Tag Archives: The Academy

*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.

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*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.

*Review* Against the Current (with Beware of You) The Academy 2 13/10/15

against the current review On Tuesday 13th October American pop-rock/pop-punk band Against the Current’s ‘Gravity World Tour’ hit up The Academy 2 in Dublin! The headlining show was sold out weeks in advance and support came from local Dublin alternative pop-punk band Beware of You. The tour was in support of Against the Current’s ‘Gravity’ EP which was released back in February.

Arriving shortly before 6 I was directed into ‘The Green Room’ to chill until the VIP Meet & Greet was finished, right inside the door of the room eager fans had already formed a relatively long que. A short while past before the crowd rushed downstairs into The Academy 2 and within a few minutes it was almost impossible to see past the crowd that had gathered in front of the stage. The usual issues The Academy 2 has as a venue for sold out shows were pretty obvious but that was not going to kill the mood tonight.

As 6 o’clock hit Beware of You made their way to the stage. Beware of You are a relatively new band having only formed back in January, since then they have managed to not only play the Electric Picnic festival but to release their debut EP ‘Self Portraits’ back in August. Having caught them numerous times at this point I was excited to see what they could do in front of a sold out crowd of about 200 screaming preteens and teenagers. A few weeks before the show guitarist Tara Behan had decided to leave the band, as such they were playing this show as a 4 piece, I honestly expected some of their usual energy and strength to be missing but they quickly proved me wrong.

They kicked things off with ‘I Can’t Explain’ and then followed it up with ‘I’ll Forget You’ the outro of which was a bit off but being down a guitarist a few little things being off was to be expected while they work out the kinks. Despite this the usual infectious energy and jokes were there, members poking fun at each other like they do at every other show they play. By the time the lead single off their EP ‘Control’ started the crowd was really getting into it. During ‘Losing Game’ both bassist Brian and guitarist Sam take advantage of their wireless setups by leaving the stage and started playing in the crowd instead during which they did a few laps around the crowd, the crowd of course ate this up. They headed back to the stage for ‘All I Know’ before heading right back into the crowd during ‘Breaking Down Doors’, squeezing right into the middle of the tightly packed crowd. Vocalist Leah Moore declared that the next one ‘Fearless’ was a new one as an 8-bit intro started playing, the song itself seems very strong, sounding very reminiscent of Tonight Alive’s last album. The aptly named ‘I’m Done’ finished up their set to applause from the crowd.

Despite recently losing a member Beware of You showcased exactly why they are a breath of fresh air in the Irish music scene by bringing the show to the crowd, doing their best to ensure that everybody in the crowd had a good time and will remember their name: 8/10.

Post show I caught up with bassist Brian Loughney to hear what his thoughts on the show were:
‘’We want to thank everyone who came early to see us play and everyone for hanging out afterwards to get pictures and autographs. It was our standout show of the year and one that will be hard to beat. We’re already in talks about doing shows around Ireland to see everyone that we met at the Against the Current show and we can’t wait to make that happen. Everything about the show just showed us and Against the Current why the Irish are the best fans in the world!
Also Against the Current are some of the nicest people, we hung around with Chrissy afterwards and had a great chat and some craic. She also had her first ever drumstick lollipop, which she loved.’’

Around 7.30 Against the Current took to the stage to deafening screams from the crowd. The bands vocalist Chrissy Costanza was almost impossible to see from the back of the room due to her short height. They kicked their set off with the double kick of ‘Talk’ and ‘Paralyzed’ off their ‘Gravity’ EP, Chrissy’s voice sounded quite strained during the chorus of ‘Talk’ but when you have been playing non-stop shows on a world tour for months it is sure to take a toll on your vocal cords. They followed these two new songs up with a couple of old tracks, ‘Infinity’ the title track off their EP of the same name released back in May 2014, ‘Something You Need’ off the same EP and an even older track ‘Thinking’ (‘’The first song we ever wrote’’ – Chrissy) from back in 2012. In comparison to the newer tracks these older tracks do not come across anywhere near as strong, even live, and it was clear from the crowd’s reaction (or lack of a reaction) that not many of them were overly familiar with the songs. Switching back into the new songs with ‘Dreaming Alone’ Chrissy asked the crowd to sing it with her as it is meant to be a duet. They followed this up with their latest single ‘Outsiders’ and Chrissy gave a heartfelt speech about being on the outside of the norm and not understanding how people expect you to meet their expectations and ideas of how you should live your life when everybody is different, as you’d expect the song went down pretty well with the crowd. The title track off their ‘Gravity’ EP then had the strongest crowd reaction of the night before another track off the ‘Infinity’ EP ‘Comeback Kid’ was played, in contrast to the older songs played earlier in the set ‘Comeback Kid’ fits in well with their newer tracks. They quickly jammed the first minute and a half of ‘American Idiot’ by Green Day before performing a strong full cover of The 1975’s hit ‘Chocolate’.

‘Fireproof’ closed out the main set with a stronger crowd reaction than I expected it to get, it is my personal favourite off the EP but it has not been as well received as the other tracks. They then explained how they would normally leave the stage before coming back and playing two more but The Academy 2 being The Academy 2 this is almost impossible to do. At some point during the set Chrissy said she loved Ireland and explained how this was not her first time in Ireland, as her senior trip in High School a few years earlier had been a trip to Ireland. They took a quick crowd selfie before finishing their set by playing ‘Brighter’ and then ‘Another You (Another Way)’. ‘Another You’ makes a strong last song by being another example of an old song that fits in well with their current musical direction and song quality.

Against the Current is a band with a lot of potential, they have a very strong label in the form of Fueled by Ramen, the label known for breaking bands like Paramore, Panic! At The Disco and most recently Twenty One Pilots, and their newer songs have the energy and hooks to help them achieve a similar level of success to those bands, a few weaker old songs are currently holding back their set but in time they will be able to replace them, an equally enjoyable and solid set: 8/10.

*Review* State Champs (with Knuckle Puck & Roam) The Academy 2 16/09/15

state champs

On Wednesday the 16th just under two years since State Champs first played Dublin supporting The Wonder Years in Fibber Magees the pop punk band, from New York, returned to Dublin to play a sold out headlining show in The Academy 2 with support from Knuckle Puck who are also from the states and Roam from the UK.

Doors were early, only 17.00, but despite this plenty of teens qued early in anticipation of the show. As a live music venue The Academy 2 is normally fine as most shows that take place in it are only 25% to 50% full, however for sold out shows like this one the stage can be difficult to see as the crowd blocks it out as the stage itself is very close to the ground and very little of the room is in anyway raised. Surprisingly despite sitting at the back near the bar for the entire show this did not bother me anywhere near as much as it normally does.

The Academy’s Facebook page had posted confusing Stage Times earlier in the day, stating that Knuckle Puck would go on first and at 5.30, however Roam went on first in the end as was to originally expected but this was not until 6.20, 80 minutes after the doors opened. Personally I found this to be pretty annoying as I turned up early expecting the show to start promptly at 5.30, I do not think I was the only one annoyed by this as other people rushed over from work or school or college to make it on time for the promoted first set time.

Roam kicked things off with ‘Warning Signs’ to a pretty full room and got a good crowd reaction with almost the entire crowd jumping along to it. I caught Roam back in May with Man Overboard and they are honestly one of the most exciting new bands I have seen live since Major League with their old vocalist Nick Trask back at the start of 2013. Frontman Alex Costello oozes energy and is everything a good front man should be, the on the spot stage banter is appreciated by the crowd. Surprisingly only a handful of people raise their hands when asked if anybody had seen them play Fibbers in May, possibly a sign of who people were there for. Their set was mostly all of their two EPs put together but a few songs in Alex says that they have been finishing up their album and announces that they will be playing a new one next called ‘Cabin Fever’ which takes the place in their set that ‘Sticker Slap’ previously had. Ending with ‘Head Rush’ they leave the stage to appreciative cheers. The mosh pits and circle pit were sadly missing this time but Alex did his best to try and win the crowd over with jokes about potatoes and discussions about Irish food towards the end of the set. A solid 8/10 that makes me look forward to their debut album even more so than I already was.

Next up was Knuckle Puck, their first time taking to the stage in Dublin and it was obvious from the crowd reaction that they had a relatively large fanbase that had been waiting for them to finally play a show here. They kicked things off with ‘Disdain’ off their recently released debut album ‘Copacetic’. The set was a healthy balance of old songs off their various EPs and new songs off ‘Copacetic’, however at only 7 songs the set felt very short. ‘No Good’ comes across particularly strong despite being the oldest song in their set, the crowd spent most of the song chanting the lyrics back at frontman Nick Casasanto. The set finishes on another strong note with ‘Pretense’ off ‘Copacetic’ which is sure to be a crowd favourite once fans have had more time to familiarize themselves with the album. In comparison to Roams frontman Alex’s on the spot stage banter Nicks comes across as rehearsed, like something out of ‘Every Pop Punk Vocalist’ by Jarrod Alonge, like it is fine to want to plug your new album as much as possible during a short set but it can feel like trying too hard to sell it, the same goes for the lengthy ‘buy our merch’ plug. The songs are very strong, the crowd interaction was too but the stage banter needs to focus less on selling and more on actually talking to the crowd: 8.5/10.

And finally the band the 200+ person crowd had been waiting for all evening State Champs took to the stage. Opening their set with ‘All You Are Is History’ off their upcoming album ‘Around the World and Back’ out October 16th the crowd surged into life. This was quickly followed by ‘Remedy’ off ‘The Finer Things’ then they played another off their upcoming album ‘Secrets’ before playing more tracks off ‘The Finer Things’ for most of their set. Declaring that they would play two more songs they said this is when they would normally leave the stage before returning to it but this is not an easy thing to do in The Academy 2 (but I have actually seen Tonight Alive do it), jokingly they said they could hide behind the speakers to the side before thanking everybody for coming and playing ‘Losing Myself’ another new one. After they had finished playing ‘Losing Game’ they said that the crowd’s reaction to it was the strongest they have had yet live. They finished things up with an energetic ‘Elevate’ to applause. The band seemed genuinely happy to be there and thankful for it this was especially evident when they were handed a large flag with the design from the cover of ‘Around the World and Back’ drawn on it, they said they this was the first time they had ever been given such a large drawn on flag. The new tracks come across incredibly strong, which in turn has made some of the older cuts seem weaker and dated, these tracks will hopefully be cut from the set once the new album is released in a few weeks but for now they show how much this band has progressed over the course of the last two years since ‘The Finer Things’ was released: 9/10.

Despite the confusing set times, early doors and the long wait for the first set – strong sets from all three bands made for a very enjoyable show!