Monday, 20 February 2017

Taking Back Sunday - O2 Forum, London, 16/02/17

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I missed black foxxes set, but Frank Iero and the Patience took to the stage fifteen minutes later than expected, so I managed to get there for their whole set.
I was apprehensive when the band were announced as support. I saw frnkiero and the cellabration live twice, but didn't know if their new stage name meant they'd no longer be performing material from debut album '.STOMACHACHES.'. My opinions on the other two sets of theirs that I'd experienced were vastly different; I found the first utterly disappointing, but the second was a successful festival set that left me begging for more.
This performance reverted my opinion back to its original state.
Starting the set with three songs from 'Parachutes', my first thought was that it was promising. The music is more developed than the debut album, intricate guitar lines looping over the bass and through the drums, making the band a tight and cohesive machine.
But Frank Iero's vocal was not up to scratch. He was struggling. I could hardly understand a word that he was sing-screaming, and at points his mouth was wide open and you couldn't hear anything coming out. The backing vocalists carried him. Without them, it would have been a complete train wreck.
I hadn't heard the new songs before, so I don't know if that's how they're supposed to sound, but I found myself cringing and wishing that the set would end.
That's the problem with Frank Iero and the Patience: if it wasn't for Frank Iero, they would be nowhere. Thanks to the success of My Chemical Romance, Frank has a ready made fan base that blindly accept anything he releases, regardless of musical prowess or lyrical content. If it was an unknown support band playing music like this, the crowd would be bored and wouldn't participate; there wouldn't be crowdsurfing and moshing throughout almost every song. It's not that kind of music.
It's exasperating. There's an entire genre out there that sounds like this and never really gets off the ground, and because Frank went from a platinum-selling band he has a crowd the size that which other bands playing this style will never be able to achieve.
I'm not innately against the band: if I was I wouldn't enjoy the older material so much. Songs like 'Tragician' and 'Weighted' work perfectly in a room of this size, and are bright moments in an otherwise dull and dreary set. I just wish the second album had been a development in this direction, rather than away from a sound that really suited them.

World Destroyer
Veins! Veins!! Veins!!!
I'm A Mess
I'll Let You Down
All I Want Is Nothing
Dear Percocet, I Don't Think We Should See Each Other Anymore
Stage 4 Fear of Trying

I'm not a huge fan of Taking Back Sunday's new album, but I'm a sucker for their live show.
The songs from 'Tidal Wave' are rather different than anything else they've released - most similar to fourth album 'New Again', which they never play songs from live - so they stand out in the set. I thought that was going to be a bad thing, but it actually breaks things up nicely.
Starting with 'Death Wolf' was a risk that didn't pay off: its "Had a little bit and now we want some more" repetitive chant building to a crescendo could have been a really climactic point in the middle of the set, but as opener it fell flat. It was premature, the crowd failing to warm up in time.
However, after playing the classic 'Timberwolves at New Jersey', the crowd finally kicked up into high gear. I was quite far back in the seats - the problem with getting to the venue late after being stuck in horrendous traffic - and it was impressive to watch a huge amount of the audience surge to their feet moments in to the song, arms waving in the air as they reminisced on old times.
The throwbacks continued to get the best responses throughout: 'What's It Feel Like To Be a Ghost?', 'You're So Last Summer' and 'Cute Without The 'E' (Cut From The Team)' all getting explosive reactions. When the crowd is singing louder than the band is playing? That's dedication.
While the people in attendance were more energetic during the old songs, the band seems invigorated by the new material. During 'Death Wolf' vocalist Adam Lazzara was leaping across the stage, furiously roaring into his microphone and shrieking like a banshee, more unrestrained than ever before. He seemed excited to tell the fans about the new songs, introducing 'Call Come Running' by describing the music video they released (and the way he got his father involved) and sharing the story behind 'All Excess' (a song written about Slam Dunk festival, and the way Adam "went on this terrible bender [and] extremely embarrassed [himself]").
They seem to be so proud of the album they've released that they want to showcase it. It's not an obligation, it's an honour. That alone is enough to make me reconsider my verdict on the album, and I'm looking forward to listening to it again with the knowledge of how much it means to the band.
The night was over far too quickly - despite the fact that this was an eighteen song set, it passed in a flash. It's impossible not to have fun at a Taking Back Sunday show, especially when the band seem much more enthusiastic than they ever have before.

Death Wolf
Liar (It Takes One To Know One)
You Can't Look Back
Timberwolves at New Jersey
What's It Feel Like To Be a Ghost?
A Decade Under the Influence
All Excess
Error: Operator
You're So Last Summer
Flicker, Fade
Call Come Running
You Know How I Do
Stood A Chance
Better Homes and Gardens
Tidal Wave
My Blue Heaven
Cute Without The 'E' (Cut From The Team)

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