Who: The Word Alive / Continents / I, The Dreamer
Where: Flapper & Firkin, Birmingham
The Flapper & Firkin in Birmingham, or ‘The Flapper’ as it’s more affectionately known (I wonder if anyone calls it pissflaps? Ya know, like, getting pissed…at the Flapper = Pissflaps! No? OK, nothing to see here, moving on), is sadly nearing the end of its existence as a live music venue. The smell of freshly printed banknotes has obviously been wafted in the faces of those cretins at Birmingham City Council as in their infinite wisdom, they’ve decided to demolish this much-loved boozer to make way for some flats……FUCKING FLATS!!?! Unbefuckinglievable. What the fuck are the people in these flats going to do on a Friday night if the council have closed all the fucking pubs?!
RANT OVER……..(for now)
I’ve made the pilgrimage up the M5 from my hobbit hole in the rolling hills of sleepy old Malvern for Phoenix Arizona’s The Word Alive to treat my lugholes with some metalcore right nice. But first, Birmingham based ‘I, The Dreamer’ hit the stage and do a decent job in getting the crowd simmering (like a saucepan on low heat). The vocalist showing his confidence by grabbing the rafters and leaning across the front row while the bassist provided some decent harmonised backing vocal parts. I was quite enjoying their set until their inclusion of a cover of a Paramore track midway through the set put me off. I’m from the school of thought that unless you can do it justice and actually improve someone else’s song, don’t bother covering it. It’s just not worth it.
By the time South Wales’ finest, Continents kick in to their first song of the set, the old flapper (aka pissflaps – I’m making it a thing k?) has filled up quite nicely and a few young lads who’ve had a couple of sherberts break out into a mini push-mosh/pogo. Funny. It’s easy to see why though. Frontman Phil Cross and his merry band of….errr……bandmembers, give their new track ‘Bad Blood’ (which isn’t a Taylor Swift cover) an airing and it sounds MASSIVE! Full marks to the guy manning the sound desk as the mix sounds banging! The kick drum and sub drops, plus any other low-end shizzle, rumbles through my gut while the mid-range of the guitars and the crisp vocals from Mr Cross are perfectly audible. It’s obvious to me that this band have been around the block, playing the circuit and learning their chops. With songs which feature fast blast beats, fist-pumping mid-tempo sections which make most of the crowd nod their heads like the Churchill dog (OOHHHHHHHHHHHH YEEEEEEEESSSSSSHHHHH) plus some earth-shattering breakdowns, their set goes down a storm tonight. Phil does his best to encourage some movement from the crowd by asking them to “move forward! I wanna feel the fucking heat”. After their penultimate track, he requests everyone to “make some fucking noise” but he didn’t need to ask as we were already showing our appreciation with cheers and claps. (To continue with my cooking analogy), the ladies and gents making up tonight’s crowd are bubbling up nicely.
The Word Alive had a hard act to follow tonight in my humble opinion, but by crikey did they deliver! When you consider they’ve played some BIG venues in their 10 years of being a band, it could be easy for them not to put in the same effort for 100 people in a small pub in Brum. But that isn’t the approach they take this evening. They play like they’re playing to 10,000 people in a football stadium. Opening with their new single ‘Misery’ (which is a banger!), vocalist Telle Smith wastes no time and gets the girls in the front row into a frenzy by regularly jumping on the stage monitors and reaching the mic out into the crowd for some audience participation, while the bassist (who looks remarkably like a fisherman with his beard and woolly hat) pulls off some great spins without clocking anyone on the noggin with his headstock. Skillz. The highlights of the night are when they dive into their back catalogue and treat the room to renditions of classic tracks like ‘Life Cycles’, ‘Sellout’ and ‘2012’. By the time they finish the set with ‘Trapped’, the crowd were boiling on high heat and spilling all over the place (analogy complete). I can honestly say The Word Alive were tighter than a nun’s chuff in a chastity belt tonight and have no doubt they will continue to stun their fans on the rest of the tour with their relentless energy and professionalism.
It’s back down the M5 to my hobbit hole now to cook a roast chicken and some Po-tay-toes a la Samwise Gamgee. Jesus H! I need to get out more.