Fightstar + Brigade @ Academy 2 – 30th May 2008


There may be many who still know Charlie Simpson of Fightstar as ‘The one who used to be in Busted’, however those who managed to get a ticket for tonight’s sold out show clearly recognise that there is a lot more to his current band than that.

London boys We Are The Ocean are first up, and with a headlining tour coming up in July, they are keen to win new fans. The band are yet to release their debut album, however with a video for ‘Nothing Good Has Happened Yet’ already doing the rounds on YouTube, it seems they will soon be onto something pretty big. With catchy melodies, varied double vocals and plenty of opportunities for the crowd to get moving, it’s likely they will have made some new friends here tonight.


Apparently, Charlie Simpson’s mother is in the crowd tonight, and she has good reason to be proud with two of her sons taking to the stage. Brigade, fronted by older brother Will Simpson have already made quite a name for themselves supporting Aiden back in April, however they sound a great deal better tonight in the confines of Academy 2. New album opener ‘What Are You Waiting For’ sees no shortage of reaction from the crowd, many of them already familiar with the band’s newer songs.


Brigade sound a great deal better live than they do on record, the energy and slightly harder sound that accompany their live show making their music difficult not enjoy in person. Maybe this is one of the reasons why they seem to find themselves supporting bands that are actually quite different to their own style of music and receiving such a warm welcome from the fans.


The crowd who stand awaiting Fightstar’s entrance are a lot older than might be expected considering the band’s roots and their frequent appearances in magazines such as Kerrang, easily the makings of a teen fan base. The band prove themselves as a mature and talented outfit, belting out crowd favourite ‘Palahnuik’s Laughter’ early in the set, which results in complete chaos in the packed room.

Simpson’s voice is impressive live, with vocals on some of their heavier songs to rival some of the best metal singers, however the restrictions of both playing guitar and singing prevent him from really getting involved with the crowd. The set takes a more sedate turn with the melodic ‘99’, providing fans in the sweltering room to catch their breath before diving back into the fray.


Saving ‘Deathcar’ for the end of the set was clearly a good move, the crowd giving it all they’ve got as Simpson growls ‘You make me fucking sick’. It really doesn’t make any difference what band any of Fightstar used to be in. They have lasted in the rock scene despite receiving more criticism than a lot of bands ever have to deal with, and deliver consistently good live shows. With the promise of more new material to come soon, Fightstar’s fans will no doubt be leaving more than satisfied.


Review – Helen Catchpowle
Photos – Michelle Owen

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