Sunday, 30 November 2008

New Found Glory, Glasgow Barrowlands, November 23rd

Support: Crime in Stereo, Four Year Strong, Set Your Goals

Due to having to wait for someone, I unfortunately missed the first two support bands, but this was compensated by the fact that Set Your Goals were epic. Not knowing this band I thought it would be a dull half hour, as it can be when you hear new bands for the first time at gigs. However, they proved me wrong in the best way possible. They created a brilliant atmosphere, the crowd going crazy for the whole set. They had so much energy for a support band – maybe someone told them that a lot of people were more into them than the actual headline act. Their set ended all too quickly before there was a short wait until New Found Glory came on. They started off with well known ‘Sticks and Stones’ track, ‘Understatement’ and then moved on to one of few good tracks on ‘Catalyst’, ‘Truth of My Youth’. For a gig that didn’t sell out they performed like there had been high demand for extra tickets, with more energy than most bands can muster on the first night of a tour. They played all their best songs, ranging from their self-titled first album to a couple off new EP, ‘Tip of the Iceberg’. Unexpectedly, they played ‘I Don’t Wanna Know’ and of course had to throw in crowd favourite ‘Kiss Me’. As expected, and hoped, they ended with ‘My Friends Over You’, Jordan’s infamous “whiney” voice still sounding exactly the same as it did all those years ago when everyone was thirteen and hearing pop punk for the first time. Unfortunately the whole night went in far too quick and seemed to end too soon. It was like going back five years and remembering the first time you heard an epic pop punk guitar riff with heavy bass lines – something you’ll never forget, just like seeing New Found Glory play. I honestly don't understand why people have gone off this band since pretty much every album after 'Sticks and Stones'. They've grown and made a more matured sound and are singing about things that affect them now, not when they were young and falling in and out of love for the first time. So here's to one of the most epic pop punk bands who filled my teenage years with great music - I can't wait to see what they decide to do next.
You can check out New Found Glory and find further tour dates at

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Cutaways - 'START STOP! START STOP!' EP review

previously published

Before I listened to Cutaways I thought they would be thoroughly predictable but before the end of the first listen of ‘START STOP! START STOP!’ they had proved me wrong. ‘START STOP...’ could very easily be described as indie, but it also proves itself as great pop music with a little bit of electronica. First track, ‘Lovers are Lunatics’ catches your ear the second it starts with a catchy beat and melodic vocals, before moving into a more regular song style. Second track, ‘Weapon of Choice’ has a fast-paced intro before calming down during the verse and then picking up again – it’s pure foot tapping goodness. The chorus has a great melody and really catches the ear. Penultimate song, ‘I spilled your drink so you broke my heart’ may (oddly) seem to have a Fall Out Boy-esque title (in length, anyway) but it’s what makes this EP what it is – pure indie-pop brilliance. The vocals are intriguing, and then the catchy beats that keep popping up all throughout the song make you want to dance while the lyrics fit in well with the beat, the mix of “tick tock” and “start stop” being very interesting. Final track, ‘I Don’t Understand What You Don’t Say’ has exactly the same intriguing pop sound as the rest of the EP and is a perfect ending, with its good use of catchy riffs and strange electronic sounds. The only problem I seemed to find with ‘START STOP! START STOP!’ was that all the songs seemed to go in too quickly – but maybe that just shows how good it really is.

You can check out Cutaways at

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

A Little Solidarity

A Little Solidarity will most certainly be remembered by most music lovers in Northern Ireland for a very long time. This mega-event organized by the ASIWYFA bunch truly was a celebration of unity and solidarity in the music scene of this country; a showcase of the best bands these shores have to offer and the success locally and nationwide most of these bands have managed to achieve in the past year, and let me tell you, whoever wasn’t there missed quite something! The line-up was perhaps the most ambitious possible, but in the end it was the strong point of the whole experience offering to everyone a different mix of styles and bands. There were many occasions for people involved in music making to get talking with promoters and record labels, with the chance of a demo drop-in. The atmosphere was positive throughout with a great aura of friendship surrounding the event.

All the bands delivered first class performances giving 110% on stage. The memorable performances are many: like hip hop machine Team Fresh setting the crowd in a part mode at only 4pm, LaFaro setting the Speakeasy on fire and relentlessly demolishing it with their energetic performance, Tony Wright called on vocal duties by Axis Of for their Fugazi cover and Fighting With Wire with their Nirvana cover, indie rockers General Fiasco showing why they are one of the most talked about Northern Irish acts in Britain of the moment and masters of ceremony ASIWYFA themselves delivering perhaps the best performance of the week-end that truly was a nearly spiritual experience and sending the clear message that they are the best live band in Northern Ireland. But all bands in different degrees left their mark on this big music feast.

The objective ASIWYFA set out to achieve was to put on an event that would show the strength, harmony and cohesion in the Northern Irish music scene stressing how despite there may not be particular interest from the big players in music in mainland Britain, the scene here is as healthy as it has ever been and is on a constant growth. It feels like this event cold be in the long term a turning point for the music scene here, perhaps giving energy to this tide of excellent bands in order to put Northern Ireland back on the map of big players with a bang.
By Bob Biondo