Gig Review by Kirsty Hillyer with Gig Photos by Lee Allen

Man Overboard

Tonight felt like I was 13 again hanging out at the Red Rose in Rugeley. The Slade Rooms has an air of the 6th form common room full of hormonal teenagers ready to release some tension by going crazy in the pit. Tonight’s show is a rescheduled tour that was originally meant to see a now defunct Hostage Calm and scandalicious Front Porch Step supporting.

Smile and Burn

Smile and Burn

Smile and Burn

Smile and Burn

Smile and Burn

I have to admit I was pretty excited to see first band up, Smile and Burn, with demos kicking around since 2009 they haven’t been on my radar before now. Hailing from Berlin, Germany, these guys know how to laugh at themselves and have fun. As we are hit with a blast of German hip hop for the intro music, the lead singer emerges from the back of the room with a huge smile on his face wanting to know if we are ‘Ready for some dancing or what’ and getting the room clapping from the off.

There is a super fan in the crowd singing along to everything and I can heartedly recommend checking out the video for their new single ‘Action, Action’. As they play ‘Nightcaps’ form the new album, they acknowledge the similarities in the riff to Bruno Mars’ ‘Locked out of Heaven’. I’m still on the fence with these guys but they open up the show with huge energy and a sound and humour reminiscent of The Hives and We Are Scientists.

Roam

Roam

Roam

Roam

Roam

More fitting for tonight’s bill is Eastbourne pop punkers Roam; with predictably timed jumps, its harmless generic pop punk. By the second song in, the kids are crowd surfing and finger pointing to full effect. Sadly their set is overshadowed by a kid’s crowd surfing, suplex maneuver into the pit and onto the stage; with the music stopped, security called for and the resident first aider it takes some time to get things going again. The crowd rubbernecks before promptly starting where they left off, crowd surfing with more concern about losing their caps than their heads. With a lot of love and singing along in the crowd its good to see the support for new UK acts, and with a new EP out on Hopeless Records you can bet you’ll be seeing more of these guys.

Moose Blood

Moose Blood

Moose Blood

Moose Blood

Moose Blood

Moose Blood are putting in their graft in support slots at the moment, having seemingly been permanently on tour this year. Opening with Bukowksi, they deliver their standard support slot set to appeal to a more upbeat main headliner. Having been the fourth time I’ve seen them this year some diversity in the set would be welcome. Whilst I love what they’ve put out to date their inability to play Kelly Kapowski live is a disappointment they should put some time in to rework and offer an acoustic version instead. As the crowd sings a long Eddie cracks a smile and they appear a much more relaxed and confident band as they end the set with Boston.

Man Overboard

Man Overboard

Man Overboard

Man Overboard

Man Overboard

Man Overboard are a band with great branded merch and yet their early days of being so Blink 182 it hurt meant that, whilst it seduced many, I shied away from them. It’s with an open mind that I watch tonight. They certainly know how to work the crowd but the sound is awful as they focus their energy into their performance and engagement. The anthemic standard pop punk of their big hitting album ‘Real Talk’ has the kids crowd surfing in their droves. The crowd doesn’t care about the sound as long as they can release some tension, get sweaty and sing their hearts out. As jokes are shared and they regale stories of past tours, Man Overboard put in the graft to deserve their fan base and take the time to hang out after the show. Whilst I’m not a convert to their club they know how to deliver to their target teen demographic.

See the complete photo set by Lee here.

Leave a Reply