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As hundreds of teenagers, mostly excitable girls, pour through the Academy doors I start to question whether this is really going to be my kind of thing… but by the time Fine Young Firecrackers start I realise that yes, this isn’t as aggressive as I’m used to but everyone has their guilty pleasures and mine is Emo. Whilst not the most dynamic band tonight they have some great songs with a lot of energy; unfortunately this jarred somewhat with the fact a lot of the band looked uncomfortable although you can understand this as vocalist Adam Campbell tells the crowd that this is easily the biggest gig they’ve played (although he seems the most relaxed of them). They do sound like the kind of band you’d see playing a pub venue, but good enough to be the headliners. Their songs are exactly what you’d hope for from a band such as this, catchy clean choruses with a bouncy pop-punk vibe. However, they don’t bring anything new or special to the table, unfortunately making them sound quite generic so about 5 songs into their set it starts to get a bit boring. They’re not a bad band, they play well and their songs have a nice charm to them but I think that with a bit of development they could do a lot better.
Tuesday 30th March 2010
Academy in Manchester, UK
After a short wait Mayday Parade arrive to liven things up, and they sure do! Zipping around onstage to their lighthearted pop-punk injected some great energy into the atmosphere. Although similar in style to the previous band their songs have some great structures, flitting between quieter moments to more exuberant bursts but always at times when it’s just right. They carry off their style not only with ease but they’re clearly having fun, especially guitarist Brooks Betts who seems to be having a whale of a time. Perfectly matching the build-ups in music comes vocalist Derek Sanders with a variety of infectious melodies that has everyone in the crowd singing along; they’re clearly well liked and you can see why. I’d never heard of this band before but as they close their set I’m sure I’ve discovered someone new to like and I wouldn’t be surprised if I wasn’t the only one.
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Reviews & Photography by Nicholas Dishington
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Throwing a bit, but not too much, variety into the mix come We Are The Ocean - a Post-Hardcore/Screamo band. With them comes a much more aggressive sound to the evening which I should have welcomed with open arms but the effort of screaming vocalist Dan Brown became too much. Straining his voice too much between shouting and running around he managed to sound more tired than angry. Nonetheless this intermittently fierce act add something a little bit different to the evening but still bring with them the liveliness of the previous band, perhaps with even more intensity. Particular favourite of the set came in the form of the song ‘Confessions’, not just because of its refreshingly sombre opening but the unrelenting, angry surprise at the core of the song was far from formulaic which is handled beautifully, and ignoring all preconceptions I had of Screamo bands, maturely. Whilst they aren’t perfect tonight and some of their songs did seem to follow a formula they play well, possibly let down by the fact it was a bit too loud. The fans lapped up this performance right up to the humorously chosen final song ‘Nothing Good Has Happened Yet’ and as Madina Lake drew ever closer I’d consider them warmed up enough.
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The lights dim over the Academy as the band, minus frontman Nathan Leone, take to the stage. Bellowing over the din of the screaming fans is a pounding intro rousing enough to excite even the most stoic man. As the lights flash on intermittently to show the rest of the band the music gains in intensity; this is an extremely dramatic overture but really I’d expect nothing less of Madina Lake. Eventually reaching a crescendo Nathan bounds on stage as they break into ‘Never Take Us Alive’, the leading single from their latest album - a high energy and somewhat poppier song from their roster. In fact, the whole set is nothing but energy, with quieter dips in songs livened up with much faster drumming from Dan Torelli to bassist Nathan Leone tearing across the stage swinging his guitar about. In spite of the sound being a bit off, especially noticeable in older song ‘House Of Cards’, during this I’m quickly distracted by the staff throwing massive balloons into the crowd - one of which is soon popped by guitarist Mateo Carmargo, exploding a shower of confetti everywhere. The balloons really reflect the light-hearted atmosphere of this gig, even the stern security guard I encountered earlier delights in pushing the balloons back into the audience. By the time they play ‘Pandora’ a few songs later the balloons had almost all gone… but the fun carries on as this song, a particularly raunchy number, gets many of the gig-goers a bit amorous. When the boy of the heavily kissing couple next to me takes his shirt off I was worried where this was leading - luckily no further than that though! I’m too old for this. The awkwardness from this quickly subsides with some brilliant outro drumming from Torelli although the lengthy, somewhat patronising speech that followed put a downer on that. Two kids sneaking on stage during their most recent single ‘Welcome to Oblivion’ completely overshadows the massive ticker tape explosion just before as the crowd instead focus their attention on waving and screaming at them. The two are high-fived by the band and surprisingly not carried off for quite some time, leaving them to moronically wave and headbang to their heart’s content. Admittedly, they are entertaining but, by the time they sneak on for a third time, it gets old and security become more vigilant. After the encore and a strange part where the band encouraged people to dance for some instrumental bits set listed as ‘Da Limp’, the quartet return to their classic sound with Here I Stand which is more than pleasing to hear. Although they’re still yet to play their final song as Nathan Leone starts a thank you speech a surprising amount of people leave; understandable as it does look like the end but they carry on regardless with odd choice for an ending with the somewhat generic ‘Me Vs. The World’. It’s been a very varied, enjoyable set and even the strange final song seemed to fit well with the band on top form, both musically but also entertaining.
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