For a month long tour spanning almost the entirety of Europe, championing the diverse line-up of A Day to Remember, August Burns Red, The Ghost Inside and Living with Lions, expectations at Rock City were most certainly high. With the Eastpak Antidote Tour reaching its peak in the UK, Nottingham was set to witness an evening of chaos: from confetti explosions to circle pits as big as the venue floor.
First up were Living with Lions, bringing their jumpy pop punk sound all the way from Canada. Whilst they gave a respectable performance, their music was too generic to make any real impact. Unfortunately this resulted in minimal response from the fans who remained stagnant for the majority of their set. This was in complete contrast to Californians The Ghost Inside, who used an aggressive blend of melodic hardcore to send the venue into a relentless state of anarchy. Their ability to command the stage and involve the audience was a skill they have clearly perfected over the years. They exited with ‘Faith or Forgiveness’, encouraging the deafening chant, “I’ll see you when the sun sets” – validation that their performance has pushed all the right buttons. You get the feeling that they could be headlining tours of this magnitude in the not too distant future.
It might be hard to picture how any band could top The Ghost Inside, but Pennsylvanian metalcore giants August Burns Red did just that. Despite coming onstage to Aquagen’s dance version of Rozalla’s 1991 hit ‘Everybody’s Free’, the band soon got the crowd moving in a frenzy of moshing with their opening track ‘Composure’. August Burns Red are a technical powerhouse, consisting of vocalist Jake Luhr’s powerful screams, guitarists JB, Brent and Dustin’s complex guitar work and Matt Greiner’s effortlessly intricate drum patterns. It was clear that Rock City’s “No Crowd Surfing” policy couldn’t hold up in these circumstances, giving security a run for their money as twelve bodies simultaneously flew over the barrier during ‘Meddler’. Luhr stood on the centre stage monitor, his arms spread out as if the Messiah to all watching him. The lights dimmed slightly and all hell broke loose with their last song, ‘Backburner’, resulting in pandemonium stretching right across the floor. To say these guys made an impact would be an understatement.
Last up were the headliners: Florida’s “happy hardcore” quintet A Day to Remember. Being the most famous band on the bill, they had the advantage of widespread popularity amongst the fans. It’s all go right from the start, with bursts of pressurised smoke blasting from both sides of the stage as the band kicked off with ‘Sticks and Bricks’ from their latest release ‘What Separates Me From You’. A Day to Remember are renowned for their mixture of pop punk and heavy breakdowns, giving the night an exciting and unpredictable dynamic. It transcended into a party-like atmosphere aided by multiple confetti explosions and a man dressed as Yoda throwing toilet paper and free t-shirts into the crowd. But at the same time, their hardcore aspect stirred endless amounts of mosh pits, circle pits, pulsing fists and chanting. The band were musically flawless and strike a perfect balance between heavy songs such as ‘Mr. Highway’s Thinking About The End’ and slower ones like ‘If It Means A Lot To You’ – their acoustic encore. The highlight of their set was vocalist Jeremy McKinnon’s onstage antics during ‘Homesick’, stepping into a giant transparent hamster ball to run across the crowd in. As the band brought the night to an end, the audience unanimously sing the lyrics to ‘This Is The House That Doubt Built’ – “Let’s believe that if we all stand together, we’re a force that can shake the whole world”. At that point in time, this genuinely felt like a possibility.
Although all the bands playing contributed to giving the fans exactly what they came for, A Day to Remember certainly stole the show. This was a night many will remember as the best gig they have ever been to, myself included. Rock City could not have asked for anymore.
…….. Josh has been listening to Rise to Remain – ‘Power Through Fear’ …..