Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Tonight Alive - Oxford O2 Academy, 19/08/14

I am very good at procrastinating, so in the weeks leading up to this concert I've often thought to myself 'I will Google EMP!RE and Zoax to hear what they sound like,' and I still turned up to last nights show with literally no idea what to expect from the support bands. 
First up, EMP!RE were, sadly, rather bland. I was extremely impressed with the first couple of songs, sounding like a mixture of Skindred and The Blackout, but after a few it seemed pretty obvious that they were just recycling the same pattern and it was extremely difficult to tell one song apart from another. However, sometimes this is just an issue that happens with new, upcoming bands, so I would still suggest listening to their mini album 'Where The World Begins' so you can formulate your own opinion on the matter. Check out 'Future, Past and Present' here and keep an eye out for releases in the future, as I'm sure they'll come into their own with a bit more practice. 
Contrastingly, Zoax were absolutely spectacular. With frontman Adam Carroll putting on a live show that put Jason Aalon Butler from letlive. to shame, it was an utterly mesmerizing half an hour that I was willing not to end. Spending more time in the crowd than on the stage, with some time spent lying on the floor with half of the fans in attendance, it was an unpredictable and unbeatable performance with the velocity and ferocity of a hurricane. And when a support band utters the words 'Wanna hear a new song?' they're normally dreaded, with limp crowd participation and a general disinterest and nonchalance, but the biggest crowd reaction of the night came with the song that followed and when that happens you know you're witnessing the start of something remarkable. Zoax have something very special and, while I can't quite put my finger on it, this band needs to explode soon because they most definitely deserve it. If they aren't selling out rooms that size soon off of their own merit I will be highly shocked. Check out their Youtube channel here and if you can attend Make A Scene festival you should definitely check them out, you won't be disappointed and you won't be forgetting it for a long time. 
However, after such an amazing support band, Tonight Alive fell a little flat for me. Don't get me wrong, Jenna McDougall was charismatic and charming as ever, apologising for talking so much between songs but justifying that she felt 'comfortable' with the crowd. It was obvious to see why; so many hardcore Tonight Alive fans were in attendance, screaming along to the words ranging from recent Spiderman soundtrack hit 'The Edge' to first EP material 'Wasting Away'. Slowing it down in the middle of the set to perform tear-jerker 'Amelia' acoustically, Jenna proved that she has both the range and depth of vocal and emotion to cement success for the Australians. The majority of the set was dedicated to second album, 'The Other Side', so it will be interesting to see what they choose for their setlist at Reading and Leeds festivals respectively, whether deciding to focus the appeal to old or new fans. I'm excited to see how they fare at Reading Festival this weekend, as it is their first appearance and the vocals went a little bit sharp at times throughout last night, but this was a warm-up performance so mistakes were easy to forgive and forget with the rush of adrenaline that sustained itself throughout the set. If you haven't caught Tonight Alive live before, it's definitely something I'd recommend doing when they come back to tour with The Summer Set and Chunk! No Captain Chunk throughout November. 

The Edge
The Ocean
Don't Wish
Hell and Back
Wasting Away
What Are You So Scared Of?
The Other Side
The Fire
Lonely Girl

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