Live Review: Flood of Red – O2 Academy 2, Newcastle, July 21st 2009

forAs like last year’s gig of the same venue, headliner, support act, and people with plugs bigger than their faces, Glaswegians Flood Of Red have once again basically sold out the Academy 2. The place is packed tonight and full of anticipation for what is for many people, a triple headliner, with North East The Casino Brawl, and Essex post-hardcore outfit Shadows Chasing Ghosts generating a turn out just as big as the true headline act tonight.

Local boys Aviary start things off, and with a bang. Very powerful melodic vocals as well as some really good screaming make light work of the crowd, who seem genuinely impressed with the boys’ work. Granted, there’s maybe not as much movement as you’d expect from a band sounding this good, but regardless, their We Are The Ocean-ish sound; brash melody and energy-ridden power, start the night’s proceedings off well.

Given the style of tonight’s bill, it’s a wonder why The Grace even bothered to show up. It’s not that the band were poor in performance; they just didn’t fit. Their slug-paced ‘alternative’ music can only really be described as boring; somewhat a shame for them, considering by the end of their set they didn’t even generate a glimpse of cheer. An unfortunate billing on a great line-up, but tonight unfortunately, wasn’t their night.

Essex mob Shadows Chasing Ghosts are next up, taking the stage to a very well received Ghostbusters theme, all in the spirit of fun. The band, however, are all about business tonight, as they kick off with EP track A Girl In Sheeps Clothing, the floor erupts into a frenzy. The sound tonight in the microphones is quite frankly, slightly worrying, but nonetheless, frontman Trey Tremain makes the most of it and really impresses – it also happens to be his birthday, in which time is taken out to share pizza mid-set, much to everyone’s delight. New single Searchlights has recently been aired on Radio 1’s Rock Show, and it goes down a storm tonight, and really shows that Shadows Chasing Ghosts are improving with each new track, some of which are revealed to the crowd tonight, as well as old sing-a-long favourite, Needle, which generates a mighty uproar. This band get better with every gig, and judging by the crowd’s reaction, that’s most definitely the case tonight.

If that was a great reaction then local lads The Casino Brawl are awarded nothing short of a fantastic one. Tearing things up from the off with new track L Is For Liars, the floor splits and hardcore dancing is an essential; even if it does mean nobody else can move about freely during the set. New tracks from upcoming album Shades; Directions sound fantastic against old favourites like Into The Light and Re-enact, which generate a massive sing-back, and the band are on fire tonight, so full of energy and power. Killer new song Time And Tide sounds the most impressive of the night, with frontman Jonny Ferguson stirring up his crowd and barking out some very Stick To Your Guns-esque spoken screaming, which teams up perfectly with the dual guitar action. A very sweaty and energetic set draws to a close, and nobody in the room can help but be astounded by the sheer might of the band before them.

The room somewhat empties slightly, and darkens to a dimness, illuminating the stage in a blood red. Flood Of Red have really changed their direction in recent times; gone is most of the post-hardcore screamo that compared them to fellow Glaswegians Yashin, (along with some fanbase, it seems; a few not warming to this change) and instead, replaced by a beautiful aura of melody. They take to the stage in near darkness, and from it burst into something massive. The sheer loudness and melody make the sextet sound like double their manpower, and the crowd is not disappointed one bit.

New tracks that are to be on their upcoming debut album sound very energetic; most impressive is recently released single A Place Before The End, which banishes all but a few of the flailing limbs, and instead gives the room a togetherness, as everyone jumps in unison and is genuinely enjoying the change.

Although, not all characteristics of the old Flood Of Red are gone, as slightly older track An Hour Away survives the new era, and singer Jordan Spiers‘ tearing screams are let out once again, much to the delight of the crowd. Major kudos on that matter, to his singing – it’s beautiful, very tender, and his heavy Scottish accent fits so well. Big things are on the hill for Flood Of Red judging by this fantastic performance, and anyone not warming to their new found direction had better step out of the way; they’re due to fly right by them and right to the top.

George.

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