Stepping out of the taxi at the rainy O2 Academy Birmingham and seeing the queue stretching so far back was about as disheartening as it could’ve gotten before the show, but the queue quickly disappeared and the penultimate stop on Kerrang! Tour 2015 was under way.
First up were Beartooth [7/10], who performed to the smallest crowd I had personally seen in the O2 Academy 1. It was a little unfair to them that they were on so soon after doors opened, but they still kicked the show off with energy and drive, and those that were in the crowd were into it from the first note of their opener ‘Beaten In Lips’. They were unfortunately not as tight musically as you would expect from Beartooth, but they did what they set out to do. Mosh pits and circle pits galore for the new metal band on the scene, they did a superb job of getting the crowd’s blood pumping.
After what seemed like no time at all, the lights dimmed and Bury Tomorrow [8/10] suddenly appeared on the stage. Diving straight in to ‘Man On Fire’, the atmosphere went from 0 to 100 real quick. Lead singer Dani Winter-Bates has such a commanding and dominating presence on stage, and made good work of getting the crowd moving every time he asked. The majority of their set consisted of songs off new album Runes, which I will be the first to admit not having spent enough time listening to it, but they signed off their extremely solid set with favourites ‘An Honourable Reign’ and ‘Lionheart’ from The Union Of Crowns. Seeing a headline set from these guys would be an absolute pleasure.
For the sake of what I can only assume is a statement that they haven’t disappeared off the face of the Earth, Young Guns made a quick appearance on the bill of Kerrang Tour. I’m not too sure why they were the third band on (and I struggled to comprehend why they were there at all) as they came on stage, played three songs, and left as quickly as they arrived. As a reminder that they’re still around, it was effective, and would’ve gone a long way to pushing ticket sales for their newly announced UK tour in the summer.
American pop-punk five piece We Are The In Crowd [6/10] were the main support act for this show, and didn’t do the best job of keeping the crowd pumped up for the rest of the show. The odd song of theirs such as ‘Best Thing I Never Had’ and ‘Rumor Mill’ were presented as catchy and interactive, but there were too many songs that seemingly sounded the same and for a moment, the gig became a bit pedestrian. It’s a shame as We Are The In Crowd, in the right environment, would surely be an energetic and passionate show, but it was not to be here.
The longest wait of the night ensued, and after being blessed by such short set-up times for the previous bands, this one seemed like an eternity…
But eventually, Don Broco [9/10] strided with pride on stage, and wasted no time in banging out ‘Money Power Fame’, the lead single off their new upcoming album, and transitioning straight in to ‘Yeah Man’. This was a different atmosphere to what I am used to at a gig, and for once I actually had room to move in the crowd for a headliner, and it was a good job I did as the band brought some groove to the show, especially with the selection of new songs that they played such as ‘Fire’ and ‘Superlove’. Yet with the inclusion of a fair few tracks that most will not be familiar with, they did not neglect Priorities in the slightest, and even pushed further back to their EPs, with the push-up squad out in full force for ‘Thug Workout’. Each song sounded just as you would hope live, with no dip in quality or any striking deviations from the album tracks. The band hinted that they will be playing a “local music festival” fairly soon (cue Slam Dunk rumours), and departed on a high, with huge sing-a-longs for ‘Priorities’ and ‘You Wanna Know’.
As far as Kerrang Tour line-ups go, this was a particularly unusual one – not only in the contrasting of genres booked but also the line-up order. But as you would expect it to be, it was a fun and exciting night of music with a blend of all types in the crowd and on the stage.