Army of Freshman + Allbright + Koopa + Page 44 @ Bar Academy, Birmingham – 16th November 2008


It was a weird show tonight, downgraded from Academy 2; there was a massive queue outside when I arrived at Bar Academy tonight. It was slightly puzzling to see so many people waiting for a show that had been bumped down to a smaller venue, but nonetheless everyone here seemed excited for the show to come.

First up were local band Page 44. Hailing from Redditch, it was nice to see Army of Freshman had done their homework and added local support to the other 2 bands that had spent the whole tour with them. They played a pleasant, yet short set tonight made up mainly of songs available on their MySpace. Fade away was by far their best song and would be appreciated by any fans of Kids In Glass Houses out there. They ended the set with Grey Room, which they apparently performed on Popworld some time ago. Nice band, nice songs albeit a little generic for my personal tastes.

Koopa provide 2nd support. For those of you that don’t know, Koopa were the first ever unsigned band to break into the UK Top 40 charts last year when the rules were changed, and downloaded sales were included. They did quite well really, the best being song The Crash, which got to number 16 at its peak and went down well live with the crowd tonight as their opening tune. Second song played was their new single, which is released on 17th of November. Gimmie It Back is a bouncy punky almost pop song which I’m sure will do better than their last chart entry, especially with a record label behind them this time. They played a great set, showcasing songs from past albums and from their new album out next year. Newer songs had a definite Blink 182 feel to them, so it was no surprise when they announced it had been produced by Marc Hoppus of Blink 182 in Hollywood this year. It should be interesting to see what happens for Koopa next year.


Last but by no means least of the support tonight were Allbright. I’ve personally never heard of them before, but they defiantly outshined the other support tonight. Not to be confused with hardcore punk band Albright or Christian rock band Allbright, I was shocked they came from Birmingham as I swear frontman Liam Price had a cockney accent! Entering the stage to hip hop song Low by Flo Rida, they hushed the crowd and went in to their first song. You could see why they had been chosen as 3rd on the bill over the other 2 bands as soon as they started playing. Price spent most of the set in the crowd or on the barrier, encouraging everyone to clap or sway their arms, and they had some catchy songs and tight harmonies. To be honest if you closed your eyes you could have been at a McFly/Busted gig, only a bit more guitar and bass. For all their McFlusted (Mc Fly and Busted) tendencies, they were a fun band with a great attitude, and really livened up the near full Bar Academy before the main act took centre stage.


Army of Freshmen took absolutely ages to come on stage tonight. At first I thought maybe it was because they were trying to figure out how to get 6 people and their instruments, (including 2 keyboards) onto the tiny Bar Academy stage, but it turned out to be technical problems. At one point I got a little concerned what would happen if they didn’t come on, as I’d already seen 2 crying fans downstairs that weren’t allowed in, and I didn’t wonder if there would be some kind of crying epidemic if they didn’t play. Luckily I didn’t have to worry about all that as the band squeezed onto the stage to rapturous and frankly hysterical screaming. I think they may have been a little safer in the Academy 2! My sarcastic observations aside, they played a blinding set, frontman Chris was a brilliant sport, and even laughed off the fact that most of the girls on the front row had their hands resting around his crotch area. Not put off by the blatantly uncomfortable groping, they carried on, only to be sadly met by more technical problems about 4 songs in. To pass the time they played a hilarious ‘technical problems in Birmingham’ song which distracted their screaming fans nicely.


Birmingham was the first date in the UK since Scotland, and Chris recalled some Scottish tales to keep everyone entertained, including how British fans were better than the Scottish which of course went down well. They played songs from there most recent album ‘Above the Atmosphere’, and when thy played the song Juliet I really thought the floor would give way from all the jumping and dancing. Really great set, shame about all the technical problems, but next time they should definitely be in the Academy 2, even if it’s only to give the poor dual keyboard players some elbow room!

Review & Photos – Lucy Pryor

About Author

1 thought on “Army of Freshman + Allbright + Koopa + Page 44 @ Bar Academy, Birmingham – 16th November 2008

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *