On the 4th of February, a friend and I ventured out to darkest Manchester to the Academy to see the annual Kerrang! Relentless Tour. The event is organised by the british music magazine Kerrang! and sponsored by the energy drink Relentless. The tour is a celebration of rock and metal music from across the globe and usually has a bill of 4 bands, 2 up and coming bands and 2 more established and well known bands. This year, the 2 breakthrough acts were both from the UK. Young Guns are a rock group from Southern England, specialising in catching pop hooks infused with a more dirty metal edge. The second act was My Passion, also from Southern England, are a dance rock act, a genre that some would class as crunk. The 2 more well known bands were The Blackout, a hard rock act from Wales and All Time Low, a pop-rock band from the USA. The Kerrang! Tour for me was more of an opportunity to check out different genres of music live, as I was only really a fan of The Blackout and some of All Time Low’s work before arriving.
Upon arrival and entry we took our places about 10 or 11 feet from the stage. After no more than 10 or 15 minutes, the lights dimmed and the crowd fell silent. As the signature strings of Young Guns’ latest single, Winters Kiss, echoed eerily out of the speakers, Young Guns took to the stage, greeted with a huge cheer from the audience. Immediately they launched into the opening hard rock chords of Winters Kiss, prompting a fantastic reception from the crowd, jumping and bouncing all throughout the venue. The front man and vocalist, Gus, voice is certainly unique but not in a bad way. It adds another dimension to the music, pushing it closer to pop, something not often common in a band that uses heavier chords and drumming. They went on to play their other single off their EP, Weight of the World, which had the whole crowd singing along. One wall of death and crowd surf by Gus, and Young Guns left the stage. They had most certainly made their mark upon the Mancunian crowd and I hope to see a lot more of them in 2010.
Buy their EP, Mirrors, here: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/mirrors-ep/id331889699
Next up were My Passion. My friend and I were not fans of their music, having listened to their album before attending so we took the decision to head out and have a drink. We grabbed our drinks and then headed back into the room with the stage to lean up against the soundboard and watch My Passion from a position which wasn’t so crowded. I’m pleased to say we were pleasantly surprised by them. Their dance infused rock still isn’t my cup of tea but their live energy and the sound they produced on stage sounded almost identical to the album. They performed all the crowd favourites, opening with Crazy & Me, as well as playing Play Dirty, Day of The Bees and Thanks for Nothing. It all went down a storm and soon they had sweated off their elaborate guy liner and taken off their fancy dinner jackets in replacement for black vests. They were definitely the surprise of the night and while I wouldn’t make the trip back to Manchester to see them alone, I would have no qualms about watching them as a support act at a future show.
Buy their album, Corporate Flesh Party, here: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/corporate-flesh-party/id316155566
When My Passion exited the stage, my friend and I hurriedly rushed to the bar, grabbed 2 bottles of water then frantically pushed forward through the packed crowd to get as close to the front as we could. All because, next up was The Blackout, the band we were both anticipating most after hearing fantastic things at earlier shows on the tour (courtesy of a live text report from our very own Ryan at the Birmingham show). After half an hour of roadies shuffling various pieces of high tech looking equipment about the stage and tuning guitars, the lights dropped once again and, unlike with Young Guns, the crowd erupted into a chorus of high pitch screams and shouts. As the strobe lights flashed, and the dramatic strings piece floated from the gargantuan speakers situated just in front of us, the tension built. It carried on building and building until the cult-like chants of Children of the Night burst out of the speakers and The Blackout entered the stage. The place opened up into a huge circle pit as the band tore through Children of the Night and then STFUppercut. They then went on to play a mixture of old and new, including Said & Done, It’s High Tide Baby, The Beijing Cocktail and then, in my opinion, the two best songs of the night, Top of The World and Save Our Selves (The Warning). The Blackout put on an almighty show, with arm actions, middle fingers, the whole venue in one big circle pit and then a slipknot-esque command to kneel down then jump up on command. This made for a fantastic bit of crowd participation. The Blackout were, as expected, the best band on the night and I highly recommend you see them this year if and when they tour Europe or the US.
The Setlist was:
Children Of The Night
Spread Legs, Not Lies
It’s High Tide Baby
Said And Done
The Beijing Cocktail
We’re Going To Hell… So Bring The Sunblock
This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
Top Of The World
Save Ourselves (The Warning)
I’m A Riot? You’re A F****** Riot!
You can buy their album, The Best In Town, here: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-best-in-town/id312617465
Next up was All Time Low, probably the most highly anticipated by the majority of the crowd (80% of the crowd was females and extremely small females at that). Whilst they prepared the stage for All Time Low, the roadies dropped a white netting curtain, maybe to try and obscure the stage a bit but it was 100% see through so it failed if that was the purpose. After a short 20 minutes, the lights dimmed for the 4th time that evening and the crowd broke into the highest pitch screams I had ever experienced. They burst onto the stage and performed Lost In Stereo, an odd choice for an opening song in my opinion but it still got the crowd bouncing. They then went on to perform Stella and Break your Little Heart and various other older and newer songs. At this point you could visibly see the crowd was getting a little tired, the bouncing was getting less vigorous and the most pits that All Time Low tried to conjure (I know I didn’t really understand why they were trying to get mosh pits going to their music either) coughed and spluttered before breaking up a minute or so after starting. So it was a relief when the front man Alex left the stage with the rest of the band before returning solo to perform Remembering Sunday acoustically, before returning back to electric and pumping out Weightless. Then they left the stage for what seemed like the end of the show. But shouts of ‘we want more’, ‘all time low’ and ‘encore’ prompted them to rush back to the stage to strike up two crowd favourites, Damned if I Do Ya (Damned if I don’t) and Dear Maria, Count Me In. This time, any thoughts of fatigue or tiredness were completely eradicated and the whole venue bounced in time with the bass. By the time they finished Dear Maria and had suitably milked the audience, they left the stage proudly sporting huge grins. A great show and a great night overall.
All Time Low’s setlist was:
Lost In Stereo
Break Your Little Heart
Six Feet Under The Stars
A Party Song (The Walk of Shame)
Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t)
Dear Maria, Count Me In
You can buy their latest album, Nothing Personal, here: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/nothing-personal/id332023653