Kerrang rolled their annual carnival of chaos into Southampton to bring a diverse line up featuring; up and coming British post-hardcore band While She Sleeps, off the chain LA hardcore punks Letlive, Welsh rockers The Blackout & pop puck gods New Found Glory.
I sadly missed Sheffield based bruisers While She Sleeps but I’ve been informed the hit the stage hard and with a highly anticipated new album on the way there one to keep an eye out for the future.
Next, Southampton were treated to an experience not to forgotten. One song in LetLive already provided the crowd with an evening worth of highlights. Front man Jason Butler was animated throughout kicking off with stage dives and climbing the speakers. By the second song he resorted to flinging his mic across the stage and tearing down signs in his reach. But this was nothing compared to his most rememberable antic, leaving a song incomplete, Jason ran off stage to reappear on the balcony at the back of the venue. With the house lights up he teased the crowd provoking them, almost as a call to arms lowering himself off the balcony, he preceded to shake his body in mid-air.
Letlive are no joke they live and die for their music and bring it hard when they hit the stage. As well as his on stage presence the vocal talent of Jason is second to none. His voice can bring out commanding screams of velocity and purpose while in songs like ‘Muther’ he can deliver soft graceful vocals that hit with passion and precision. Watching Letlive is an experience that is gaining a bigger and bigger reputation, on this display the hype has been proven to be well justified with new material on the way this year (hopefully) there a band to watch out for.
A late addition to the bill, The Blackout stepped up to replace Sum 41. Having done it all before on the Kerrang tour in 2010, they showed they knew what to do. Providing the audience with plenty of banter they begged for retaliation while the fans were more than intent to lap up every second of their on stage charisma. Second song in they played homage to their fallen comrades blasting out Fat Lip by Sum 41, receiving possibly the biggest reaction of the night opening a massive pit for the teenage anthem to take hold.
With three full length albums of their own The Blackout were able to delve into a mix of catchy well-driven songs executed in supreme style. They’re a band that knows what the audience wants and by inviting crowd response in their songs and general on-stage banter they make you feel included in the show. They may be a band that appeal to the younger age group but it’s hard not to get sucked into the bands welcoming and fun loving stage show.
The nights main attraction New Found Glory arrive well rehearsed, with 7 studio albums under their belt and 15 years of touring the world. With a mass of songs to choose from the setlist read like an a-z of pop puck. Kicking of with ‘All Downhill From Here’ they bounced onto the stage providing the first of many sing-along’s.
As well as running through their own songs, they provided a masterclass in covers, first song to get the New Found Glory treatment was Kiss Me originally made famous by Sixpence None the Richer, the catchy song fits comfortably with their original marital ringing through the crowd as much as any other anthem. Later on the punk classic ‘Blitztreig Bop’ by ‘The Ramones’ got an airing once again lifting the crowd to sound out their appreciation, the song is not so much transformed but preformed in recognition of a song that inspired many to the punk rock genre. Finally returning for an encore they kicked off another riot in the audience bringing Basket Case to the masses. The Green Day song still remains as relevant as it ever did and it felt good to hear it live even if the original performers weren’t on stage to play it.
There were no surprises that the most anticipated song of their set tonight was played last. My Friends Over You has almost defined their career providing them with their biggest hit played repeatedly on the playlists of teenagers worldwide. So what can be said about the song, with catchy lyrics interchanged through pacing guitar hooks and thumping drum beats the song sounds almost better over time and in a live environment one the fans are keen to show their appreciation for.
On first glance, it was hard to tell whether the diverse bill of hardcore and pop punk would work but after an evening of high intensity and impassioned performances any skepticism was throne out as all the bands flowed across the evening though shared purpose and intent which was in tune with the fans eagerness and response to the music.