a sense of reverence and unhinged emotion in the air, for this was possibly the last time Thrice would ever set foot on a UK stage again.

Musically the band played their part too. Vocalist/guitarist Dustin Kensrue was on top form who in combo with lead axeman Teppei Teranishi created a glorious racket of clashing riffs , mellow atmospherics and angst fuelled thunderous power chords. When they decided sharpen their the progressive edge and revisit albums Vheissu and their Alchemy Indices I-IV, beautiful brutality and caressing sound scapes were never far behind. Tracks such as the dreamy Red Sky and the cataclysmic Firebreather showcasing the best efforts.

Thrice played on through an epic length of time extending the track list to 24 songs in just under 2 hours, returning for not 1 but 2 encores, the latter where they played their first ever single T&C’s. A brilliantly palm muted duelling guitar riffed melody which launched into a full-on energy and thrust that extracted the final reserves of the fans long exhausted voices providing the final chance to dance (I say dance, I mean bounce/clash).

Taking a collective bow Thrice bowed out of the UK on a high, when/if they return is a question for another day. Tonight all that mattered is, we were there!

Little Comets @ Scala

27th April 2012
Scala was buzzing as the rip off alarm bells rang at the bar as we schooched into the main arena to catch tonight’s support, The 1975.
Turns out we needn’t have bothered, such was their lacklustre efforts, poor repetitive melodies and copycat scenester sound. Lolloping about stage lead singer was totally un-engaging and lethargically uninspiring. When a song is held together on 4 notes, it shows either genius riff-meister general or an un-inventive sleeping pill substitute…the latter being the case here.
The 1975
Leaving the 70’s behind never to grace these ears again, we move swiftly onto the Little Comets. Their stage setup was interesting to say the least as they swung a rope across the stage with a multitude of instruments hanging along its drooping length. Presumably they all have bad backs limiting their ability to bend down which is odd given their fresh faces. Youthful exuberance and wide eyed giddy melodies combined throughout the set, resulting in
the high point of the evening on pop classics such as Joanna and Adultery jangling with their bright afro-guitars and soft smooth vocals.

Little Comets

Beyond the handful of singles there was little more tunes to recommend. One album and an unreleased EP of pretty similar sounding material was their eventual downfall. Despite changing tempo (mainly slowing) the variety was seriously lacking, eventually leading to yawning and mind meanders. So plenty of work still to be done and plenty of time to cement their status as headliners, which in my opinion has come one album to soon.

So overall Little Comets did not hit the highs expected of their lively pop antics, all in all…It’s A Cosmic Shame.

Motion City Soundtrack @ XOYO – (2 Nights / 4 Albums)

19th-20th April 2012

Motion City Soundtrack – Two Nights, Four Albums 

Greeted with an almighty queue at XOYO we were slightly surprised to find a packed basement venue, a whole lot smaller than anticipated. Quite frankly it’s tiny for a band of Motion City Soundtrack standard. It did however make us feel rather lucky that we had tix to such a special series of shows. Two Nights, Four Albums, a titanic feat, only attempted once before in their hometown of Minneapolis MA. Being able to witness one of my favourite bands up so close playing every song they have committed to LP was a classic in the making.

Arriving spritely, their first set comprised of a pretty manic run of album number 1, I Am The Movie. A predominantly upbeat, punked album full of euphoric sing-alongs, huge electro hooks and contagious guitars. They had a lot to get through so lead singer Justin Pierre barely paused for the now customary (at such events) insider tit bits on the songs. Something he later fessed up as being because he had no idea what they were originally about. One of the only comments I can recall were that he wanted to get the words no-stick frying pan into a song. This goes some way to explaining their fun outlook and ridiculous lyrics.

Early material which best stood the test of time were the signature single The Future Freaks Me Out, exhilarating electro Don’t Call It A Comeback and joyous straight up pop punked Red Dress.

Motion City Soundtrack

Being one of our long term favourite albums here at DiR.net Commit This To Memory, part 2 of 4 was never going to be anything but stratospheric. With greater songwriting prowess and upped pop swagger, these songs mixed up synths, heartfelt verse, attacking power chords and more nonsensical lyrics to up the ante once more. This album showed a lot more of their sombre side with an influx of semi-ballads such as the lyrical conundrums of LGFUAD and the melodramatic Resolution. Best of the rest included the spritely Everything Is Alright and synth loaded Time Turned Fragile.

Singer Justin was clearly revealing in being amongst his admirers, although after stating he’s sticking around to meet everyone (both nights), he added that he would not actually speak. Not massively unexpected given he had just roared 2 albums worth of material in a little under 2 hours.

Returning a little wiser/earlier on night 2 meant we had a much better vantage point to enjoy the continuation of the series. Again wasting little time MCS took to their third album, Even If It Kills Me with reckless abandon. For me this was their strongest album, as it showcased the best of their sound. Hook heavy pop (This Is For Real), driving synths (Fell In Love Without You) and increased bonkers lyrical content (Point of Extinction). With amore complex instrumentations, many melody mash-ups and greater variety, this set never tired, thus getting my nod for best of the 4.

It was during this album that Justin first found it tough going in recalling the lyrics. MCS songs are noted for their verbose vocal sheets and the fact he only required the words on a couple of tunes throughout all 4 albums is remarkable.

Which sadly brought us to the final album, My Dinosaur Life. Being our least favoured LP this was surprisingly great. Taking on a bright, optimistic and upbeat persona each tune was instantly likeable and had a tendency to root deep in the brains melody centre. The best being the rawkus Disappear, acoustic strummer Stand Too Close and Hysteria which cause said emotion throughout the front quarter of the crowd.

What made this series of shows stand out greater than the sum of its vast parts was the intimate setting and the immense crowd reciprocation, every lyric, every line, every song, every melody.  Although the sheer sardine nature of stage front meant any kind of exuberant dance pogo effort was reduced to an amusing gentle swaying.

Justin Pierre

Motion City Soundtrack stand alone in attempting a feat such as this series of shows. Their recreation of 48 songs, many long forgotten, shows their love for playing live and in the process giving their fans a night to remember. I can decree, they succeeded! A fantastic 2 nights which lit up Shoreditch.

Pulled Apart By Horses & The Computers @ The Electric Ballroom

Pulled Apart By Horses & The Computers  @ Electric Ballroom

23rd Februray 2012

Mr Flowers has fallen sadly behind the times over recent months, as evidenced by his album backlog stretching back to the summer of 2011. But thankfully his desire for live bands hasn’t faltered. So as we settle doan at The Worlds End for the Camden pre-pint ritual, it’s no shock to learn Flowers has no idea who is supporting. “The Computers! Wow! I didn’t know that! that’s awesome!!“, cue reminiscence on how we sadly missed them at Camden Crawl 2011 and how he still hasn’t heard their debut LP (no surprises there then). No time to waste then as we struck out, eager not to miss out, which turned out slightly enthusiastic given the first support slot went unfilled. All of a sudden the PA system flicked, circa 1955, retro rock and roll blaring…this signaled the imminent arrival of The Computers.

Band uniform’s are an overlooked weapon in the style arsenal as coolness tends to trump novelty. The Computers, fully clad in white shirts and trousers looking a bit like fellow garage rockers The Hives, embrace it. It’s rare to witness something genuinely unique and I am stumped to think of another band who have taken vintage rock n’ roll and blues and channeled it through hardcore punk to create the “Hardcore Blues”.

The Computers

Niche? yes. Good? absu-bloody-lutely! High octane throaty yelps, mixed up over clean backing vocals with riotous guitars thrashing out blues by-numbers melodies make a contagious combination. They play with force and confidence, bounding about stage barely confined by the lengths their instrument cables will take them. Lead vocalist especially has itchy feet as he played from atop of the speakers, on the barrier stage front and more impressively from 50ft back in the crowd. With the cables strung high by some thankfully tall fans acting as makeshift pylons the crowd closed a tight circle around him buzzing in the energy on display. The crowd themselves had seemingly endless energy tonight which made for a corking show. you know when a 20ft circle pit opens up for the support band, you know it’s gonna be one of those nights that you feel lucky to escaped bruising.

Their short sharp 3 minute blasts of inferno blues guitar and rootin’ tootin’ honky tonk piano punk were just stunning, their best being the thrusting “Music Is Dead” and soundtrack to a bar room brawl “Rhythm Revue“. Look out for these boys, they play hard, fast and take no prisoners…just how we like it!

After such a grand opening, it was a tough task to trump. Yet Pulled Apart By Horses went about the task, bit between snarling teeth, as they cranked up the ante one more notch. The crowd again didn’t waste any time in forming smash pits even bigger than before, causing carnage and chaos throughout the entire set. PABH’s alt-metal thunder was epic tonight; their hulking great guitar riffs and giant pounding drums were each on top form.

They plucked plenty of material from their newly release album Tough Love which despite its recent addition to their catalogue sparked furious sing-a-long and energetic reactions from where I was standing. Although it was slightly slower in tempo, their melodies were much wider in scope giving their tunes an added depth. Especially as the big wind-up release guitar rockets are still abundant, yet lie deeper into their songs. Lead single “V.E.N.O.M.” the pick of the newbie’s, unleashed frenzied vocals and an unstoppable melee of fret runs, crescendo’s and breakdowns.

Pulled Apart By Horses

Of course the first album favourites succeeded in unleashing the greatest crowd lunacy, resulting in a twisted sea of bodies enveloping over half of the venue. Set closer “High Five Swan Dive Nose Dive” started a chaotic riot, “The Crapsons” sparked grown men to sing at one another and  “I Punched A Lion In The Throat” with its Zepp’ riffs and calls of “Ultimate Power”  is befitting for one of the best and most powerful live bands around. Their confidence has been buoyed since the last time we witnessed them, if they have been getting this kind of reception up and down the country the it’s easy to see why.

The guys even had time to throw in a Nirvana cover at the death, “Tourettes” which suited their dirty fuzzed guitars and ear pummeling ethos. Tonight was the best show I’ve been at for quite some time. Madness reigned, but ultimately that’s what made it so addictive!

The Virginmarys and The Trews @ The Garage

6th February 2012

Our first band of the night had something of a personality crisis. To the un-informed this foot stomping fuzzed up blues trio kicked off as Mad Dog, playing some perky little riffs leaning heavily on the led zep wall of sound. But by mid set their vocalist/lead guitarist announced “As you know we have changed names” we are now called Born Mad. Was news to me, but thankfully their name change didn’t change the path of this really bright set of catchy numbers driven by enigmatic vocals and bold blues riffing with the occasional wandering voyage into trip-out psychedelia.

Mad Dog/Born Mad (or as Trews guitarist thought…Porn Mag!)

Far from being a “new” band, The Trews have been on my stereo since their brilliant 2003 debut “House of Ill Fame“, which still ranks as one of my favourites. Not forgetting they were nominated for ‘New Group of the Year’ at the 2004 Juno Awards! To see them subbing on the bill in a new music showcase is rather disappointing, but I have to count blessings as this is the first time I’ve managed to get to one of their precious few London shows.

The Trews

Showcasing their straight up non-nonsense, chorus driven pop, rock and roll, The Trews won many new friends this evening. Their songwriting was a clear head and shoulders above the rest of the night’s bands, providing thunderous guitars, immensely catchy sing-a-long moments and a fizzing lead guitar solos too boot. Songs such as the corking rocker “Misery Loves Company“, and the swaggering “So She’s Leaving” showed their talent for penning great riffs, while vocal centric bluesy strutters “Not Ready To Go” and “Poor Old Broken Hearted Me” had infectious melodies stamped all over them.

Their experience was evident as they inherently went off script with extended guitar solo’s (for which John Angus MacDonald routinely took up central stage rock god positioning,) intimate crowd/band banter and whole hearted crowd participation antics led by front man Colin MacDonald. These tunes were simply huge for a tiny venue such as this, but then after years of playing shows in their native Canada, this should not have been a surprise. Essentially this was a fantastic set of rousing popped up rock, all I’d hoped it would be.

Tonight’s headliners The Virginmarys are in fact making quite a name for themselves. After we caught them at the Forum supporting Ash in 2011, we couldn’t get enough, hence we back for more. The second blues trio of the night had a tough bill to top, but they set about their task with vigor and passion. The great thing about them is that they are so eminently watchable. With three excelling musicians on display from the driving bassist, the ecstatic drummer who smashed the skins with severe warrior like blows and the hazy front man on guitar and vocals piling on the riffs and saturating the air with rough and ready vocals, careering from deep and soulful to range busting howls.

The Virginmarys

Each song steeped in the blues managed to grab either the attention with either a cracking vocal melodies or a treat from their over-stocked arsenal of rawkus guitar licks. all hot and bothered “Bang, Bang, Bang“. A surefire hit already within the rock scene, let’s hope the Virginmarys go on to deliver the debut album we’re all waiting for!

Heaven’s Basement @ The Borderline

21st December 2012

As a little pre-Christmas gift from Heaven’s Basement, the boys decided to put on a donation only charity gig for Teenage Cancer Trust at The Borderline. Fresh from recording out in LA post signing a deal (hurrah!!! Finally!!!), they took this opportunity to test out some of their new material. Although, not before the supports had sufficiently warmed up the crowd.

Raven Vandelle

Raven Vandelle are a brummy Alt-Rock band who like a good detuned guitar riff or two. Songs were solid and the vocalist was pretty, good blasting out some impressive highs and rocker growls, yet there was something missing. The sparks failed to ignite their songs, as it felt everytime they should have cranked up one more notch, a slow grooved melodic guitar solo appeared. Mostly mid tempo was where they were at their best, but their lack of urgency faltered them. Promise shown, a little more work on the live set required.

Dear Superstar

A ha…Dear Superstar…we meet again! It was third time lucky tonight as i confess to really enjoying their set. Probably because their cocky front man got down to doing what he’s employed to do, sing! Less posing and more power in both their ethos and guitar work has paid dividends. Kicking in some flashy duelling guitar lines while retaining a melodic post-hardcore feel, gave their new songs a lift, showing them to be a pretty damn good rock muscle machine. Vast improvements have been shown by this band, their transformation is remarkable.

Dear Superstar

Back from LA, the laid back sunshine state has taken away none of their enthusiasm as they fire straight back into action with Tear Your Heart Out, leading the charge. The venue had filled up considerably as a swollen sea of faces had arrived for doesitrock.net favourites Heaven’s Basement. Fledgling singer Aaron has come along way since his last performance. He was assured, confident and assertive as he strutted around stage with vigour and purpose (he even managed a stage dive late on).  But yet again his vocals didn’t feel strong enough to overpower a Marshall backed assault, yet through the softer moments his voice shined (despite his hair not resembling a cross between Toploader and the hair bear bunch).

Heaven’s Basement

The most surprising vocals of the night go to superstar axe man Sid Glover (who’s up for a Pure Rawk Award 2012 alongside Drummer Chris Rivers!!), when his snarling tongue got to grips with the sleazy thunder roaring number Paranoia. I would even go so far as to say they were best vocals of the night! Backing this claim he sung another new tune brilliantly, showcasing his vocal prowess even further.

Sid Glover

The new tunes aired this evening had a definite bluesy swagger to them, such as the slightly oddball lyric’d Green Elephant. Its foot stomping riffs and soaring vocals showed a slightly more mature sound…although the flaring guitar solo was unmistakably another HB classic.

Aaron Buchanan

So their new songs sound great, their image has been overhauled, they have signed a record deal with Red Bull Records, their live shows are as kick ass as ever…finally the Heaven’s Basement boys are starting to fulfill their potential. Look out! As they ready themselves to unleash a well overdue assault on the UK Hard Rock crown!

Frank Turner @ Hammersmith Apollo

27th November 2011

Two very different acts were in the supporting bill this evening, one mellow one manic! The beautiful Aussie folk of Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo was up first. 4 striking ladies stood caressing evocative melodies from their instruments of choice. Most combinations of cello violin and guitar and voices are bound to be harmonious and these girls were no exception. Their  catchy little tunes were rather good easy listening ditty’s, pleasing all the plus ones in the house (of which there were many). The second support was a swing in the opposite direction, towards Turner’s younger anarchic punk days. Not one for the faint hearted/un-initiated.

Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo

Against Me! proclaimed as one of Frank’s most idolised punk bands came out kicking and screaming with all gun blazing making one hell of a guitar fuelled storm. Their recent records have been polished pop rock efforts with soarer chorus’s…tonight it was back to their punk roots as they barely took breath between songs all night. They crammed an improbable amount of high octane material into the set, providing a rockin’ runaway train which never stopped a rollin’.

Their fast, loud and loose ethic was the polar opposite of Barker that initially only engaged the hardcore punk fraternity stage front. By the end, even those plus ones were toe tapping (well some of them…generally while covering their ears).

As this is the fifth time of watching Frank, You would think I’d pretty much covered all of what he has to offer. Granted the usual courageous chorus of crowd voices singing every word was here in full force, as was his beautifully honest sentiment and superbly arranged live versions. For tonight I’m focusing on what was different and new in his repertoire, the evolution which keeps his band of followers coming back for more.

Not content to sit back on his laurels frank has continually improved his shows and his songs. He aired a new unreleased song called Cowboy Chords just because he thought it was time to play it. It was an emotional and sparce tune set to one acoustic guitar that showed off his prolific songwriting spirit and desire to play live music! His reworking of old tune Fathers Day was beautifully poignant and desolate, more in line with the sombre lyrical content.

Frank Turner

As expected he plucked a fair few tunes from his latest album, songs which were destined for venues such as this. Huge arrangements of multi-instrumental melodies were frequently backed by Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo adding a soft backing chorus of sweet vocals. Against Me! Even joined in on Franks atheist gospel song Glory Glory Hallelujah. This song was probably the biggest polarising point of the night. His spirited speech on religion (or non-religion in his case), was rather preachy, almost as if he was here to convert the fans to his beliefs.

He told us of him sitting outside on the steps of this very venue, dreaming of playing it one day. Usually this ‘I was like you’ nonsense is nothing more than a ploy to get the crowd in their corner. But with Frank I am absolutely inclined to believe him. He does not mix his words, and the ones he chooses are straight from the heart. He came…he rocked…he conquered Hammersmith.

Rise Against, The Nightwatchman @ Brixton Academy

9th November 2011

Set against the foreboding backdrop of social inequality, student protests. grave economic uncertainty & growing Occupy movements. Tonight’s Brixton Academy line-up was about as fitting as they come! Headliners Rise Against, themselves bastions of a free and just society, were mere pretenders when faced with the politically prosed legends due to support their good cause on stage tonight.

Polar Bear Club

Polar Bear Club despite not falling into this category, did remarkably well at packing the venue by a little after doors. They had the soaring melodies to pack a big punk punch, but the vocals were slightly too distorted from where I was standing. This assured performance was met with equal amounts of love and indifference (split down the age divide).

The Nightwatchman

No sooner than reports of his earlier exploits of playing impromptu songs on the steps of St. Pauls for the gathered Occupiers, were streaming off the Evening Standard printers. All round political warrior and guitar hero Tom Morello stepped out to a bulging Brixton crowd as his acoustic wielding alter-ego The Nightwatchman. Singing self proclaimed ‘World Wide Rebel Songs‘ Tom was an enigmatic presence towering over his pointed folk rock. The tunes themselves were as simple and catchy as campfire ditty’s with the crowd being given sing-a-long moments at a rapid fire pace.

Special Guest Billy Bragg

Tom even invited a few special guests to sing alongside him onstage. Both Tim & Zach of Rise Against and a man he was clearly overwhelmed by, British political punk poet legend Billy Bragg. With only a handful of morello signature guitar solos and a single taking from RATM’s Renegade’s (Ghost of Tom Joad) this was the Nightwatchman’s night.

Rise Against

Rise Against returned as a full compliment to almighty roars from the stoked up fans. Their punk rock left no room for seatbelts tonight. This was a full tilt exhilarating parade of powerful guitars, infectious chorus chants and sublime melodies. The sound inside the academy tonight was truly gigantic, often drowning out the husky throaty rasps of vocalist Tim McIlrath .

Picking the setlist from albums new to old in equal measure, they pleased every gathered face in abundance. Proving their hardcore roots, they threw in plenty of relentlessly paced circle pit igniters such as Heaven Knows and Survive alongside more recent pop glossed offerings Architects and Satellite.

To their credit Rise Against were not preachy, yet they spoke with gusto and a collective enigmatic spirit that filled the heart with pride and honour. This was none more evident than on the acoustic double header of Swing Life Away and the poignant anti-war anthem Hero of War. The latter sparked an almighty emotional crowd outpouring of voices, minds and love.

If only every crowd were as joyous, if every line-up as committed to the good fight, the world would be a much better place for all. Not to mention one that truly rocks!

The Rapture @ KoKo

3rd November 2011

For a band of The Raptures influence, widespread appeal and substantial fan base it was with confusion that we arrive in Camden tonight. For we were not headed to The Roundhouse, neither The Electric Ballroom. Instead we’re greeted with the words ‘Sold Out’ plastered over the foyer of KoKo as we sought refuge from the harshly precipitous London Skies. This venue seems to get smaller with every visit and tonight was no different, stocked to the guilds with disco Derek’s and indie Irene’s. As it turns out the venue and the supply of reasonably priced (& chilled) beer were not the only things in short supply tonight.

The non publishing of their ‘Special Guests’ certainly got the crowds in early with the possibility of a one off unmissable performance. Not until you are over the threshold and beyond the ‘No Re-Entry’ signs is the secret revealed. The special name emblazoned on the lineup posters read…’Citizens’. Who? Clearly this was a shameless attempt by KoKo to get the punters in. As much as I like to bait the HMV Forum, at least they always display the set times outside. plus their beer is somehow cheaper and not poured haphazardly from lukewarm cans.

Citizens

After hearing Citizens soft high pitched vocalist from the bar I was surprised to find a bloke camouflaged as 80’s retro wallpaper. His homeogenous vocals fit their simple but uncannily catchy electro melodies and energised indie pop. Youthful and fresh, these guys music was mature way beyond their juvenile years. Combining uplifting melodies and repeatum clean guitar riffs they put in a solid performance.

The Rapture

From the get go, The Rapture‘s effortlessly cool vibes washed over the gently swaying crowds. Their sharpened clattering post punk guitar riffs combined with the kind of drumlines which tap subliminally into your feet, forcing them to dance dance dance!

New material was well received, it’s poppy angles and hook heavy vocal harmonies sending rolling waves of laid back coolness. The age old indie weapon, ‘the cow bell’ was particularly effective tonight at getting us all to strut our funky stuff.

It was the older classics which packed the most clout with The Gang if Four styled Echoes, party starter Whoo! Alright – Yeah…Uh Huh and the House of Jealous Lovers that gave birth to the cool indie dance-punk machine.

It was soon after these got their plays that The Rapture retired for a ‘well earned’ break. A 45 minute set…ok, that’s cool because that irritating poster said its a 2 hour performance. One song later and the sound of dismayed punters was clearly audible over the PA as the lights went up and we got booted out! Now I’ve been to quite a few of these shindigs before and I know 51 minutes for a headline set is pretty damn short! With a stunned feeling of injustice burning deep inside we headed for home.

The Rapture despite their shortened efforts formed a fantastic pocket of cool disco inflected indie in Camden tonight.