Thursday, 17 November 2011

A Day To Remember - Manchester Academy, 15th November 2011

A Day To Remember are just one of those bands. You can lump them in to varying degrees with Asking Alexandria, Paramore, You Me At Six and all of these bands that the scene queens attach themselves to: you see them in Kerrang! every week, you see their t-shirts on the bodies of be-fringed teenagers on any given weekend in Liverpool, and don’t even try going to a rock club if you want to avoid music of this persuasion.

But nonetheless, there is something oddly heart-warming about A Day To Remember. They have gone from strength to strength since their humble beginnings in 2003, only getting bigger and bigger as time has gone by, their success never waning by even the slightest margin, and they have done all this without relying on any kind of discernible image, controversy or pretentious values. Here is a band who write dumb songs with massive hooks and they bloody well know it. Here is a band who feels no shame in doing so. Here is a band who seem scarcely aware of their own success.

Predictably, Manchester Academy 1 is packed out tonight and as such you can practically smell the anticipation (or at least you could if these cock-knocker’s ever got a wash. Seriously chums, even I smell better than you, and I appear to be one of only three males with long hair in the room. Stereotype’s be damned). The old ‘dropping-the-curtain’ routine is one of my favourite techniques bands use in the live environment, and the sudden adrenaline rush when the curtain drops and ADTR [8/10] launch into ‘Sticks & Bricks’ from last year’s bordering-on-flawless What Separates Me From You is just ELECTRIC. It’s a ridiculously strong marking of the territory for them as a band, and the first time that stirring chorus kicks in sends shivers through your entire body. There’s nothing quite like that sense of community you get from being part of a crowd that’s just as loud as the band. Elsewhere, the hat trick victory of ‘All I Want’, ‘I’m Made Of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?’ and ‘All Signs Point To Lauderdale’ is practically genius. The sheer amount of sing-along moments compacted into those ten minutes is enough to make you feel like you’ve collapsed a lung, and you barely have time to give a fuck before ‘Mr. Highway’s Thinking About The End’ sends you back into literally rubbing shoulders with complete strangers once again (and struggling to maintain anything resembling “balance”, whatever that is). Tonight’s highlight award however goes to ‘This Is The House That Doubt Built’, for nothing else but the sheer amount of chills it conjures up. In what has been the only “light” moment of the set so far, every last lyric rings true in the ears of nearly 2000 fans who for the next three and a half minutes all feel like part of a family. If you’ll allow me to get all serious with you for once in my life (it’ll only last a few lines, fret not), everyone in the entire flipping universe has some aspects of their life they’re not happy with. Whether you hate your job (or lack thereof), you’re struggling with education, there’s something not quite right with the family or you’re just sick of being single, we all have our own struggles, and that’s one of very few things we all have in common, at any stage in our lives. This is a song that not only highlights that, but gives you the means to battle it. The lyrics, while predictable and cliché on first glance, connect directly to the centre of your heart, and the sentiment isn’t lost on anybody. “Forget everything just for tonight, we’ll sing like everyone when their alone”. Don’t mind if I do Jeremy, mate. You fucking lovely bloke.

ANYWAY. Back to more pressing matters. From here on out it’s crowd pleasers galore. ‘It’s Complicated’ and ‘Homesick’ (which Jeremy uses as an opportunity to jump into the crowd. IN A MASSIVE INFLATABLE FUCKING BALL. How much of a legend do you have to be?) are absolutely superb, as is a lovably danceable ‘The Plot To Bomb The Panhandle’. After an encore of an astounding rendition ‘If It Means A Lot To You’ and the obvious finale of ‘The Downfall Of Us All’, replete with happy breakdowns and balloons, ADTR exit the stage leaving a very palpable sense of a job well done.

If tonight has opened my eyes to nothing else, it’s how much kids genuinely adore A Day To Remember. Despite being one of those annoyingly cynical minded folk, even I couldn’t help but lose myself in the unmistakeable feeling of fraternity that came with being in that audience. It’s at a live show where these songs come to life, transforming into much, much more than metalcore infused pop-punk anthems that are easy on the ears to make a bus ride seem shorter. Beyond the fact that they’re commercial as fuck and it’s absolutely no surprise they’re the size they are, tonight is the first time I’ve seen the success they’re enjoying and wholeheartedly believe they deserve every second of it. There is not a shred of pretention in sight among them. It’s not often that a band in this realm of the genre can embark on two UK tours in the same year and completely sell both of them out. That’s how truly massive they are, and that’s how much love people the world over have for them. They will make outstanding festival headliners one day. No questions asked. I called it first. Nur-nur.

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