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Live Reviews

Paramore

O2 Arena, London

Thursday 20th April 2023

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PARAMORE – LONDON – LIVE REVIEW

It’s fitting that Paramore come back to the UK around Easter time as their return has been received much like the second coming. Yes, you’d struggle to find a more engaged and dedicated audience than the hardcore Paramore fanbase.

Tonight their tour arrives in London at the gargantuan O2 Arena. It’s within this cavernous space that opening act Rozi Plain serenade the early attendees. What I can hear sounds delightful however their sound does struggle to fill the venue.

Our next act don’t struggle with that issue however as indie icons Bloc Party deliver a short and succinct set that mixes old and new to good measure. The uninitiated in the crowd seem somewhat unsure of what they are watching, but those familiar like myself have a great time with this gem of the landfill indie era. How can anybody not perk up to the likes of ‘Banquet’, ‘Flux’ and ‘Helicopter’?

WATCH ‘HELICOPTER’ ON YOUTUBE
Bloc Party – ‘Helicopter’

Read our review of ‘Alpha Games’ from Bloc Party

Soon enough the lights are dimmed and Paramore arrive on stage where they quickly deliver two new tracks ‘You First’ and ‘The News’ from recent album ‘This Is Why’. Soon thereafter classic tracks ‘That’s What You Get’ and ‘Playing God’ kick the evening into another level.

The dynamics of arena seating has always intrigued and annoyed me; particularly the perhaps controversial issue of whether fans in seating should stand up during the show. Personally, it’s fine but it needs to be all or nothing – either everyone stands or everyone sits, not little pockets of standing people ignoring the fact they are blocking the view of those around that remain seated.

WATCH ‘THIS IS WHY’ ON YOUTUBE
Paramore – ‘This Is Why’

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The other thing that gets me is the disrespect of only standing during certain songs. Tonight it was telling the moment Hayley Williams said “my band are letting me play a solo song” or “Zac is going to sing a HalfNoise song” that the vast majority instantly sat down before even a note was played clearly indicating that they weren’t interested in even giving these tracks an opportunity.

This was a theme throughout the night with the older hits getting people stood up (usually to just film the song on their phones), and anything more obscure being treated with utter contempt. This isn’t of course a new phenomenon but it was very noticeable this evening.

Performance wise though, whether the audience reciprocated or not, the entire set was Paramore on top form. It was great to see the band clearly enjoying themselves again, something else which was evident from the night.

By the encore of ‘All I Wanted’ and ‘This Is Why’, the band have delivered the goods and the fans whether sat down or stood up are all clearly pleased with the show. It’s great to have the band back!

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Read our review of ‘This Is Why’ from Paramore

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Live Reviews

Alter Bridge

O2 Arena, London

Monday 12th December 2022

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ALTER BRIDGE – LONDON – LIVE REVIEW

As the year draws to a close, music publications such as us turn our attention to our end of year lists. There will be nods to the best albums, singles, festivals and gigs as December progresses towards it festive finale. The only problem is that 2022 isn’t quite done yet!

Tonight for example the O2 Arena in London welcomes a fantastic package tour with three incredible acts set to grace the stage. Perhaps then those engravers should hold fire on etching the award winner’s names just yet!

This evening is the final night of a tour that has hit five other UK and Irish arenas already this month having first made its way around Europe, and there’s an end of tour / end of year atmosphere in the venue.

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Mammoth WVH – ‘Epiphany’

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The first band up is Mammoth WVH led by Wolfgang Van Halen who showcases his natural talent and feels right at home on this massive stage. Playing a blistering set of material from their self-titled debut release, the band finish with ‘Don’t Back Down’ and leave the stage with many more fans than when they arrived.

WATCH ‘THE STEEPLE’ FROM HALESTORM ON YOUTUBE
Halestorm – ‘The Steeple’

Read our review of ‘Back From The Dead’ from Halestorm

Next up are a band who debatably should be headlining arenas themselves these days, as the screams of Lzzy Hale welcome Halestorm to the stage. Opener, ‘The Steeple’, sets the theme with new album, ‘Back From The Dead’ taking centre stage. That’s no bad thing though as it’s a fantastic album as demonstrated by the likes of ‘Wicked Ways’, ‘Mine’ and the title track.

All the usual Halestorm fun is packed into an abridged set where we still get crowd interaction, over-sized drumsticks and massive rock songs such as ‘Love Bites (So Do I)’ and ‘Familiar Taste of Poison’. ‘I Miss The Misery’ closes out the short but sweet set and leaves you thinking surely a Halestorm arena headline tour must be next on the cards.

WATCH ‘SILVER TONGUE’ FROM ALTER BRIDGE ON YOUTUBE
Alter Bridge – ‘Silver Tongue’

A band very familiar with headlining arenas at this point though is our headline act tonight, Alter Bridge. Another band with a new album to show off, the huge ‘Silver Tongue’ gets the ball rolling as the group once again demonstrate their obscene talents.

A musically sublime performance features their debut album more than recent tours with ‘Shed My Skin’, ‘Burn It Down’ and ‘In Loving Memory’ all highlights. The set list weaves between albums and highlights the musical dexterity of the band along with the commitment of their fans that stand in awe through hits and deep cuts alike.

‘This Is War’ and title track ‘Pawns & Kings’ show that the band remain very much on form as far as new material goes, but naturally it’s favourites such as ‘Metalingus’ and ‘Blackbird’ that elicit the best audience responses tonight.

An encore of ‘Rise Today’ and ‘Open Your Eyes’ seals the deal and sends the crowd into the wintery embers of 2022 happy and thoroughly entertained. It’s tours like this that remind us what we’ve been missing in the past couple of years, and serve as grounds to hold back on those end of year awards until all the entries have made their case!

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Read our review of ‘Pawns & Kings’ from Alter Bridge

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Live Reviews

Evanescence / Within Temptation

O2 Arena, London

Monday 14th November 2022

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Evanescence / Within temptation – london – live review

In many ways the world is broken, but in others the world is now healing after the previous two to three years. All regular gig attendees had their carefully curated schedules wiped out by the pandemic. Cancellations, postponements, uncertainty, changed plans, travel and hotel arrangements in tatters; it’s not been easy for music lovers.

Most of those tours have now finally taken place, but tonight is another where digging out the tickets reminds you just how long ago you actually brought them! So, understandable then that anticipation is high and the venue is full early.

Of course the opportunity to catch both Evanescence and Within Temptation together in the same night may well be a big reason for the atmosphere in London’s O2 Arena. Before that though we get our support act Veridia, who instantly look at home on the big stage.

The group are a fitting opening act and get the crowd suitably warmed up for what’s to come. A tender performance of ‘I’ll Never Be Ready’ with Amy Lee gets those mobile phones up in the air, but there is enough in the set as a whole to warrant further investigation from new fans.

Our co-headliners are rotating the closing slot on this tour and tonight that will be Evanescence, so up next it’s Within Temptation who take to the stage complete with stunning production.

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Within Temptation – ‘Faster’

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If the stage show wasn’t headline worthy alone, the moment the band arrive their presence and energy is truly off the charts. ‘Faster’, ‘Paradise (What About Us?)’ and ‘Stand My Ground’ all help to build on that early atmosphere and create a real moment.

The fact that singer Sharon den Adel is clearly under the weather makes the beauty of their performance even more incredible. The final run of ‘Ice Queen’, ‘What Have You Done’ and ‘Mother Earth’ provides a superb climax to the set and leaves you wondering just how Evanescence can top it!

Soon enough it’s time for them to try, albeit with a much simpler stage show. Evanescence are a rarer proposition on these shores and them going on last feels right in many ways, but as the show gets going it’s clear that the energy levels have dropped.

Their latest album, ‘The Bitter Truth’, is very good and deserves the spotlight live, but tonight following Within Temptation’s huge show it’s clear the audience are after the classics. The atmosphere therefore feels a little flatter, only rising again for the likes of ‘Going Under’, ‘Call Me When You’re Sober’ and ‘Imaginary’.

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Evanescence – ‘Wasted On You’

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New tracks like ‘Wasted On You’ do sound epic tonight however and showcase where the band are very well. Amy Lee reminds everyone what an incredible talent she is and their finale of ‘My Immortal’ and ‘Bring Me to Life’ is probably the highlight of the night.

Having waited for years for this tour neither band disappoint and with two headline worthy performances the show represents great value for money. Both bands have just been announced as returning at Download in the summer, so do the right thing and get them noted on your clashfinder now!

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Read our review of ‘The Bitter Truth’ from Evanescence

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Live Reviews

Biffy Clyro

O2 Arena, London

Saturday 12th November

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BIFFY CLYRO – LONDON – LIVE REVIEW

Biffy Clyro had just announced a UK Arena Tour when the world shut up shop in March 2020. Since then they’ve released two albums, headlined Reading & Leeds and Download Festivals and played an intimate run of UK dates. Now, two and a half years later the band finally gets to grace again the largest indoor venues the country has to offer.

Tonight that places them at the monstrous O2 Arena in London in front of a packed Saturday night crowd. Anticipation is high, and not just for the Scottish heroes, but for special guests Architects fresh from an arena tour of their own back in May.

Both bands will be hoping the crosspollination of their audiences will earn new admirers and for Architects up first there is clearly is mixture of diehard fans and trepidatious unfamiliar audience members.

Focusing on their more accessible recent material is a clever move from the band and tracks such as ‘deep fake’ and ‘tear gas’ ease inhibitions and start to win over those starting out on the fence.

WATCH ‘ANIMALS’ ON FROM ARCHITECTS ON YOUTUBE
Architects – ‘Animals’

A smooth and effortless run through of the likes of ‘Dead Butterflies’, ‘Doomsday’, ‘when we were young’ and closer ‘Animals’ ensures many new fans will have been found tonight. A random introduction from Joel Dommett stated that Architects are one of the best bands in the UK, and whilst our headliners have a major stake in that argument, tonight our guests have ensured that they are in the conversation.

Anybody that has seen Biffy Clyro live however will know that they are one of the most consistently impressive live forces on the circuit. Tonight, to the surprise of nobody, they are once again a level above the competition.

WATCH ‘WHO’S GOT A MATCH?’ FROM BIFFY CLYRO ON YOUTUBE
Biffy Clyro – ‘Who’s Got A Match?’

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Opening trio ‘DumDum’, ‘A Hunger In Your Haunt’ and ‘Tiny Indoor Fireworks’ perhaps provide a slow start to the set but from ‘Who’s Got A Match?’ onwards the venue comes alive as the band produce the proverbial banger after banger.

The composition of the setlist is well balanced with a good mix of new, old and the return of a couple of even older pre-mainstream Biffy Clyro numbers ‘57’ and ‘Glitter and Trauma’.

The stage is simple but effective with the music the focal point tonight, and with the likes of ‘Instant History’, ‘Mountains’, ‘Wolves of Winter’ and ‘Biblical’ on offer that’s all that is really needed.

Just watching the crowd reactions to the likes of ‘Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies’, ‘The Captain’, ‘Bubbles’ and ‘Many of Horror’ makes is so obvious that Biffy Clyro are now fully established as an elite tier act. Mon the Biff!

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Read our review of ‘the classic symptoms of a broken spirit’ from Architects

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Live Reviews

Royal Blood

O2 Arena, London

Wednesday 30th March 2022

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ROYAL BLOOD – O2 ARENA – LIVE REVIEW

As Mike Kerr reminisces multiple times on stage tonight, it has been 10 years since he joined forces with Ben Thatcher to form Royal Blood. As he surveys a packed to the brim O2 Arena, it’s clear that this is a landmark moment for the duo.

To use a tired cliché, their rise has been meteoric (well, by today’s industry standards anyway!), and this evenings show is truly a celebration of what the band has achieved so far.

Over those years the band have proven themselves dab hands at choosing support acts, and this tour has been no different with candescent indie rockers The Amazons opening proceedings.

Soon to release their third album, they are a band already making a mark in their own right, and nights like tonight will only assist in affirming an already growing reputation. Their slot disappears in an instant as they grasp the audience with both hands and shake them with a good old fashioned rocking.

Early favourites ‘In My Mind’ and ‘Black Magic’ sandwich a set showcasing what has come and what is on the way with new single, ‘Bloodrush’ another highlight. The way the band own the stage tonight it’s not unimaginable that they will one day return to headline this venue themselves.

Listen to ‘Bloodrush’ on our Spotify Hot List!

Stage ownership is also something our headliners have never struggled with. From their early beginnings on smaller stages to now playing on the largest stages in the world, Royal Blood have always planted their flag.

With a simplistic yet visually stunning stage show behind them, Kerr and Thatcher set out once again to demonstrate just how much noise two individuals can make.

WATCH ‘HONEYBRAINS’ ON YOUTUBE
Royal Blood – ‘Honeybrains’

With their third album, ‘Typhoons’ arriving in the pandemic era this tour is a chance to take this newer material to the masses and the title track and fan favourite ‘Boilermaker’ instantly kick the door in (I’ll avoid any blowing the roof off puns!).

Older material such as ‘Lights Out’ and ‘Come On Over’ naturally send the crowd into a frenzy, but it is very telling that the newer songs such as ‘Trouble’s Coming’ and ‘Limbo’ elicit equal reaction; even brand new single, ‘Honeybrains’ already appears to be a bona fide crowd pleaser.

It really has been a pleasure following the ascent of Royal Blood from their early days until now. It’s extremely difficult for rock acts to break the mainstream these days; and it’s beautiful yet heart wrenching that the band still recognise those that have supported along the way with a tribute to the late great Taylor Hawkins during a traditionally thunderous Thatcher drum solo.

By the time old favourites ‘Ten Tonne Skeleton’ and ‘Out Of The Black’ ring out the band have proven themselves as belonging on this level. It’s one thing to get there, but another thing to stay there and on this evidence Royal Blood are here to stay.

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Read our review of ‘Typhoons’ from Royal Blood

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Live Reviews

Bring Me The Horizon

O2 Arena, London

Sunday 26th September 2021

Bring Me The Horizon

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BRING ME THE HORIZON – O2 ARENA – LIVE REVIEW

There is a tangible sense of excitement in the air at the O2 Arena. It may be a Sunday night, we may still be living in a pandemic world, there may be a fuel crisis and summer may be in the rear view mirror but tonight nothing else matters.

Tonight is all about a moment, a spectacle, a band ascending to a higher level. It’s a tired debate now really; are Bring Me The Horizon ready? Are they ready to headline festivals, ready to carry the mantle for heavy music, ready to take over the world?

If their live performances in recent years, their chart successes or even their cultivation of a cult-like fanbase aren’t evidence enough that they are already that band then what is? How about a sold out arena tour? How about another number one record in the form of ‘Post Human: Survival Horror’? Well, we are in London to find out.

Read our review of ‘Post Human: Survival Horror’

Up first are one of the most exciting young rock bands around, Nova Twins. Delays in entering the venue leave their crowd a little sparse but the attention of those in the venue is fully trained on the fierce power emanating from the stage. It’s a mesmerising performance from a prospective generational band.

Next on the famous stage are a band who previously headlined the venue in 2015. Since then You Me At Six have dabbled with nostalgia and experimented with new directions. It’s that amalgamation of experiences that has born their latest album ‘SUCKAPUNCH’.

Read our review of ‘SUCKAPUNCH’

The majority of their set tonight comes from their own number one album and the likes of ‘SUCKAPUNCH’ and ‘Beautiful Way’ are greeted with audience response equal to favourites ‘Lived A Lie’ and ‘Underdog’.

The highlight however is a certain Oliver Sykes partaking in an epic run through of ‘Bite My Tongue’. Tonight’s atmosphere is special and You Me At Six make the most of it with a performance that could’ve headlined again.

Instead our headline act is Bring Me The Horizon. At times a marmite band, in that you either love them or you hate them. The hate that the band generate these days however seems to come more from jealousy. How dare a band evolve, how dare a fanbase grow, how dare an alternative band enjoy mainstream success!

‘Post Human: Survival Horror’ seems to have swayed a fair few old school fans back into the fold, but the growth of the band comes from more than that. There is a genuine crossover now between the popular crowd and those that like it heavy.

The Linkin Park-esque ‘Teardrops’ is perhaps therefore a fitting opening number. There is then very little ease in the relentless parade of hits. This is a band now that can’t fit all their popular tracks into a single set list.

So the band now has a top class set list. They also have a premium stage show that perfectly fits the narrative of the evening. They can also pull in guest appearances from Nova Twins on ‘1×1’ and YUNGBLUD on ‘Obey’.

By the time the band finish with ‘Throne’ and ‘Can You Feel My Heart’ there isn’t an audience member in the sold out venue left in any doubt that this band has arrived. Bring Me The Horizon already are everything people argue they are or more to the matter are not! End the arguments now, embrace the future and just enjoy a heavy music success story.

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Check out Episode 7 of our ‘Discover’ New Music Podcast with guests Miss Vincent