I am well aware, how nearly all of my live reviews have started with something similar to ‘on a cold evening’, all with good reason since it was bitterly cold. The evening of 11th March however was unexplored territory for me though, the fact I was not shivering whilst queuing was a minor miracle in my small and simple mind. The mildness of the night despite being much warmer than it was most English evenings still didn’t warrant the dress of some of the fans queuing beside us. They were queuing to see Emilie Autumn, the manically depressed artist who is quickly becoming a star thanks to her wacky live shows. Safe to say I was fairly glad I was spending the evening with the people in my queue, rather than the nutters 10 metres to my right, dressed in almost nothing apart from fishnets and miniskirts.
Tonight though, I was here to see A Day to Remember, the American post-hardcore/metalcore band from Florida, who from what I here, are a true sensation in their home country. Supported by the British Your Demise and Architects, I was looking forward to an energetic show of metalcore, with the odd dash of pop-punk thrown into the a-cappella breakdowns for good measure. As we entered the venue at roughly 7.30pm, the buzz emanating from the crowd was electric and it quickly became clear to me what kind of a night we were in for. No sooner had we got a drink and taken our places nearer the back of the crowd, had Your Demise taken to the stage. A metalcore band from southern England with a healthy dose of dance beats mixed into their music, they were the perfect band to whip the crowd up and get them moving. As lead singer, Ed McRae bounced onto the stage I was quite confused. He was sporting the image of what we call in the UK, a ‘chav’ and I thought for one second that I’d slipped into the wrong venue as the dubstep beats reverberated through the speakers, I was really having my doubts. Then, almost as suddenly as my confusion had began the barks of screamed vocals tore through my head and brought me straight back to the right state of mind. All my doubts, quickly erased as Your Demise tore into their set. Although only short at just shy of 25 minutes, they left a lasting impression and almost certainly gained a few new converts.
You can buy Your Demise’s latest album, Ignorance Never Dies, here: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/ignorance-never-dies/id311566070
Almost 15 minutes later, the lights dimmed and the crowd knew what was to come. Probably one of the most exciting upcoming British metal artists at the moment, Architects have already secured a 5K! rating from British music magazine, Kerrang! for their 3rd album, Hollow Crown, as well as making an appearance at the prestigious Download Festival in the UK. So now maybe you can understand a little more what the crowd was whipping into a frenzy for, even before the quintet had taken to the stage. As they took to the stage, the beats and riffs immediately crushed my skull, as well as this opening causing our very own Ryan to proceed to have an asthma attack at the show in Birmingham, although that didn’t stop him, as soon as he had recovered he headed straight back to the pit to return to the frenzy he had left just minutes before. I’m not sure many bands can boast that they’ve caused an asthma attack from the sonic onslaught at the start of their set. Architects played songs such as Number Count for Nothing, Dethroned as well as, to my surprise, the definition of polarisation, Hollow Crown. Overall a superb support act and I’d completely consider returning to Manchester in October to see them, if my concert partner wasn’t scared of mosh pits.
You can buy Architects’ latest album, Hollow Crown, here: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/hollow-crown/id347410385
Of course though, despite the high quality of support act, no-one could out do the real deal, the people we were all here to see, all two and a half thousand of us. Then the lights dimmed and we prepared. The pit swelled. The crowd roared. And A Day to Remember took to the stage, opening with Fast Forward to 2012, a lightening fast opener that really got the crowd moving, before quickly following it up with Speak of the Devil and A Shot in the Dark, both brutal and vocally perfect songs, demonstrating just what a brilliant live band A Day to Remember are. A quick break followed, along with some crowd interaction before launching into the fantastic The Danger in Starting a Fire, and the first lethal breakdown of the night. Followed up by My Life for Hire, A Day to Remember proved that even with 3 albums under their belt, they can play almost any song and still get a phenomenal reaction. The action was reeled in after this, as they proceeded to play their cover of The Fray’s Over My Head (Cable Car), off the Punk Goes Pop album. This song signalled the midpoint and what was to come was arguably more visceral and brutal than the preceding events. The first song of what was unofficially the second half was the truly amazing, and ‘the heaviest song they’ve ever written’, Mr Highway’s Thinking About the End, and the already swollen pit absolutely exploded, tearing the room in half as the epic breakdown midway through the track burst in through the sound system. A second slap in the fact came immediately after as the follow up was Welcome to the Family. Things were brought back down again though with a notably calmer Have Faith In Me, prompting a mass crowd sing-along. A quick follow up of Homesick was thrashed out before launching into another quieter number of You Should’ve Killed Me When You Had the Chance and then Heartless. Of course, this deceptively low key climax was all a ploy. There was to be one more song before A Day to Remember exited the stage before an encore. As the opening vocals of I’m Made of Wax Larry, What Are You Made Of? reverberated from the speakers, I knew the climax had arrived. The crowd bounced, the band bounced and then everyone bounced in unison, before proceeding to mosh in unison on the awesome breakdown. Following this, the band exited the stage but only briefly, thankfully not milking the crowd too much. As they bounced back onto the stage, lead singer Jeremy McKinnon delightfully declares that ‘we saved this one for you since we heard you like it’. With that the vocal opening of The Downfall of Us all echoed out of the speakers, prompting the crowd to bounce and fall into unison as the dramatic opening of the song cracked the place open as almost everyone went out of their minds. Of course though, one magnificent song was missing from the set list. A Day to Remember certainly aren’t people who appear to disappoint and most certainly didn’t as they launched into The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle, aiming to end the night with a dramatic bang. And by god did they succeed. The sweat, energy and passion put into the performance tonight was truly unbelievable and A Day to Remember definitely stand in good stead for success throughout Europe and the UK, especially when they put on such a brilliant live set. One little nit I’d like to pick is the set length, although they included all the crowd pleasing songs, with the omission of Monument and NJ Legion Iced Tea (although the latter was rotated throughout the tour with Welcome to the Family), it only lasted just north of an hour, pretty disappointing for a headlining band. Although I suppose one excuse could be that they were originally scheduled to play the smaller Academy 2 but they could’ve taken their upgrade into account and added songs to the set list too. I shouldn’t let that detract from what was an astounding live performance and I can fully recommend that you go and see them, especially as they are touring the US soon on their Toursick tour with August Burns Red and Silverstein.
You can get A Day to Remember’s latest album, Homesick, here:
I felt a second opinion could be nice for you to see so here is Ryan’s brief summary of his A Day to Remember concert in Birmingham:
‘A Day To Remember was one of the best concerts I’ve been to. There was such a great atmosphere across the whole crowd, it practically united people. I found myself shoulder to shoulder singing along to my favourite songs with people I have never met before. The bands themselves were impeccable. There were no flaws with any of the performances, and the way they interacted with the crowd and let everyone into their performance was truly admirable. It will be hard to give a better performance than they did.’