The Academy may have been rebranded from Carling to O2 but fear not, as they haven’t changed the carpets. Or any of the signs. The crowd sticking to the carpets tonightare largely bedecked in check shirts and hair products, and the room is packed by the end of the first set. My Emergency get the room moving with their energetic pop-punk and exit the stage on a strong note and shoutalong.
Next up, Young Guns open strong and continue that way, mixing new tracks with crowd favourites. For Winter Kiss, a new track, they divide the room for a wall of death and it is enthusiastically pulled off. Some of the tracks that will appear on their summer EP, like The Weight of the World, bear more resemblance to Buried Alive By Love-era HIM’s in construction and with the guitar work. There is a mixed reaction. Bracketed with their earlier material that has a distinct post-hardcore flavour, it will be interesting to see which way they’ll choose to go with their sound.
Headliners We Are The Ocean are greeted with a vocal reception as they take to the stage, launching into their set with a demand for the crowd to “get the fuck up” – and they do. Opening with Don’t Be Careless, a huge and messy pit opens almost immediately, with crowd surfers and a fevered press at the barriers also in evidence. Dual vocals, guitar driven with solid percussion, the song structures are not groundbreaking but it doesn’t need to be: the crowd know when the drop is coming, and bring more energy every time.
What will be the new single, God Damn Good, has the obligatory shoutalong factor for what is now a sweaty and stinky and shirtless crowd. The frontman notes this is the seventh time they’ve played Birmingham in the past twelve months, and their glut of touring shows in their polished set that mixes old tracks with new material from their upcoming album. The new material seems to do more with the singing vocals rather than the screaming, and seems to be leaning almost to americana – or that could just be the Gavin Rossdale impression that the vocalist does. I’m not entirely sure.
Leaving fan-favourite Ready For The Fall for the late part of the set, and ending on Nothing Good Has Happened Yet ensure that the night ends on a high, with the biggest pit I’ve seen in the Academy 2 for a long time. Ace.
Review – Jack Briggs
Photos (not from this gig) – Lee Allen