Academy 2, Birmingham - 19.05.2008
At a sold out Academy 2 in England’s second city, Birmingham is where the Give It A Name Introduces tour finds itself tonight.
Following on from previous years it takes a few bands from the main festivals line-up that haven’t toured the UK loads before, puts them all together and carts them off in vans plugging their musical wares to all and sundry. Holding up to 600 people the venue is packed, but it must be said the lure of certain bands on the bill throughout the night clearly shows who the punters had come to see, as the area near the stage visibly fills when Four Year Strong and subsequently Mayday Parade start to play.
Four Year Strong unexpectedly started the night going, drilling their mix of pop-punk and mosh into the brains of anyone in earshot. Ripping through songs from their latest album “Rise Or Die Trying” to stunning effect. These guys clearly know their shit live and the audience is lapping them up from start to finish, including me. Gang vocals are made for the live environment, and the mix of the 3-prongged vocal attack devastates the crowd. They don’t seem to be gimmicky at all, the writhing guitars and non-stop widdling and absolutely blistering drumming continues to pound you and amaze you throughout their musical onslaught. The sound for Four Year Strong can only be described as HEAVY!!! It was brilliant, a lot of the time bands suffer from poor sound in the Academy venues, and especially opening bands, but tonight it was really really solid from the off. A lot of people had obviously shown up just for Four Year Strong, which is the reason them kicking off the bill tonight was so unexpected. Expect them to headline next time as they are a great live band playing brilliant songs from and awesome first album. - 9/10
Up next were sister act Meg & Dia who weren’t quite what I was expecting. I imagined them to be very <>mumsy, in the same way the likes of Eisley appeal to the Mums out there, safe music, you know what I mean, all soft vocals and innocent melodies. Unfortunately for Meg & Dia probably not even your Mum will like them. They have more of a rock edge than you’d associate with Eisley et al, but not enough to ever bring them above the monotonous middle-of-the-road dirge they produced tonight. The girls themselves are pretty enough and seem genuinely nice from their stage banter, but unfortunately the songs are just so bland that when the crowd is noticeably quiet in between songs (No hollering/whooping etc) and the girls say something along the lines of “You are quiet to night Birmingham” you feel sorry for them. It’s not that the crowd is slow in response tonight, the interaction during Four Year Strong proved that, it’s just that Meg & Dia aren’t very good. - 3/10
The Color Fred trumped Meg & Dia, just. The biggest cheer he got was when he talked about “his old band Taking Back Sunday”. That says a lot. The former guitarist of Taking Back Sunday should seemingly have never left to pursue more of his solo-outfit The Color Fred as he plods through numerous weak rock songs that his voice simply can’t pull off as it waivers through and breaks pitch numerous times. I think there was genuine interest in what Fred would be like, but the entire room seemed disappointed and despondent throughout. 4/10
Fortunately Mayday Parade were here to save the night after the past two bands helped plummet excitement levels down to rock bottom. Bursting out on to the stage they held the audience in the palm of their hands and never let go. Playing absolutely killer songs from their album “A Lesson In Romantics” of the anthemic pop-punk variety such as “Black Cat”, “Jamie All Over”, “Jersey” and the gold-standard “When I Get Home You’re So Dead” the band were really on form. The place was buzzing and Mayday Parade never let their crowns slip tonight. Some have said the bands like this are all style over substance, but off the back of tonight’s performance that’s a load of old bollocks! They had the crowd singing along throughout their entire set and could easily be headlining the main Academy stage given a short amount of time. - 9/10
Listen: www.myspace.com/maydayparade, www.myspace.com/thecolorfred, www.myspace.com/megdia, www.myspace.com/fouryearstrong