Tag Archives: Music

*Review* While She Sleeps – The Academy, Dublin 01/05/17

On 1st May 2017, English metalcore band, While She Sleeps, kicked off the month by playing a very long overdue Irish headliner in The Academy in Dublin. They were touring in support of their brand new, independent release, their third album ‘You Are We’.

Fizzy Blood opened the show, while their music may have been a bit out of place for this show, they put on a feverish performance anyways and got a great response from the crowd. They put a lot of effort into trying to win the crowd over and were rewarded with a wall of death during their last song: 6.5/10.

Landscapes, on the other hand, put on an atmospheric and intense performance. While they did not put a lot of effort into trying to win the crowd over, they got a warm response from them. Not a lot of crowd interaction but a decent performance none the less: 6.5/10.

The crowd started chanting While She Sleeps name as their intro started to play. The band’s stage production included swaying light bulbs hanging down from the ceiling. As they took to the stage and kicked off their set with ‘You Are We’ the title track off their new album, the assembled crowd exploded to life for the first time that night, throughout the song people were either jumping along or involved in the massive pit that was taking up most of the crowd, a long overdue headliner indeed. While She Sleeps sounded absolutely massive and continued their set with the crushing sound of ‘Civil Isolation’, with the entire crowd clapping along during its contrasting melodic bridge. Next up was an old favourite ‘Seven Hills’ off the band’s debut album ‘This Is The Six’, triggering the first big sing-a-long of the night, during the song the band’s vocalist, Loz Taylor, climbed into the front of the crowd and screamed the lyrics along with the crowd, an early and big highlight of the night.

Jumbled sound clips played throughout the venue before ‘Brainwashed’, the title track off their second album, kicked in, during which the crowd parted ways for the first massive wall of death of the band’s set. As the intro of ‘Empire of Silence’ started the crowd began clapping and singing ‘woah’ until it kicked in. Another heavy track ‘New World Torture’ followed it, triggering another wall of death. Guitarist and clean vocalist, Mat Welsh, grabbed an acoustic guitar and played the intro of ‘Wide Awake’ with it before being handed back his electric guitar for the rest of the song, the band got a very large circle pit going in the crowd during the song. Loz picked up and put on an Irish flag he was handed and was met with ‘Olé, Olé, Olé’ from the crowd, after which he said that if he had known that, that was what he had to do to get that response from the crowd he would’ve done so earlier in the set. Loz dedicated the next song ‘Our Legacy’ to the entire room, during which he performed a mic swing before climbing onto the crowd.

Next was ‘Feel’, the heavy number got most of the crowd head banging along. Before the band played ‘This Is The Six’, Loz demanded a circle pit around the sound desk, which the crowd gladly obliged with. They ended their main set with another big sing-a-long in the form of recent single ‘Silence Speaks’. As they left the stage the crowd once again began chanting ‘While She Sleeps, While She Sleeps’. The band came back and kicked off their encore with ‘Four Walls’, before which Loz demanded that the crowd light up the whole room and for people to get on each other’s shoulders. The final wall of death of the night happened during ‘Four Walls’ before the band finished their set with ‘Hurricane’ as the entire room erupted for one last time, either singing and screaming along or by getting one last mosh in.

This was a long overdue Irish headliner from one of the most genuine and hardworking bands in the UK scene. While you’d question While She Sleeps setlist focusing on their newer material, the fact is, their new album ‘You Are We’ is their strongest release yet, both on record and live. The band have found the perfect balance between the melodic and heavy sides of their songs, and their live energy is as infectious as it has always been, except now it is even more refined and arguably even stronger. An easy: 10/10.

*Review* Busted (with Natives) – Olympia Theatre, Dublin 01/03/17

English pop rock act Busted kicked off March by bringing their ‘Night Driver’ tour to Dublin’s Olympia Theatre on Wednesday, March 1st. It was a much more intimate affair than their previous show in Dublin in the 3Arena last year, you can check out our review of that show by clicking: here.

Support on the night came from Natives, a band who describe their sound as ‘tribal pop’, and if that sounds like a gimmick, it is because it is one. They mix tribal sounds, with a focus on percussion elements, with an otherwise bland pop rock sound. The members of Natives used to play together in a pop-punk band called Not Advised, and while their vocalist Jim Thomas could pull off the angsty vocals required for that genre, his vocals, in my opinion, do not seem to lend themselves well to the pop-focused sound Natives are going for.

Natives opened their set with ‘Chasing Lions’ during which they asked the crowd to get on the ground and then to jump up, which was very ambitious for a support band to try to get the crowd to do during their first song, but it worked reasonably well. Throughout their set vocalist Jim did his best to keep up this crowd interaction and I was impressed by him doing so. Their new single ‘War Paint’ made an appearance and they finished their set with ‘Stop the Rain’ which the crowd enthusiastically clapped along to the beat of. Natives may not be to this reviewer’s tastes but they put a lot of effort into interacting with the crowd and got a very good response from them, which they deserve a bonus mark for: 5.5/10.

While the stage production during Busted was far more limited than it had been during their 3Arena show last year, it was still very impressive, which has given them a reputation for having a strong stage production regardless of the size of the venue they are playing and therefore trying to accommodate. The entire back half of the stage consisted of light pillars that created a constantly changing screen of lights, their backing drummer and backing guitarist were also hidden amongst these pillars.

Busted started off their set by playing a few new songs off their new album ‘Night Driver’: the catchy beat of ‘Kids With Computers’ going down well with the crowd, before ‘Thinking of You’ and its catchy chorus got some of the crowd to sing-a-long. ‘On What You’re On’, the album’s well-received lead single, with its Daft Punk like sound, followed and almost the entire crowd sprang to life with a decent amount of the crowd singing-a-long to its chorus. During these opening numbers, it is of note that vocalist and guitarist, Charlie Simpson did not have or play a guitar, and James Bourne was also playing a keyboard instead of his guitar. Before they played the next song Charlie and James were handed guitars. This time the entire crowd sprang to life as the opening note of ‘Air Hostess’ kicked off the song, the crowd sang the first verse without the need for James to utter a single note, an early highlight of the set. The title track off ‘Night Driver’ followed with Charlie returning to being guitar-less, before taking his guitar back for a surprise of the setlist, ‘Nerdy’ off their second album, 2003’s, ‘A Present for Everyone’, its humorous lines going down well with the crowd. Afterwards, Charlie complimented the crowd on their singing by saying “I know I shouldn’t say this but ye shit all over Belfast, [it is] nice to hear some noise”. More new songs off ‘Night Driver followed. During ‘Without It’ the bands backing guitarist was highlighted by playing a very strong guitar solo. James demanded a dance off before the band played ‘I Will Break Your Heart’, one of the new songs that actually featured Charlie and James playing guitars live during it.

Having played a lot of new songs during the first half of the set, the second half of the set instead focused on the older ‘hits’. The crowd sang-a-long loudly to the entirety of ‘Who’s David’ before stepping it up a notch during ‘Sleeping With the Light On’ by once again singing the entire first verse without the need for James to. The crowd continued to step things up by singing-a-long even louder to ‘Crashed the Wedding’. ‘3am’ is always going to be a personal highlight of a Busted set for me but this performance was particularly of note because Charlie screamed during the ‘much more’ part, something he was known to do back in the day but had not done while performing it last year in the 3Arena. They closed out their main set with ‘Year 3000’ their most well-known song.

Busted returned to the stage and kicked off their encore with the other big hit off their debut album ‘What I Go To School For’ before making the confusing choice to end their set with two new songs ‘Coming Home’ and ‘Those Days Are Gone’. ‘Coming Home’ is fitting as it was the first new material they had released in over 10 years when they released it last year and ‘Those Days Are Gone’ is arguably fitting due to its melancholic tone and lyrics, reflecting how the band’s youth and old pop-punk sound is in the past, and that they are now focusing on the present and what the future will hold instead of forever looking back on their past successes but I still think they could have ended the set on a stronger note by switching its spot in the set with ‘Year 3000’s.

Sadly Busted did not deliver too well on the longer set they promised, last May, to play once ‘Night Driver’ was out, the set was one song shorter with 17 songs instead of the 18 they played in the 3Arena but the show was, at the least, about 10 or 15 minutes longer than that set was. This was incredibly disappointing, they left out other older singles they could have played like ‘She Said No’ and strong fan favorites like ‘Why’ and ‘Meet You There’, the choice to not play ‘Easy’ off ‘Night Driver’ was also weird as it was the first song they wrote together in years, and bridges their old and new sound perfectly. Regardless, Busted continue to prove, with an impressive stage setup and equally impressive performance, that they deserve to be back and not just forgotten about: 9/10.

*Review* Motionless In White (with New Years Day) The Academy, Dublin 14/01/16 (Throwback Thursday Review #1)

Occasionally due to a combination of my college workload, general work, and busy lifestyle, a review is left to the side and forgotten about, in some cases, like this one, they are already half written, the purpose of Throwback Thursday Reviews is to make sure these reviews see the light of day and to give people who did attend these shows a chance to look back at them and reminisce. 

miw new show
On Thursday 14th January 2016 American gothic metal/metalcore band Motionless in White‘s ‘Beyond the Barricade‘ tour finally hit up Dublin after being previously postponed back in November 2015 after the Paris terror attacks. Support on the night came from the UK’s Silent Screams and another American band New Years Day. It was the first time Motionless in White had played Ireland since the release of their 3rd album ‘Reincarnate’ and just over two years after their previous headlining show in the venue back in September 2013.

Upon arriving at the venue shortly after doors I was surprised by the huge turnout, from just the size of the large que that was making its way into the venue I knew this would be a far more packed out show than their previous one in the venue.

Silent Screams were first up and truthfully I was not impressed. While I might just be getting too old for the genre, I found their brand of metalcore to be as generic and boring as possible. Unclean vocalist Joel Heywood seemed to be unable to keep up with the pace of the vocals on the tracks and as such a lot of the vocal parts went un-screamed live. Their current single (at the time) ‘Everything Ends’ made an appearance but with added clean vocals that do not appear to be on the version of the song released as a single. Silent Screams are probably just not for me but the moshers in the crowd did seem to react correctly: 6/10.

MIW new years day shot

New Years Day were up next and opened their set with the industrial tinged sound of ‘Kill or Be Killed’ off their third album ‘Malevolence’, which was released only a few months before the show in October 2015, followed by the ever-catchy ‘I’m No Good’ off 2013’s ‘Victim to Villain’. Later in the set, they played the title track off ‘Malevolence’ live for the first time, during the bridge the other members of the band stood still like statues while vocalist Ashley Costelloe kept singing the lyrics, they sprung back to life as the song kicked back in. ‘Angel Eyes’ was performed next but instead of Chris Motionless coming out to sing his part, as you would expect, they sampled it, clearly not bothered by this the crowd still sang-a-long to the whole track. They finished their set off with ‘Defame Me’. Overall the band is surprisingly strong live, Ashley’s vocals were a little bit lacking at times but she really knows how to work a crowd, and as a unit, they perfectly capture the spirit of 80s LA Strip Glam Rock, just in an updated form: 8/10. I went on to review part of the band’s set during Slam Dunk Birmingham in May 2016, you can check that out by clicking here.

MIW motionless in white

Motionless in White kicked off their set to the beating sounds of the Korn like ‘Death March’ before keeping the nu-metal influenced theme up with the ode to Slipknot that is ‘Devil’s Night’. The set included a tonne of live rarities, the first we were treated to was ‘Fatal’ off the Deluxe Edition of ‘Infamous’, it’s sound being more like the band’s older sound than their current one, which has made it a fan favorite. ‘Abigail’ the first single released off of ‘Creatures’ their debut album released back in 2010 followed it, before a very rare appearance of ‘Undead Ahead’ off the same album, which was only played a handful of times back in 2011 before being added to the bands set towards the end of 2015. The crowd sang-a-long to every word of ‘A-M-E-R-I-C-A’ off ‘Infamous’ before another rare appearance in the form of the Marilyn Mansionesque ‘Hatef**k’ off the same album. Keeping with the early 00’s nu-metal vibe they covered Linkin Park’s ‘One Step Closer’ next, quite a surprise but fun none the less. Ashley Costelloe came out to perform ‘Contemptress’ with the band. ‘Immaculate Misconception’ moved from its usual spot in the encore to a spot in the main set with the crowd screaming-a-long to its aggressive lyrics. ‘Sinematic’ off ‘Infamous’ was another rare appearance, resulting in the band having played the entire deluxe edition of the album in The Academy’s main room other than one song (‘Burned at Both Ends’). The final rarity included in the set and used to close the main set was ‘Scissorhands (The Last Snow)’ the closing song on ‘Creatures’ and my personal favorite part of the set.

The band ended their set with a quick one-song encore performance of ‘Reincarnate’ the title track off their newest album released back in September 2014, the song is, in my opinion, the accumulation of all the band’s influences and these individual influences were showcased throughout their set, with songs clearly inspired by Korn, Slipknot, Marilyn Mansion, Rob Zombie, Bleeding Through and even a cover of a Linkin Park song.  Motionless in White no longer require as over the top a stage production, as they had the previous time they headlined the venue, to keep a crowd entertained, because Chris Motionless’s vocals clearly have improved in the two years since they had previously played The Academy, and the band is now an even more cohesive unit than before, this combined with a near perfect setlist made up of both hits and live rarities from their back catalogue are why I am giving them: 10/10.