Moose Blood + Choir Vandals + Boston Manor @ The Oobleck, 29th January 2015

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Moose Blood are one of the most talked about bands of 2014 and tonight they’re in Birmingham, with support from Choir Vandals and Boston Manor, on their headline tour to promote their latest album, I’ll Keep You In My Mind, From Time To Time.

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First up are pop-punkers Boston Manor. As they take to the stage the room is already packed and with a constant stream of people still coming through the door, the Blackpool lads play to a large crowd, for an opening band. Three songs in there is not a single head that isn’t bouncing as the hard hitting, fast paced and raw pop punk sound of Wolf resonates around the room. As the last few notes of Peach State ring out, it appears that Boston Manor have set the standard for tonight; and it’s high.

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Main support comes in the form of Choir Vandals hailing from Missouri, USA. Being slightly less upbeat than their predecessors made them the ideal band to warm up the crowd for the headline act. The sound created by the grunge/emo quartet was very similar to that of the mid 90s emo sound, slow, gritty and almost anthemic. It took a while, but towards the end of the set, the crowd seemed to warm to them, with almost everyone moving in that ‘I’m too cool to be here’ way, but nevertheless, they appreciated the music. As their short set drew to a close, the mood was set perfectly for Moose Blood, with a melancholy atmosphere lingering in the air. All in all a good set from the Stateside grungers, even if it did take a while for the crowd to appreciate them.

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Moose Blood took to the stage and opened with Pups, followed by Chin Up, which saw the first movement of the night in the form of a wall to wall push pit. Three songs in and I now understand the hype, this band are extremely good at what they do and they know it. As vocalist/guitarist, Eddy Brew, is grinning from ear to ear, the band burst into Bukowski, prompting a chorus that the band don’t need to sing, the crowd are doing it for them.

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It’s very rare you find a band that sound the same live as they do recorded, but Moose Blood are one of those hidden gems, even down to the raw emotion in Brew’s vocals. Their softer side came through with track seven, Cherry, and they even manage to nail that. I’m starting to wonder if there’s anything this band can’t do. Penultimately comes I Hope You’re Miserable, which sees Brew choke up and tell of how he missed his wife and kids on tour, but how “nights like this make it not so bad.”

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The final track, Boston, really sums up what Moose Blood are about, stage dives, sing-a-longs and brilliantly crafted songs. It was nice to see a band play their set and call it a day, no fancy encores or waiting for chants of more, they finished their set and left it at that, preserving a good thing and refusing to poison it with an ego.

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In the emo/pop punk crossover scene, Moose Blood are already on the rise and if they continue to put on shows as good as they did tonight, then 2015 will be theirs for the taking. Genuine songs written by genuine people that genuinely appreciate people coming to their shows. A refreshing sight that I’m sure I will be seeing more of.

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Review: Dan Wilson

Photographs: Dave Musson

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