The Kerrang! Tour feat. New Found Glory + The Blackout + letlive. + While She Sleeps @ Birmingham Academy – 16th February 2012

The Kerrang! Tour feat. New Found Glory + The Blackout + letlive. + While She Sleeps @ Birmingham Academy – 16th February 2012

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The Kerrang! tour is a massive date in the calendar for rock fans and this year was anticipated to be one of the best ever with Sum 41 and New Found Glory on the same bill, however opinions were divided due to the untimely withdrawal from Sum 41. There was controversy due to The Blackout being the replacements with people questioning whether the band were a worthy replacement.

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Arriving shortly after While She Sleeps took to the stage I was surprised by how busy the room already was, it was rammed. Opening the night is a difficult task for any band but to do this for a band like New Found Glory is huge, if anyone’s capable of this it’s While She Sleeps, the Sheffield 5 piece are one of only two bands that are endorsed by Fred Perry in the UK which is definitely something to boast about. With a strong energetic performance it started what promised to be an absolutely fantastic night.

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In Lawrence Taylor they have a fantastic frontman who makes rallying up the crowd look effortless. The audience are in high energy tonight as the mosh pits have started in brutal fashion with several fans walking past with bust noses. Finishing their set with “Crows” was a great way to end the set from an exciting live band who I look forward to seeing on other tours soon.

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The eagerly anticipated Letlive. were on next and everything I had heard about their live performance was positive with people even running out of superlatives to describe them. When there is that much hype around a band it is easy for people to be left disappointed. I must say I was massively disappointed with their set, because I love their tracks on record and as this was my first live experience of them I guess I was hoping for something spectacular.

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The vocals were off and much of the time Jason was relying far too much on the crowd for me. Whether this was a problem with the sound or fatigue with Birmingham being the penultimate date I along with much of the crowd were left unsatisfied. With this being said I aim to give them another chance when they next tour and I’ll blame this on bad luck because their stage presence is absolutely fantastic and with a great set of songs they are definitely one of the top new bands on the circuit at the moment.

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The Blackout playing tonight in place of Sum 41 have been heavily criticised and tonight was all about silencing the critics. Taking to the stage with Elton John’s “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word” shows the band try not to take themselves to seriously and they were relishing the chance to change opinions. I must admit personally I am not a massive fan of them however I entered the venue with an open mind and I think they did a good job and are stronger as a live band than on record.

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The crowd interaction was really good and they really encouraged the audience to get involved, the most crowd provoking moment was their “Fat Lip” (Sum 41) cover, which lead to a mass sing-a-long which everyone seemed to enjoy but it still wasn’t any consolation for the hardcore Sum 41 fans. Tonight The Blackout may have had something to prove, but I think with their performance they may have gone someway into changing the minds of the haters.

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Finally it was time for the “Godfathers of Pop Punk” as they were refered to as on the night by The Blackout. My first live experience of New Found Glory was not a good one, even though I’m a fan they didn’t impress me live so I was really hoping that they’d do a much better job this time around. In the end the audience got everything you would expect from a Pop punk show, massive singalongs’ and everyone dancing to their heart’s content. Throw in a couple of covers such as Basket Case (Green Day), Blitzkrieg Bop (The Ramones) and Kiss Me (Sixpence None the Richer) respectively it made for a brilliant finish to the night.

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The biggest sing-a-long came during the encore for arguably their biggest hit “My Friends Over You” and New Found Glory revealed they’d be back during Autumn for another massive tour which people can look forward to. I thoroughly enjoyed the set from New Found Glory I’m glad they managed to change my mind about them as a live band because it highlighted the importance of giving bands another chance to impress.

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Despite a set back due to the withdrawal of Sum 41, Kerrang can see the gig as a success and New Found Glory have shown why they are completely timeless successfully bringing people back to the Pop Punk days.

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Review – Anthony Lee
Photos – Steve Gerrard

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