LIVE REVIEW: Twin Atlantic + The Pale White + Bellevue Days at The Waterfront

Acting as a way to keep playing shows in between festival appearances Twin Atlantic took to the stage at The Waterfront, bring up and coming bands The Pale White and Bellevue Days along for a hot and sweaty night.

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Bellevue Days

The night started with Croydon locals Bellevue Days taking to the stage, the first impressions immediately were just the sheer emotion in each song from this band. Kicking the night off with each song slowly building to powerful crescendos that stick with you after.  It really makes you feel the power in each scream and riff emanating from the stage.

Not being afraid to let their personalities come through they happily thanked everyone for coming by early to catch them play mentioning ‘it’s a good turn out…for them’ to then going to ask if anyone else is from Croydon in the room to which their friend sorting merch cheered in the space of a silent room, much to the amusement of everyone else. As openers go, it was a solid effort from Bellevue Days, making a good account of themselves and i’m sure gained a few fans along the way.

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The Pale White

Next up were second support band, The Pale White. The Newcastle based lads didn’t waste time going into their set with a very focused approach, not saving any time for introductions and just diving into their set. For much of the set it didn’t feel like they really shared the enthusiasm from Bellevue Days to be playing that evening, focusing on the songs and even playing extended ends to a couple of tracks.

Check out our the last time we caught The Pale White here

Songs like ‘That Dress’ and ‘Reaction’ got the strongest reception in the room with the guitar still sounding spectacular on ‘That Dress’. A special shout out must go to drummer Jack Hope for just the sheer energy he had behind that kit. Every time you would look over to Hope he was a blur of hair and movement feeling every beat of the drum which he carries from show to show.

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Twin Atlantic

Finally it was time for Twin Atlantic, the Glaswegian’s soon picked the whole room up and it only took moments before lead singer Sam McTrusty had the crowd eating from the palm of his hand. From the opening song ‘Gold Elephant: Cherry Alligator’ he had the crowd jumping in time with each hit of the drum, injecting a level of energy the night had been lacking until now.

The crowd was fully up for this one though as people’s singing voices were soon filling the room to join in with the band especially for songs such as ‘The Chaser’ and ‘Free’ it was to the point it was even battling with McTrusty’s vocals coming through the speakers just for sheer volume. Moments like these are what live music is about, singing with strangers that all love the same thing and just having a grand old time.

Take a look at photos from Twin Atlantic playing at Camden Rocks

There were some teases of whats to come from the band as well with Sam McTrusty mentioning ‘after sitting in the studio for a little while he maybe should of done some exercise before jumping back on the touring bandwagon’. This was a show clearly designed to get them back in the rhythm of touring again with a few festival appearances in the pipe line for the Summer, I expect Twin Atlantic will be mentioned a lot more on this website with hopefully a new album to be released in the coming future.

LIVE REVIEW – Of Mice & Men + Wage War + Sylar at the Waterfront

The Defy tour finally hit the Waterfront last night after Of Mice & Men extensively touring the United States in months previous to this and after their fifth studio album ‘Defy’ was released in January. This is the first album without former front man Austin Carlile who had to leave the band due to injuries to his spine leaving him unable to scream, thus leading the band to release ‘Unbreakable’ and continue with their latest album, sadly without Carlisle.

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Sylar

First up for the evening was New York residents Sylar, in their first ever appearance at the Waterfront. From the get go they didn’t hold back with strobe lighting going off every five seconds, matching every riff and breakdown the band come out with. Although relatively unknown on this side of the pond this band was tight and clearly on the same page, especially when bassist Travis Hufton muted drummer Cody Ash’s cymbal at the perfect time, confirming that these guys are certainly all on the same wavelength.

It was almost a shame that the Waterfront stage doesn’t offer too much space with lead singer Jayden Panesso moving around every inch he could whilst combining his mix of heavy vocals and rap whilst getting the crowd to jump in time with them starting their next song. As with support bands sometimes crowds don’t quite react in the way they would hope straight away, so when the band were about to kick in to their next song, they gradually came to a holt, somewhat unsatisfied with how many people were jumping along. Once they kick started again, however, the majority of the crowd reacted, serving as a good warm up for Wage War to take to the stage next.

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Next up were Floridians, Wage War, erupting onto the stage and bringing their heavy vocals and relentless guitar riffs that got everyone head banging from the first breakdown to the last. The band were given plenty of time to make their mark on the evening showing off the best they had to offer from last year’s release, ‘Deadweight’.

Their set served to show off the variety they have as a band from songs such as ‘Alive’ and ‘The River’, with lead singer Briton Bond demanding a circle pit to form despite the small venue. As their set whirred on they were able to perform some of their slower songs as well, such as ‘Gravity’, with a lot of the crowd singing along to the chorus, along with rhythm guitarist and clean vocalist, Cody Quistad, taking the lead and showcasing the diversity that this band were capable off.

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Of Mice & Men

Finally it was time for the headliners of the evening Of Mice & Men with the band instantly breaking into the song that named the album and the tour ‘Defy’ and lead singer and bassist Aaron Pauley announcing ‘Welcome to the Defy Tour!’ The band soon went on from the anthemic ‘Defy’ to the more extreme side of OM&M in ‘Warzone’ with mosh pits breaking out throughout the room and crowd surfers making it over the barrier making sure he shook guitarist Phil Manansala’s hand before making his way back to the crowd.

Despite the heavy display, one slight downside for me were the constant pauses throughout their set as most of the band departed from the stage to change guitars whilst atmospheric music played over the speakers. It seemed to disrupt the flow of each song going into the other with each pause seeming like it was lasting a little longer in between songs, this would even lead to drummer Valentino Arteaga doing a little drum solo to keep the crowd pumped. I’m not sure if this was due to the set up they had at the Waterfront or by design but it just made the set feel somewhat disjointed.

However, despite the occasional pause between songs, which made their set feel on the shorter side, the band undoubtedly put on a solid display. Lead singer Pauley ensured a circle pit formed after screaming he wanted ‘to see the room spin’. I feel this may have been one of the smaller stages on their tour with not much up in terms of staging behind them, other then an array of big lights to accentuate their music, and the drum kit having lights built in which lit up in time with the music. Nevertheless, the turn out they received certainly made up for the size of the venue with plenty of phones up in the air recording the action and the occasional fan bringing their record of ‘Defy’ in hope of getting it signed by their favorite.

 

 

LIVE REVIEW: The Front Bottoms + The Smith Street Band + Brick and Mortar live at the Waterfront, Norwich

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Opening the night was Brick + Mortar, an indie rock/drum and base duo from Toms River, New Jersey and boy, can these guys bring on the party!

Although the band officially consists of frontman Brandon Asraf and John Tacon on drums, they were joined on stage by a friend of the band that took care of the visuals from props to the projections on the curtains. Having come prepared, with posters with each song’s name, gigantic purple hands to wave around, a pope outfit and a balloon filled with confetti notes, this was definitely a band that didn’t care they were opening the show, they were determined to make it their own!

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Filling the room with a youthful and upbeat, fun atmosphere, almost resembling a university party, Brandon was encouraging everyone to put their hands up or sing along. There was great energy during their entire set, which was helped along by the props they had, as you just didn’t know what was next. Though it’s difficult to decide on a highlight, the most fun seemed to be the song called “Terrible Things” to which Brandon gave an insight as to that mental health awareness was what inspired the surprisingly upbeat song. During this track, they had a big green balloon filled with confetti notes being passed around which was eventually popped by the drummer, John, what looked like, by mistake. Luckily, we were able to grab hold of one, which read: “When he finally leaves the room and you can finally fart” – yes, definitely one of the struggles of everyday life.

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All in all, Brick + Mortar were great fun! They have so much potential and am confident they will go on and be much bigger, if there ever was to be a headline tour on the cards, we will be first in line to see what they bring for it.

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The Smith Street Band

Soon to follow on from Brick and Mortar was Australian natives The Smith Street Band.

Looking back on it, the two support acts almost complement each other, as The Smith Street Band opened with a couple of mellow songs, which seemed like it was the quiet after the storm that was Brick + Mortar, especially with The Front Bottoms more closely similar to The Smith Street Band. Unfortunately their first song of the set ‘Death to the Lads’ which should have been one that the upbeat crowd could sing a long to, was hampered with technical issues with the lead microphone and the whole first song was drowned out by the band without any vocal.

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On the third track, however, they properly brought on the atmosphere and kept this up throughout their set. All members were enjoying themselves as well as the audience, with lead singer Wil Wagner leading the charge with bags of energy and passion that was infectious throughout.

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Despite the slight malfunction at the beginning and the numerous broken drum sticks, The Smith Street Band offered a great show with good balance between lighter and heavier tracks, ending on a high, with ‘Throw me in the river’ which was the perfect song to end their set.

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The Front Bottoms

Last but certainly not least, the headliners of the night – Enter the Front bottoms.

With a set up filled with haze, a projection screen on either side of the stage and play of lights worthy of a festival of lighting, low and behold the Front Bottoms start off the show with ‘You used to say (Holy F***)’ with an enthatic chorus ever one was in full voice to sing. The energetic atmosphere as kept up with every song, bringing the crowd alive.

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Their set list consisted of a mix of tracks, from upbeat to slower tracks, all catchy and easy to listen and sing along to. Symbolic to the sudden black screen at the end of a movie, they end the majority in full darkness.

Finally, I few songs in, lead vocalist, Brian Sella, checks if everyone is enjoying themselves and jokingly dedicates their following songs to random people in the crowd, before inviting everyone to the Wetherspoons up to the road for and afterparty. Sadly, due to transport, I can’t confirm if this actually happened in the end, but if it did, I’m sure it was great fun and wish we could’ve stayed. Definitely next time!

All in all however, The Front Bottoms provided a cracking evening, with Sella accurately proclaiming ‘Gotta love some Sunday night Rock ‘n’ Roll’!

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LIVE REVIEW: Hayseed Dixie + Emma McGrath live at The Waterfront

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If you are uninitiated to who Hayseed Dixie are, the only way to make sense of what you are about to read is to go listen, pick out any of their songs you find on Spotify, you might recognise a name that sounds familiar like, 7 nation army, Ace of Spades or Walk This Way, give it a listen and enjoy. That’s what the evening was all about, pure fun, enjoyment and some bloody good music.

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Emma McGrath

First up of the night was support act Emma McGrath, if talented acoustic music is your thing, then definitely give Emma a listen. Walking into the show as an almost unknown McGrath and drummer made the stage their own, displaying that she is full of personality just bursting to get out and a very talented performer who sings and can play multiple instruments.

The only downfall for Emma is the show itself, having her as a support artist to a band like Hayseed Dixie is just an odd combination and not one you would expect. Much to her credit though, she addressed the issue, simply laughing at the fact that they wouldn’t be the sort of band you would expect to see in support and pushed on to introduce herself to the crowd and show off exactly what she can do. If i’m ever to catch Emma McGrath live again I would hope it would be in a more suitable tour, either way though, the reception at the end of set was a signal that she won a fair few members of the crowd over. Keep an eye out for the name Emma McGrath, i’d expect and hope you’ll hear it again soon.

P.S. Train circumstances meant I wasn’t able to take photos, hopefully this can be corrected sometime soon.

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Hayseed Dixie

Well, where do I begin with these guys, it has to be one of the more casual, uncaring entrances to a show I have ever seen from a headline act. Most of the time you’d expect to see all instruments set up perfectly and have some dramatic music hit over the speakers as the band come out. Not Hayseed though. One by one they came onto the stage, the only thing set up before was the microphones, first up was lead singer John Wheeler and then gradually the rest, all with instruments in hand, placing their cases and alcohol to the back of the stage and one by one setting up their instruments. Something about how nonchalant this was just made me smile from the off.

Instantly their personality shone through, even before they started playing, as the rest of the band were setting up, singer Wheeler was just happily miming away to what ever country hit was playing over the speakers. They soon busted into their first song of the night and the talent on display was quite impressive, it didn’t take long before mandolin player Hippy Joe Hymas was off, I would easily equate him to being the Slash of the mandolin, that guy can play and he didn’t stop moving the entire set, he was going from pulling faces at members of the crowd to then just about giving the finger to everyone he made eye contact with.

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As they were roaring through their set, it was amazing to see how seamless they could go from one well known rock song to another, I couldn’t keep up with the amount of songs they fit into one, they would go from Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody to Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On to Rolling Stone’s Paint It Black in a flash, and it all fit marvellously in with one another, this happened so often this reporter just couldn’t keep up with all the different songs they steamed through one after another, fitting it all in together.

On the rare break in between songs, there was plenty of comedy on offer to, Lead singer John Wheeler just loved to chat away, interact with the crowd, one part in particular is making the entire audience whisper ‘F*ck yeah’ every time he said ‘THE America’ as well as casually took the piss out of both England and America. It’s a testament to the band that as this year will be their 18th birthday as they quickly pointed out ‘you can buy guns and have debt, but you can’t drink in America’ that they seemed to have this much enjoyment and energy on stage, if Hayseed Dixie are in town near you, I fully recommend going to one of their shows and just seeing it for yourself.

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LIVE REVIEWS: Alien Ant Farm/SOiL/Local H – The Waterfront – 10/2/18

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Local H

Opening the show emphatically, was Chicago natives, Local H, without any previous knowledge about the duo, from the get go I was quite impressed with the energy that they brought to the stage, for a band with a modest following and relatively unheard of this side of the pond, they didn’t waste time opening the show.

Much to the bands disadvantage, the venue was in the process of filling up so ultimately there wasn’t much feedback from the crowd and at the start, if anything, it seemed like the grungy, garage band style of Local H hasn’t quite convinced the Norwich public yet. A couple of tracks in, vocalist Scott Lucas quickly introduced themselves in between songs, and I do appreciate that time was of the essence but there could have been a bit more interaction with the public, it is never easy opening the show however, so they can be forgiven for cracking on with their set.

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As their set was coming to an end however, the crowd seemed to have picked up and a quick glance around revealed a few hands up in the air as well as a bit more movement down in front of the stage.

All in all, there is room for improvement, however, Local H’s performance has exceeded my expectations and although it is a shame that the public didn’t seem as excited at the time, I’m certain that the group has gained a few more followers and interest regardless.

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SOiL

Continuing the night, Soil have started off with what seemed like a mashup of their most well-known songs, teasing ‘Halo’ to the delight of the audience. By this time, the venue was significantly more crowded, and I even spotted a few dedicated fans wearing Soil t-shirts from tours previous.

After doing some research I found it surprising that although Soil came to life 10 years after Local H, they seem to have far more experience and charisma when it comes to the public. During their performance, there was far more chat and banter and lead singer Ryan McCombs was funny and engaging. At one point, laughing of his trousers nearly falling off during one of the songs.

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Fan favourite ‘Halo’ rounded off their set and the crowd came alive, especially as McCombs got off stage and amongst the fans as everyone crowded to get selfies and sing along to a track that still holds up well today.

Personally, Soil was the best performance of the night, bringing personality and energy to the stage with a feeling of the band genuinely being happy and humbled to the turnout for the evenings events.

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Alien Ant Farm

Finally it was time for the headlines of the evening, Alien Ant Farm, to take to the stage. Sadly, unless you are a die-hard AAF fan that knows their every song, you might be slightly disappointed. Their sound crosses over quite a few genres from alternative metal to pop punk and while, on the one hand, this may not seem like such a bad thing as you could say they have a something for everyone, on the other hand comes the disadvantage of this as was the case at The Waterfront last night.

While lead singer, Dryden Mitchell, has plenty of charisma and kept the crowd engaged throughout the night, there was a noticeable difference in the feedback of the public during their well-known hits and not-so-well-known songs, unfortunately the mix of songs within their set struggled to compliment each other, leaving the energy within the room to feel awkward and almost lethargic.

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Probably the most interesting thing that happened during their performance was when the bouncers had to get someone out from the front row who was causing trouble being told to ‘F*** off out of here’ by the lead singer of Alien Ant Farm during their performance. Regardless of the troublemaker, the group continued their show uninterrupted and were determined to give their fans as much as they could during their hour and a quarter long set.

Although I wouldn’t class their performance as one of their best, Alien Ant Farm are without any doubt one the most beloved groups of the 00s, however, sadly, they just seem to have not evolved from that era.

 

Gallery – The Amazons and Pale White – The Waterfront – Norwich

Photos by Sam Dawes Photography

REVIEW – The Amazons – The Waterfront 2/10/17

After stumbling across the gem that is ‘Black Magic’ on Spotify, The Amazons had my attention pretty early and with the release of their debut self-titled album not long after, I walked into this show with high expectations for big riffs and a solid show from the Reading based quartet.

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The Pale White

Kicking off the night was The Pale White; another one of the bands that randomly found on it’s way onto one of my many playlists; unfortunately it wasn’t all quite smooth sailing for their first show of the tour, with technical difficulties interrupting them straight after their first song. From then on, sadly they lost the room, although playing songs such as ‘That Dress’ and ‘Turn it Around’ which are tracks that caught my attention, their lack of personality and presence on stage just made their set fall flat. It is still early days for the trio however, and I remain cautiously optimistic that this band will learn from these difficult early shows.

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The Pale White

With the Waterfront filling up to i’m sure was almost capacity, The Amazons took to the stage blasting through tracks ‘Ultraviolet’ and ‘Burn My Eyes’ quickly and bring the energy up to it’s peak of the evening. Whilst looking back from the photo pit, i’m sure I saw a mosh pit break out from the get go which for a band I wouldn’t consider witness many during their shows, it evidence enough to the energy in the room.

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The Amazons

‘Stay With Me’ their leading track from their debut album soon followed and had voices at full chorus along with them and it goes to show the quick rise in popularity of this band, which was then just reaffirmed with the crowd singing along to the breakdown riff during ‘Little Something’ with the band pausing taking in the moment.

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The Amazons

It was clearly a special gig for The Amazons, with front-man saying on a couple occasions about this being their first headline tour and with rounding off the first night of their UK tour with ‘Palace’ and ‘Junk Food Forever’ this is a band that is only going to keep going from strength to strength and will soon be filing much bigger venues as they go.  8/10

Check out The Amazons on the remainder of their tour:

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