Friday, 25 February 2011

We are the Ocean / Blitz Kids / Spy Catcher @ The Sugarmill 23rd February 2011

Review by Matthew Tilt

Photo by Becky Leese

One of the main symbols of mockery in teen culture is that twat with the acoustic guitar, singing about the angst of been this impossibly attractive heartthrob and the fact that no girl could ever understand his deep, poignant inner self, while at the same time never been happy without him. We all hate that guy and Spy Catcher are five of these guys who grew up on a steady diet of post hardcore and Foo Fighter-esque mainstream rock. I mean the lyrics say it all.

“Nobody listens, nobody cares.

I’m the next best thing to that.”

To make matters worse, their music is a poppy version of the above influences, which never works because they constantly strive to try and make it sound heavier then it is, possibly due to the fact that the band is made up of members from Cry for Silence and Gallows. Throughout this mish mash of questionable lyrics and musical influences, the crowd are distracted and hold conversations between themselves, only paying attention to applaud at the end of each song.

Luckily things take a massive jump in quality and atmosphere when Crewe hot picks Blitz Kids hit the stage. Proving to be one of the best bands from the NWOKF (New Wave Of Kerrang! Fodder) it’s like You Me At Six with an edge, and they give it their all for the crowd who respond by singing every word back to them.

Joe James has a confident and strong voice and completely controls the crowd, creating mosh pits for each song. With a new album out in two months, these guys should go on to big things because even though there is very little new here, it’s perfect escapism whether you’re into pop, rock, or you’re a metalhead like yours truly.

Now people really are excited, it’s not long till We Are the Ocean take the stage and when they do the reaction is huge. Unfortunately the music is not, their new stuff is cynically designed to insight sing a longs, and Dan Brown’s ‘screams’ never quite reach the point where they can be considered screams. Not only this but he goes on to copy every other hardcore vocalist by climbing all around the venue, which is entertaining for the first million times you see it, but now that we’re onto what must be the fifth generation of dare devil vocalists it starts to get really boring.

With the new album they’re in a strange loophole of music, where they lack the bite of post hardcore while having a little too much to be considered truly mainstream and this means that it makes their heavier old stuff stands out like a sore thumb in their set. It’s strange because while most bands progress and change their style around the sophomore album, WATO still seem to pine for the old days, as if it was the big bad corporations that pushed them towards the newer sound.

On a less critical note it is a tight and energetic set, and despite all their problems, it is entertaining to behold, that is until Confessions kicks in which attempts all the depth and emotion of a Stain’d B-side, thrown out because it was a little too whiny. Still the crowd love every minute, and cry for more when they leave the stage, I just wish that they had bought better material to their first Stoke show in two and half years.

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