| Sputnikmusic
 

The night of Sunday March 28 was a busy one in Melbourne town. Over 100,000 rev-heads had just got high on the exhaust fumes of the Australian Grand Prix and were now looking for somewhere to have dinner… A Greek festival had shut down an entire city street… The Melbourne International Comedy Festival seemingly had over 100 shows in bars & clubs… And Brand New were wowing a loyal audience at The Palace Theatre. However, my choice for the night was the Welsh double bill of Lostprophets & The Blackout, both of whom were long overdue a visit down under. 

A half-hour delay in opening the doors is never a positive, but it’s even less so when rain is threatening and the majority of the queue are made to wait in a rather pongy alley. Upon entry into Billboards, the timeliness did not improve since Mrs. Boy & I had ample time to purchase a shirt & down 2 terribly over-priced beverages each. The roadies were doing their usual thing, as were their sons. Oh, hang on a tick; that was the local (Sydney) support band Tonight Alive…..

Most pundits at the venue had no idea there was even going to be a local support (it was announced a week before the show) & you could almost feel the groans when the kids (the drummer looked about 12) came out to play. Thankfully, the mood picked up when the lead vocalist appeared. Taking a huge leaf out of the Paramore playbook, the quintet provide sturdy, melodic pop-punk hooks as a backdrop to the impressively strong vocals of teenage front-woman Jenna McDougall. Grounded & affable, Jenna comes off a little ditzy (she forgot words a couple of times & struggled with the order of the setlist) but never had trouble penetrating through the music & connecting with the audience. They filled out their half-hour slot easily (including a Rufio cover) & were a fantastic start to the evening. Exciting times could well be ahead for Tonight Alive. If you would like to check out a few of their songs, you can do so at www.myspace.com/tonightalive.

A little strangely, the talk I had overheard earlier in the night suggested that not many at the venue knew much about Welsh sextet The Blackout. When co-vocalist Sean Smith maniacally screamed out the opening refrain to set opener ‘ShutTheF**kUppercut’, I think I saw a number of girls in the audience take cover in the queue to the female toilets! From there, The Blackout settled down (relatively speaking) to their melodic & accessible post-hardcore sound, with almost all of the attention being paid to Smith & cohort Gavin Butler. I was actually a little surprised at Smith’s singing, which was really good on the tracks that didn’t call for his scream.

 Come the mid-way point of the set, it seemed as if everyone had been won over… If not by the music, then by Smith’s curiously forthright & endearing stage banter. A visit to the crowd during the heavy ‘We’re Going To Hell… So Bring the Sunblock’ incited the moshers, while ‘This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’, ‘Top of the World’ & ‘Save Ourselves (The Warning)’ followed to raise the sing-along factor. With the audience hanging on every word, Smith even managed to make everyone get down on their knees during ‘Save Ourselves’ (apart from one sole protestor, who looked suspiciously like SputnikMusic’s own Adam Knott), for a literally crowd-raising finale. Finally, ‘I’m A Riot, You’re A F**king Riot’ closed things off appropriately, summing up The Blackout’s live show; Heavy, catchy & FUN!

It was then time for the headline act; Lostprophets. Awkward opener ‘If It Wasn’t For Hate, We’d Be Dead By Now’ got things off to a slow start, while the following ‘It’s Not The End of the World’ suffered from the music being mixed too high for vocalist Ian Watkins to get over. It is a pattern I am noticing way too often these days; when a band get successful enough to play some arena shows, they struggle to get the mix right when they go back to doing clubs (Billboards has a capacity of about 1,000). Of the opening 6 or 7 songs, only crowd favourite ‘Burn Burn’ was suited by the louder mix, so it was a rather disappointing first half-hour for yours truly. If anything, the energy of keys/synth player & backing vocalist Jamie (I’m not the chef) Oliver was holding the show together. 

Fortunately, when the band eventually pulled things back with mid-set tracks such as ‘Can’t Catch Tomorrow’, ‘Last Summer’, ‘A Town Called Hypocrisy’ & the anthemic ‘Where We Belong’, they had finally hit their stride. ‘Last Train Home’ & ‘Rooftops’ were sing-alongs of epic proportions, while new single ‘For He’s A Jolly Good Felon’ and surprise inclusion ‘Everyday Combat’ also impressed. The distinctive guitar riff & turntable scratching of closer ‘Shinobi vs. Dragon Ninja’ also pleased the loyalists, although the set still had gaping holes since the likes of ‘Wake Up’, ‘We Are Godzilla, You Are Japan’ & ‘DSTRYR/DSTRYR’ were not played. The lack of anything resembling an encore was also a little bit of a downer. 

Overall, it was a really fun night with the two support bands both impressing, and the headline act getting by on the quality of their back-catalogue. 36 hours later & I’m still struggling a little with my hearing & in need of sleep from the 12:30am finish… Wouldn’t have it any other way!





DaveyBoy
03.30.10
I write too much. This was supposed to be 5 paragraphs tops.

Knott-
03.30.10
I AM A ROBOTTTTTT

FUCK YEAH AREA 15 ARE SUCH A GOOD BAND

;)

DaveyBoy
03.30.10
Tomorrow's Headline: Serial stalker Adam Knott follows The Blackout around the world!

DaveyBoy
03.30.10
And if anyone is Paramore inclined (hi tiesthabind) & want to check out a song or 2 from Tonight Alive, you can do so at:

www.myspace.com/tonightalive


Knott-
03.30.10
Next day's headline: Underworked journalist follows Adam Knott and The Blackout round the globe.

Day after's headline: Massive conga line formed as journalists report a chain of stalking incidents.

mutatedfreek
03.30.10
Cool write up. Still need to hear me some Blackout.

bloc
03.30.10
SHUTTHEFUCKUPPERCUT

DaveyBoy
03.30.10
More conga lines need to start at gigs. Was next to a fella at the Big Day Out festival who suggested it to a few guys. They first looked at him strangely & then thought "WTF" as they set off knocking people over.

Hurry up Rosco, you are worse than me. Their set was unsurprisingly 'The Best In Town' heavy. Hint hint.

mutatedfreek
03.30.10
So get The best in town?

DaveyBoy
03.30.10
bloc, that was the best song title of 2009 imo.

tiesthatbind
03.30.10
Oh my, this is a DaveyBoy blog, I would never have guessed.

I'll check out the band's MySpace later, but the most relevant question of course is: Is the frontwoman hot?

GnarlyShillelagh
03.30.10
The Blackout is so terrible.

AmericnZero02
03.30.10
A nice addition (for me) would have been Watkins making an appearance for "It's High Tide Baby!" That song's klnd of a guilty pleasure of mine.

DaveyBoy
03.30.10
You make the decision ttb... I even provided you with a pic.

Good point Zero. I hadn't thought of that. When The Blackout played their song that uses the lead singer of You Me At Six, he did mention the contra between those 2 bands, but nothing about Watkins' contribution. They did play 'It's High Tide Baby' too.

tiesthatbind
03.30.10
Ah, yes you did, I didn't really read the article very much, just went straight to the posts, so I missed that.

DaveyBoy
03.30.10
Ugh, I'll never understand why you people comment without reading.

tiesthatbind
03.30.10
I usually read the whole thing, just not this time. I only read the LostProphets part since I didn't know the others.

DaveyBoy
03.30.10
Is that why no-one is yet to say: I can't believe you didn't go to Brand New instead!

Knott-
03.30.10
No they just know you well enough :p

Jim
03.30.10
so did mrs. boy enjoy herself, davey?

AliW1993
03.30.10
sounds like a cool show, nice write up davey :-)

Skimaskcheck
03.30.10
Kinda makes me wish us lowly users could write-up shows too haha

AliW1993
03.30.10
^123^

DaveyBoy
03.30.10
"No they just know you well enough :p" LOL. Guilty, you're honour. I did think about going to Brand New, but when the clash arose (& especially when The Blackout were added), my decision was made. Brand New's gig has got a lot of mixed reviews... A LOT!

"so did mrs. boy enjoy herself, davey?" I believe so. I know she was impressed by Tonight Alive. She's even harsher on vocalists being drowned out than I am, so she had issues with LP initially as well.

Thanks Ali... While this format is great for event coverage, I'd suggest it can still somehow be done around a list.

Captain Civic
04.01.10
I saw the Brisbane show. We didn't get through the doors until 7:30, and there was plenty of time to purchase a T-shirt, sausage roll and have a seat before the first band took to the stage. I'm personally intolerant of supporting bands; when I buy a ticket, I want to see the band printed on the blasted thing. Admittedly, Tonight Alive won me over towards the end of their setlist after the vocalist's shaky start, but as you mentioned, the likeness to Paramore prevents them from standing out to me.
I thought The Blackout were a great complement to lostprophet's sound; they were high energy, technically proficient and had fantastic stage presence. The antics of Sean Smith weren't appreciated by certain people as he egged on potential rough housers jokingly to a fist fight after the show before dissuading them with an off-stage bodyguard. Overall, I thought he came off as a tool, but he's got a lot of enthusiasm and he is an accomplished vocalist. Some others shared my opinion; in the literal crowd lifter "...Riot" song, a couple openly defied Smith by giving him the forks until he gave up on them.
lostprophets performed all of the songs you mentioned, except "Dstryr/Dstryr" was the third one played, where the band created a larger than normal gap towards the end of the song, garnering cheers before exploding back into the fray. Ian Watkins was rather amusing, pausing only several times between songs to have a chat with the audience and his keyboardist, which was genuinely entertaining. However, he opted to let the crowd sing his lyrics a little too often; I'm sure it's a heady blast of euphoria to hear a full room of strangers belt out the words to a song you wrote, but I don't go to concerts to hear other people sing.
Like you mentioned also, he tended to avoid the higher parts of certain songs, which was a little off-putting. In one song (I forget which one) he must have let the crowd sing once too often, since he began singing during a softer moment of the song, but began one beat too late, taking the instruments out of sync with his vocals. They corrected it after a few bars, but it was surprising to hear it.
However, they played a lot of favourites, perhaps only excluding "To Hell We Ride", to my chagrin. They were consistent and lively, whipping the audience into frenzied moshing and karaoke, most notably with "Rooftops", "Where We Belong," "Last Train Home", "A Town Called Hypocrisy" and "Last Summer."
Enjoyable overall, but next time let us in on time, and I really don't want to wait until 10:15pm to see the headliner on a weeknight. Some people work the next day, you know!


DaveyBoy
04.02.10
Nice write-up CC. It took me a while to get over the word "seat" though. You serious? These guys performed at a seated venue? Or was the seat at the bar?

I agree that Smith is always gonna rub a few people the wrong way with his antics. he initially had the crowd off-side in Melbourne, but won them over with not only his performance, but also a strange kind of honesty on the mic.

TBH, I didn't really notice Watkins not singing enough... Maybe I was having too much fun. Maybe his vocal mix wasn't high enough again & he semi gave up. Dunno. But like you say, LP now have a long line of hits to win the crowd over no matter what.

Captain Civic
04.02.10
Thanks. The seat was at the bar, yeah. They played at the Tivoley.

DaveyBoy
04.02.10
Phew, glad to hear.

Just reading around a few other places, anyone who seemed a casual fan were more impressed by The Blackout than Lostprophets. Wouldn't be surprised to see The Blackout on next years SoundWave Festival bill if it does not clash with recording for their next album.

Captain Civic
04.03.10
Yeah, to be honest I'm surprised they're not that well known. As much as I dislike Smith, they're great musicians.

DaveyBoy
04.03.10
Well, I tried to let everyone know halfway through last year when I reviewed 'The Best In Town' and then later named it my #3 album of 2009.

You need to be logged in to post a comment
Login | Register

FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy