Rock City, Nottingham was packed out to see a trio of noughties bands that consisted of Alien Ant Farm, P.O.D. and Hoobastank. All three of these bands are associated with the nu-metal movement of the early 2000’s and looking at a majority of the crowd, I would say that (not unlike myself) they were there to reminisce on their teenage years, when these bands would have been at the height of their careers.
Alien Ant Farm (AAF) were the opening act and they were greeted by an excitable crowd as they went into their first song ‘Wish’, although it wasn’t until ‘Movies’, the third song of the set, and one of the bands bigger songs, that the fans really let out their full potential and as singer Dryden Mitchell took it upon himself to dive into the crowd, he added to the energy that the fans were now generating. Before the band played ‘Attitude’, Mitchell dedicated the song to his mom as it was mothers day in America and “it is her favourite AAF song”. As the band got further through their set the energy in the room continued but not so much on the stage; the music and vocals was spot on but it was as though the set had taken it’s toll on the vocalist and he seemed to slow down a little; however, since it didn’t impact the quality of their songs, it wasn’t really the end of the world.
We were told a tale of a time that Dryden had been into a club “where ladies dance” he had asked one of the dancers for “booger-sugar” aka cocaine and when she left with his money and didn’t deliver, he stole her phone from her; he had said phone with him on stage, he put it to the microphone to show us what he had found on there. Through the phone we heard the intro to ‘Simpatico’ which the band used as their lead into playing the song; make what you will of the story, I certainly don’t know how much truth there is to it but it was an interesting way to start a song and the fans lapped it up. Alien Ant Farm rounded their set off perfectly by playing their Michael Jackson cover- ‘Smooth Criminal’. With this song being the bands biggest hit back in 2001, it was without a doubt the song that people were waiting to hear, which became evident by the crowds insane reaction. During their entire set AAF were repeatedly extremely thankful to the fans and everyone who had made the effort to get out to see them, they were clearly very humbled and it was nice to see. They played their music and they played it well, it may have been around 14 years since their biggest hits but this band are still going and they are clearly still pulling in the fans and to me, that speaks volumes about them.
Payable On Death, affectionately known as P.O.D. made an immediate impact as they dove into their first song and with the fans having been suitably warmed up by Alien Ant Farm, there was no stopping them from letting lose for these guys. Just as I thought the crowd couldn’t get much more involved, P.O.D. played ‘Boom’ which sent the room into a frenzy, this was only heightened when at one point during the song, front man Sonny Sanoval, stood on the top of the front barrier and dived into the crowd.
For me, one of the main highlights of the evening was when they played ‘Youth Of The Nation’ (one of their more well known singles from the 2001 album ‘Satellite’); this song had the entire room singing the chorus without the assistance of Sonny who quite simply held the mic.up to his audience as he took in the overwhelming sound of everybody joining in. Song after song just saw the intensity of the band and the crowd grow and although the band seemed to steam through their set, they managed to hold the attention of the room completely. As expected they finished the set with their biggest hit from 2001- ‘Alive’ and with how the fans had been during the rest of the set, it was no surprise to see them lose their minds and sing along to every word of this noughties anthem. It was actually a lot of fun to watch P.O.D. and judging by the reaction of the room during their set, I would say i’m not the only one who thought so!
The final set for the night was to be played by Hoobastank, a band who last came to the UK nine years ago. The room was already hyped from the energetic performance of P.O.D. so these guys had a lot to live up to. They took the stage and went straight in with what I would call their most well known song ‘Crawling In The Dark’, but a song that should have had a big impact “we’re here” vibe was spoiled by the fact that the lead singer appeared to have a faulty microphone meaning we couldn’t hear him at all to start with, although the problem seemed to be sorted by the second chorus. Technical problems aside, the fans did still sing along and they were still clearly delighted to see the band.
The issue that I feel this band had was that the were following a band that had completely killed it and with Hoobastank having a completely different dynamic to P.O.D. it seemed as though there was quite a lot of lulls during their set; the energy just wasn’t as constant as it had been for their predecessors. However, I did see the odd mosh pit going on in the centre of the room and the fans were chanting “Hoobastank” between songs, they were also joining in and cheering, so evidently they were indeed enjoying themselves. ‘The Reason’ was one of the songs that got everyone singing along, I also spotted a few lads in the centre of the crowd who had started comical slow-mo circle pit, they were clearly having fun.
The band closed with ‘Out Of Control’ which brought one final burst of energy into the room before the band left the stage. Hoobastank were by no means bad, they did everything a band shoud do to keep fans happy but my feelings are that they were not the right sort of band to follow P.O.D. and had they have followed Alien Ant Farm instead, it maybe would have worked a little better.
Overall, this was an amazing night to re-live the teenage years and hopefully there might be some more of these sorts of gigs in times to come!
Alien Ant Farm
Forgive & Forget
What I Feel Is Mine
Sticks and Stones
Smooth Criminal (Michael Jackson cover)
Lost in Forever
This Goes Out to You
Set It Off
Roots in Stereo
Youth of the Nation
Panic & Run
Crawling in the Dark
Inside of You
The First of Me
This Is Gonna Hurt
Out of Control
Review: Gemma Bywater
Photographs: Shaz Rafferty