Bodega Social Club, Nottingham, 02.12.14
With Support from: Kagoule
People always say it’s quality, rather than quantity, that matters. This is certainly true for The Xcerts tonight, playing to a very intimate crowd at the Bodega in Nottingham.
The Xcerts have been away for a long time, taking several years out of the industry to reflect and work on their music without the taxing, and sometimes toxic, nature of the industry. But armed with the much-anticipated masterpiece that is ‘There Is Only You’, they’re ready to take on the world.
Every song in their set screams ‘hello, we’re back, pay attention’, and every person in the room has no choice but to comply. Both veteran and new fans alike found something in the setlist that seemed to be just for them, with the band playing old favourites like ‘Aberdeen 1987’, ‘Do You Feel Safe’ and ‘Slackerpop’, as well as a healthy dose of hits from the new album, including ‘There Is Only You’, ‘Pop Song’, ‘I Don’t Care’, and international hit ‘Shaking in the Water’.
Everything about the band says authenticity, integrity and a passion for performance that is sadly lacking in a lot of live shows.
Rock City, Nottingham, 15.12.14
With Support From: Heaven Shall Burn, Northlane and Carnifex.
The Australians are invading, and we couldn’t be happier about it. It’s been a while since Parkway Drive have breached UK shores, but in the time they’ve been away their fanbase has been growing bigger and stronger and more diverse, if this sold-out Monday night show in the Rock City main room is anything to go by.
Choosing to bill three support acts is unusual with such a big band, but each act held their own, bringing out a different aspect of the ‘mosh-metal’ the crowd were so hungry for.
Hoxton Bar and Grill, 18.04.15
With Support from: Hello Operator
The buzz in Hoxton’s overcrowded bar on Saturday night was a tangible hum of excitement, spurred on by the two-for-one happy hour and the warmth of the weather. From my seat near the bar I overheard snippets of conversation in half a different languages, from fans in home-made T-shirts who had travelled hundreds of miles from all over the worold to be here. And they were all talking about one thing; The Darline Buds.
The Darling Buds are the favourite band you’ve never heard of… but you will. The dynamic four-piece is made up of frontman Jamie Campbell Bower, guitarist Tristan Marmont, bassist Roland Johnson and drummer Dan Smith. Although Hoxton Bar and Grill seems like an unlikely choice for a rock show, it has a spacious main room for gigs that provides that intimate artist-crowd feeling unique to indie venues. Tonight, the room is packed from front to back with eager fans, which isn’t a surprise; the show sold out in under 12 hours.
Opening for the band are Yorkshire rockers Hello Operator, who do a killer job of riling the crowdand paving the way for The Darling Buds to take the stage. The Darling Buds burst onto stage in a frenzy, enthralling their fans with old favourites and new songs.
It’s unusual for a band with so little on paper to have such a dedicated, engaged fanbase, but The Darling Buds have become something of an underground
phenomenon, with fans making DIY merchandise and learning the lyrics to songs through watching live videos on YouTube. This became most clear during the bands’ renditions of crowd favourites like ‘Waiting’, ‘Better Man’ ‘Get Your Guns’ and ‘Venice’, as Jamie stopped singing and let the crowd take over in one of those electric, unifying moments that leave you feeling like you’ve been a part of something bigger than yourself.
Newer songs, like ‘Dragons are Real, You’ll Have to Believe Me’, ‘Riptide’ and ‘Freak Like Me’ were met with excitement and enthusiasm despite limited access to the tracks online, which shows just how passionate The Darling Buds’ fanbase is when it comes to supporting the music they love.
With heartfelt, humble thanks from Jamie it’s clear that both band and fans left the show with a sense of exhilaration and fulfilment, although, with a set as incredible as this one I don’t think anyone is willing to wait long for another dose of The Darling Buds, whether it be an album release or a tour!
No one could have anticipated the crowd reaction to the arrival of Parkway Drive. In a, quite frankly, hysterical frenzy, Winston McCall, Jeff Ling, Luke Kilpatrick, Jia O’Connor and Ben Gordon took the stage. The applause was deafening.
Blasting through beloved songs like ‘Sleepwalker’, ‘Dark Days’ and ‘Karma’, something very special happens. There’s a moment of real connection between band and fans, a moment in which every single person feels included personally. Winston recalls how far the band have come, saying on their first UK visit, Parkway Drive played to just a handfull of people, humbly proclaiming ‘now look at us’.
With a sold-out, boiling over, confetti-covered, emotionally exhausted crowd, look at you, indeed.
The intimate nature of the show is, of course, aided by the intimate nature of the venue, allowing the band to talk to the audience in a way that feels genuinely warm and conversational.
Frontman Murray Macleod connected with the crowd, chatting them up and expressing his thanks for fan support and patience waiting for the album, and for the rescheduling of the tour when the band agreed to go out in support of Twin Atlantic. It was clear there were no hard feelings in the room though, everyone was genuinely happy to see the band getting the exposure and recognition they deserve.
The standout moment for me was ‘Aberdeen 1987’, in which Murray left the song open for the crowd to sing the chorus back to him, loud and heartfelt, creating an atmosphere of familial warmth and making everyone involved feel included.