Saturday, 17 December 2011

Gig Review 16/12/11: Kerrang Xmas Party 2011

Birmingham has always been the home of metal, but last night it was the home to the Kerrang! christmas party.
The line up was a mix of rock genres that would attract a very mixed audience, with indie-punk headliners The Subways making strange bedfellows with fresh-faced pop-punk band Canterbury and post-hardcore outfit Funeral For A Friend.

Canterbury began the night with a commendable display of stage presence and musicianship, providing an energetic spectacle for the audience. While playing song after song of pop-punk energy, the band continually try to get the audience as involved as possible - all to little avail. The band started to capture the audience however by playing old favourite 'Gloria', which even singer/guitarist Mike Sparks commented would be the "poppiest song they'll play all night". However it was not until they performed latest single 'More Than Know' that the band managed to gain full control of the audience, with the whole venue bouncing along to every beat of the song.
Although this band is still a bit rough around the edges and possibly a bit out of their depth in a show like this, their potential and their enthusiasm are undeniable and worthy of note. Fans of pop-punk bands such as Youmeatsix will find this band a worthwhile listen. 

Funeral For A Friend are possibly the biggest name on the line-up, so it immediately raises questions as to why the band aren't the headline act. However, their set shows a clear indication as to why the band aren't the headliners tonight. Their energetic stage show and powerful vocals don't cover the fact that the audience just aren't responding well to their new songs. Despite the fact that the audience is jumping and even creating moshpits for the newer songs, it is on old songs 'Streetcar' and, in particular, the emotional rendition 'Roses For The Dead' that the audience truly comes alive and the air truly becomes electric.
They may be the biggest band on the line-up but their lacklustre performance shows why they are not the headliners.

The event really starts when The Subways take the stage. As soon as the first few notes of 'Oh Yeah' echo throughout the ballroom, the audience belongs to the band. Billy Lunn expertly keeps control of the audience through a set comprised of songs from all three of the band's albums, with only a handful of songs actually coming from the band's most recent album 'Money & Celebrity' - something perfectly suited to an event like this. Mid-set songs 'With You' and 'We Don't Need Money To Have A Good Time' show why the band are the headliners tonight: because they have energetic, crowd-pleasing songs reinforced by phenomenal stage presence that makes for an amazing spectacle.
The band end with an extended and very energetic rendition of 'It's A Party!', with Lunn crowdsurfing for several minutes before returning to the stage to bring the song, the performance and the night to a spectacular close.

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