Gig Review – A Day to Remember @ Alexandra Palace, London, 12/02/2014

A Day to Remember

W/ The Story So Far, Every Time I Die, Mallory Knox

@ Alexandra Palace, London, 12/02/14

ADTR 2014 UK Tour Poster

The older I get, the less new bands I can get into. Maybe it’s an age thing. The days of me sitting around watching MTV for hours on end are long gone so not much really sticks. The Story So Far are one band, however, that I did notice. After a succession of splits and EPs, the Walnut Creek punks hit the mainstream last year with their album What You Don’t See and a well-earned spot on the Warped tour. They play the energetic brand of pop punk championed by the likes of The Wonder Years and I couldn’t wait to see if they could cut it live. Unfortunately, I missed their set through my own ineptitude. Ditto Every Time I Die and Mallory Knox. Which is a shame, I was impressed with Mallory Knox’s debut and lets face it, any band named after a character in Natural Born Killers can’t be bad.

There are some bands that when you listen to their studio recordings, you just know you are only getting half the story. ADTR are one of those bands. They’ve been near the top of my ‘to see’ list since I first listened to 2009’s Homesick, still one of my favourite albums. I was less enamored with last year’s Common Courtesy, partly because of all the faffing about between songs. It’s a ‘window into the creative process’ that, frankly, I could do without. After ‘I Remember’ there’s about 6 minutes of it. Despite that, they remain a band notoriously difficult to define. Are they punk? Hardcore? Metalcore?

Does it even matter?

Anyway, bring it ADTR. Here is your chance.

They take the stage in a flash of pyro to the thumping strains of All I Want. They are much less poppy in a live environment. Surprisingly, a lot of their lighter material seemed to fall a little flat while the more hardcore songs went down a storm. Fast Forward to 2012 sequeing into 2nd Sucks was absolutely brutal. Mid-set they surprised everyone, and showcased their considerable skills in the process, by going acoustic for a song and a half. Surprisingly, the set was weighted considerably toward older material, highlights being My Life For Hire and You Should Have Killed me When You Had the Chance. The guitar interplay between Neil Westfall and comparative new boy Kevin Skaff was just as layered and complex as it sounds on the records, but live it has an added punchiness that powers the songs effortlessly toward their thundering conclusions.

I don’t know what the huge multi-level doll’s house stage set was all about, but the band made full use of it, jumping around with admirable intensity. At one point, somebody (it might have been Jeremy McKinnon, it might not have been) crowd surfed in a giant bubble. Haven’t seen that at a gig before. I was also stumped during the encores when the band brought out about 25 bemused-looking teenage girls to stand behind them. Maybe they were competition winners or something. Or maybe they were just a bunch of horny groupies. Who knows?

The choice of venue wasn’t ideal. As legendary as it is, the Ally Pally is like a gigantic cavernous shoebox stuck on the edge of north London. It’s not easy to get to, the acoustics are awful, and if you are more than ten rows from the front you can’t see shit. ADTR are at that awkward stage in the UK where they can’t decide whether they want to be an arena band or not. Personally, I wish they had either bitten the bullet and booked the 02, or done two or three nights in a smaller venue. Ally Pally is the worst possible choice. But what the fuck do I know?

Setlist

All I want
I’m Made of Wax, Larry.
Fast Forward to 2012
2nd Sucks
Right Back at it Again
A Shot in the Dark
City of Ocala
You Had me @ Hello
If It Means a Lot to You
Complicated
Homesick
Mr Highway’s Thinking About the End
Life Lesson’s Learned the Hard Way
My Life for Hire
Sometimes You’re the Hammer, Sometimes You’re the Nail
You Should Have Killed Me When You Had the Chance
Have Faith in Me
Plot to Bomb Panhandle

(Encores):

Violence
All Signs Point to Lauderdale
The Downfall of us All

Advertisements

About cmsaunders

I write stuff. Pretty much any stuff. My dark fiction has appeared in Asphalt Jungle, Raw Nerve, Roadworks, Dark Valentine, Screams of Terror, Shallow Graves, Fantastic Horror, The Literary Hatchet, Gore and numerous anthologies. My first book, Into the Dragon's Lair – A Supernatural History of Wales was published back in 2003, and I've worked extensively in the freelance journalism industry, contributing features to numerous international publications including Fortean Times, Bizarre, Urban Ink, Loaded, Record Collector, Maxim, and a regular column to the Western Mail newspaper. I lived in China for over five years where I taught English during my search for enlightenment, before moving back to the UK in January 2013 to work as staff writer on Nuts magazine. Later, I was senior writer on Forever Sports magazine and associate editor at Coach magazine, before leaving to chance my arm in the world of pro freelance. In recent times I have devoted more time to dark fiction, my latest offerings being No Man's Land: Horror in the Trenches, X SAMPLE and Apartment 14F: An Oriental Ghost Story (Uncut). I also edit, copy write, and ghost write. I am represented by Media Bitch Literary Agency and drink far too much coffee. View all posts by cmsaunders

2 responses to “Gig Review – A Day to Remember @ Alexandra Palace, London, 12/02/2014

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: