In Case Of Fire played a short but sweet set, kick starting the night with their heavy rock. While they were a little lacking in energy, the power of the three-piece really shone through, the single guitar cutting through the mix in a way that the later bands really needed. While the songs are little formulaic the short set meant that there was nothing that could really displease. I get the feeling that next time they play in Birmingham a lot more people will know the words. Perhaps in a year or so these guys will be huge, but for now you can tell their a new band.
Black Tide kicked things off with some impressive hair metal style hardcore. Reminding me a lot of Blessed By A Broken Heart with their constant shredding and impressive double kick pedal rhythms, but these guys don’t seem to be playing the gimmick. Instead the growled vocals all suck a little of wanting to be serious, even if most of their songs seemed to be about Dungeons & Dragons. The put on a good show and played some good quality stuff, while they weren’t perfect I’d go and see them again.
Dir En Grey is a band I’ve known for about 14 hours (at time of writing) but apparently the younger part of Birmingham’s alternative crowd knows all about them. I expect they’ve had a fair bit of Kerrang exposure, what with this being a Kerrang tour. Perhaps I will have to keep a little more up to date. However, with no preconceptions the band quickly made an impression. Over dramatic vocals so drenched in delay and reverb to make them almost pointless sung over a metalcore backing, but this band are seriously lacking. The instrumentation was just too boring for such elaborate vocals. Poor vocals can be compensated by good riffs, and vice versa, but this band had neither. The fact they kept on playing, what sounded like the same song for a good 20 minutes longer than any would have wanted really didn’t help
Bring Me The Horizon were on next, and were my favourites of the night, playing through their metalcore set in their usual enthusiastic manner. Unfortunately the Academy still doesn’t seem to have got the hand of setting up a PA right (which may have caused Dir En Grey to have suffered as well) so most of the intricate guitar melodies were lost into the front three rows. The band played well though, with front man Oli Sykes doing a good job of inciting the young audience to move. I’ve seen them play better shows; the new album has softened the band, and the line-up tonight means most of the old album is left out to make time for the other bands. However, classics like ‘Pray For Plagues’ still grace the set. New Album favourites include the crowd friendly chant of ‘Diamonds Aren’t Forever’ and lead single ‘Chelsea Smile’ which gets the audience plenty excited for the head-liners.
Mindless Self Indulgence used to be a great little secret of the geekier alternative scene, but with a sound that is so gimmicky most have got bored of the rather repetitive processed beats and awkward vocals. However the new album seems to have struck a chord with a younger audience. Picking up on the new album ‘if’ with help from mass coverage from Kerrang, the kids seem to relate to the over-the-top attitude of front man Jimmy Urine and the sense of undirected rebellion that spins from the band. This band are a band that divides opinion, Jimmy’s between song speeches suck of over rehearsal, and of simply trying too hard to be annoying, but he still manages to get a smile out of even the bar staff, it’s infuriating and would simply not be tolerated by an older audience. The way the band still claim to be playing ‘live’ is a joke. With obviously electronic drums and huge amounts of synth and samples being pumped through the PA it is not hard for the band to sound as good live as on CD. It sounds as though Jimmy’s vocals are being auto-tuned live as well, so the alternative dance beats really are CD quality. Despite my personal objections the enthusiastic live show and constant high energy levels really get the crowd into it, so if you can look past all the silly cloths and awful hair, even past the childish lyrics and repetitive songs this band you can really enjoy this band.
Review – Terra Duff
Photos – Adam Spall