Pop punkers State Champs have released this acoustic version of Secrets with Popbuzz, this comes after announcing the upcoming release of their deluxe DVD edition of Around The World and Back, due out May 5th via Pure Noise Records. Of the acoustic performance the band had the following statement to make:
“Secrets is not only near and dear to us because it was the first single off of Around the World and Back, but our love for the track has only grown with this acoustic rendition. Although our acoustic appearances are few and far between, Secrets was always a stand out, laden with 3-part harmony and chunky guitars, so it was only right that we recorded it for the deluxe edition of the record.”
Pre-order the DVD here and check out the trailer below if you haven’t caught it yet.
Pop punk’s newest heroes Waterparks showed they may be relatively new but they know how to start a show as they stormed their way through a set of crowd pleasers. Sharing their set between their EP Cluster and debut album Double Dare meant that the older tracks like Crave got a slightly louder sing-a-long but the performance never wavered. You’d hardly notice that some songs were still quite new to the band or the crowd. 7/10
Punk rock band SWMRS took to the stage next set to prove that it wasn’t just a pop punk night tonight. From the get go they were on overdrive, with head banging and foot stomping galore. The energy they fed into the crowd started the first noticeable jostling; the music seemed to be going down well too with a vast majority of the crowd pitching in with lyrics. 7/10
Quite literally kicking things off with Kicking and Screaming, All Time Low bounded out onto the stage to a deafening roar of approval from their fans. This might be a tour that is noticeably smaller than their last visit to the UK in which they played arena size venues, but from the impressive lighting rig to the packed out shows it’s clear this is no small date in the calendar. Bounding around the stage the guys show off their usual antics; there is much talk of penis’, women and Jack collects his standard amount of bras. Yet at the same time, everything feels new, the confidence, the energy, it all feels renewed. It could be coincidence, it could be to do with their recent signing to Fueled By Ramen but something has them bouncing that little bit higher tonight. Launching through an assortment of their hits; Weightless, Something’s Gotta Give and Kids In The Dark, to name but a few, everything feels polished and shiny. Whilst they are arguably a very different band to what they used to be, they’ve adapted and tried to accommodate old and new fans alike with a variety of songs from across their back catalogue.
With the upcoming album Last Young Renegade on it’s way imminently it was only fitting they play the first single off of it, Dirty Laundry. The only surprise was how well everyone in the crowd knew it, from an outside perspective it wouldn’t be apparent at all that it was a new song. Towards the end of the set Therapy made an appearance which had the entire crowd singing along to every word, quite a moving moment with old and new fans coming together on what is considered a bit of a classic for All Time Low. Rounding off the encore with Dear Maria, Count Me In was always going to end well and it was a real feel good affair with the crowd shouting every word and the band bouncing around with renewed vigor. Is this a band that has staying power? Definitely. Did they deliver? 100%. The banter might need some work but the performance is golden. 9/10
Following his top ten follow-up to 2015’s Blossom, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes have created a minor revolution. Having devastated pubs, clubs and now arenas around the world in Gallows, Pure Love and now “third time charm” The Rattlesnakes, Carter has demonstrated to anyone and everyone that he is quite probably the world’s best frontman. The Asylum date of the March leg of the Modern Ruin Tour only pushed that notion.
Coming out to a Birmingham crowd buzzing in anticipation seemed to amuse the frontman as he emerged, minutes after his bandmates had begun playing the Snake Eyes opening riff. He played through the song with aplomb without even hints at breaking a sweat despite the heat inside the venue before walking straight through the barrier and onto the bar in order to play the set standing above the crowd more intimately.
The announcement Modern Ruin’s title track came to great excitement of the pit enforcers hyping everyone up around the edge of the circle, yet Frank ordered everyone to pack out the front of the venue in order to allow any women to crowdsurf – a gesture applauded by all. The fear of getting dropped was obviously not present for the numbers of surfers, which is a very good sign of how good the atmosphere is. The audience looked up to The Rattlesnakes’ frontman both literally and metaphorically, and he was in total control to go on how he wanted.
The mid-set interlude came in the shape of a relaxed version of Jackals that played out with a burning calm menace before breaking out into the huge riff of Thunder to continue the madness in suitable style. It was obvious the band had no sense of letting off any of the energy they were channeling into the performance, and this carried through God Is My Friend and Fangs with the same demonic ferocity that makes The Rattlesnakes tick. The main body of the set was brought to an emotional close with the beautiful Neon Rust, with a large part of the audience crying and shouting along with Frank as he put his all into the song. They left the stage with the outro lead playing on a loop pedal for a few minutes until they were ready for more.
As the self-confessed “worst guitarist in the whole room”, it was clear from as soon as Carter walked out alone that Bluebelle would be the track of choice. The song was the only of the twenty-two on the band’s two albums where he has played an instrument and he didn’t disappoint. Opting to let the crowd sing it to focus on the guitar, the vocalist commented the crowd were “cheeky f***ers” for singing quietly to make his playing “more noticeable”. Honestly, it wasn’t well played but that added to the light-hearted atmosphere of the night.
With no break, Dean broke out into Lullaby which got the crowd fully going and pushed into Devil Inside Me with no break. During the bridge, Frank demanded everyone got on the floor and pulled out the 16 bars to closer to 72 to let it build, exploding in pure ferocity when it hit back in again. They then paused for Carter to mention that they “only normally would do one more song now” but they opted for two (as with a lot of the other dates so far on tour, it appears) to do two “because we f***ing can”, much to the audience’s delight. That added track was Paradise, during which Dean and Frank came out headwalking and played the last half of the song on top of the crowd before surfing back to the stage to finish up in the usual style: I Hate You sung at the top of everyone’s lungs.
Overall, a very classy show indeed. Carter remains one of the only people to be able to play a whole set in a full suit in Birmingham’s Asylum, and he did so with great gusto and a suave attitude. The Rattlesnakes are an incredibly dangerous live band and they are only destined to go on the rise from here.
With a long queue awaiting to get into Birmingham’s O2 Academy to see Lower Than Atlantis, it was clear that a lot of people had been awaiting the return of the Watford based alternative rock band.
Opening the show were pop punkers Roam. Although being first on the bill, the band were here to make a long lasting impression and Alex (vocals) kept up a high energy fuelled set keeping the whole crowd on their toes, pushing to the front and singing along at the top of their voices. Deadweight saw the first of the many crowd surfers amongst the fans and they even started up a circle pit which worked weirdly well considering the vibes. Finishing on Hopeless Cause, Roam had put on a good show and had certainly warmed the audience up for the rest of the evening’s entertainment. [8/10]
Up next were Hands Like Houses. Whilst the Australian sextet brought a lot of energy, the crowd didn’t seem as responsive as they did for Roam despite a lot of excitement for them pre-tour. The majority of their set was from their latest release ‘Dissonants‘ and this was preformed with absolute precision; everything from the instrumentals to the flawless vocals resulted in the band giving a really positive performance. The audience seemed to perk up a little too late though as they only got really involved in the last song with a clap and a sing-a-long. [7/10]
Young Guns came on stage to a beautifully lit area with LED’s lighting up the amps and creating an exciting vibe around the place. The crowd were definitely excited to see them play as cheers erupted when they burst into their first song ‘Mad World‘. Halfway through the set the band started playing ‘You Are Not‘ and instantly the room was alight with torches and phone screens setting a mellow mood for the crowd and enticing a sing-a-long. They put on a good show, but seemed to lack the all important energy on stage and this reflected with the crowd. They also let the room into a little secret that they’ll be back in September for a headline tour. [7/10]
Finally, the band that everyone had been waiting for, Lower Than Atlantis. They burst onto stage full throttle with ‘Had Enough‘ and ‘Dumb‘. After the crowd finally calmed down, Mike handed the vocal duties over to the room for “Emily” and just stood there with the biggest grin on his face whilst we watched every single person singing his words back at him. Mike then went on to explain that the band had only slept for a matter of “6 hours over the past 48 hours” and was somewhat an apology for the lack of singing, however they didn’t let it affect the energy that they put across – you wouldn’t have known otherwise. The further along the set the more you could hear Mike‘s voice struggle, but when the band went off for a breather and came back on for the encore, phone lights again lit the venue and both the whole band and the whole crowd sang along and created a breathtaking atmosphere. Overall, Lower Than Atlantis put on a brilliant set despite Mike’s vocal struggles but with the crowd stepping in when needed, it was totally worth it. [8/10]
Down in the basement of coffee shop/bar The Cookie in Leicester city centre is a tiny venue, with an astonishing sound and lighting system that makes great use of the space. Since The Charlotte closed down there has been a lack of 14+ venues in the Leicester area, but The Cookie serves this purpose well.
First up on Saturday night were the alt-rockers Wallflower, a group of five from South London. They started on a slow instrumental to introduce themselves. Right away it was clear that between them they were well rehearsed, and their timing was solid. However at first, it felt like the vocals were competing over the rest of the group, particularly as there were three guitars, but this was soon rectified. It did feel like three guitars was too much in some places. In the last track, the vocalist was having some issues with his guitar that were not obvious to the audience until he took it off, however the balance was a lot better with just two guitars and his part wasn’t missed.
Wallflower have great stage presence, but didn’t interact with the audience much. They had great instrumental seaways between songs, but the backing vocals let them down a little bit as they weren’t always in tune with the lead vocals. Wallflower could be seen later in the show in the crowd supporting Decade. Overall they played a solid set, providing a good first support act to warm the crowd up.
Next up were Big Spring, also from London. The bassist took his shirt off before the show even started, the room wasn’t warm though so clearly he was just trying to show off. It didn’t add anything to the performance whatsoever.
Just like Wallflower, the guitars overpowered the vocals at first. The vocalist had an impressive range; his lower tones sounded like Dave Grohl whereas his falsetto could rival Matt Bellamy. In some tracks there were clearly huge Radiohead influences too.
Big Spring are more cheerful than Wallflower, and are very riff based, with a few more indie and pop influences. This makes them different to most rock bands. The vocal harmonies were also great, they weren’t too overpowering. They interacted well with the audience and they had a great mix of heavier and more commercial songs in their set.
Finally, on came Decade, who had an incredibly polished performance right from the start. They had great stage presence and chatted to the audience in between songs, clearly enjoying themselves. They repeatedly praised their support acts, who could be seen in the audience too. Decade had a much more positive crowd reaction than Big Spring or Wallflower.
They played a mix of material from Good Luck and Pleasantries; the older material from Good Luck was more pop-punk based whereas the material from Pleasantries was more alternative, which still retaining Decade‘s individual sound. The interesting basslines provided a solid foundation for guitars and vocals. The newer material was much more dynamic than the old, however clearly there were crowd favourites from Good Luck, which clearly had influences from Yellowcard and A Day To Remember. Thrown into the mix was some indie too, proving that Decade are a very versatile band.
When Decade announced that it was their final song, the crowd sighed: they didn’t want the set to be over. Decade had saved the best for last, however, and ended on Daisy May.
A close quartered venue, a few awesome bands and a second night of sweaty people in Southampton having the time of their lives, Basement and Higher Power are looking to show off why they are such an exciting couple of bands in a very intimate setting.
Up first were mosh heavy group Higher Power (8) who are very unconventional for a hardcore band, especially if you come into them blind only knowing them as a hardcore group, but as they took to the stage they weren’t going to hold themselves back as they throw themselves into tracks such as ‘Burning’ to get the crowd pumped up beyond belief. Their music rang through the venue and made the crowd feel alive for the first band. Whilst it might take a while to get used to the vocals at some points, they add to the flavourful guitars in tracks like ‘Peace’ which only heighten their sound when you blend it with their latest song ‘Can’t Relate’ that was only released a few days before this show. If you were at both shows and weren’t a fan of the band by Day 1, you will have walked away tonight a happy camper and a new fan by Day 2.
It was pretty inevitable to know that Basement (9) was going to kill it two nights in a row, and boy howdy they brought the intensity up even higher. Opening up with ‘Aquasun’, the band made you feel like you we’re just back at the last show with the riffs powering down on you and the crowd reciprocating with their lungs protruding at full blast. The entire night was full of jam that you will be excited to see the band play, whether its their newer material from ‘Promise Everything’ or going back to their older material with songs such as ‘Crickets Throw Their Voices’ with hearing the crowd power through the words ‘I wish I could stay here’ filling the 150 capacity venue to a tee. With the massive amount of songs being played and the crowd not letting up at all, it is nice to see that they widen their set to include their eclectic discography with a lot of different tracks to focus on. You have the much more crowd pleasing vocal song as their closer with ‘Covet’ hearing the crowd reach the loudest they’ve ever been. After the dust settled, the night was closed on a positive note and cemented the band as one of the best the UK has to offer.