Fightstar’s second tour of Be Human has seen them step-up venue sizes, moving into bigger venues that, with any fairness in the world, they should be selling out. Tonight, they stop in Newcastle, with Prego, Kerrang! Tour hopefuls Young Guns, and while Deaf Havana take a break, St. Albans rockers Saving Aimee join in the fun.
First off, comes Charlie’s other brother’s band, Prego. Edd is the youngest of the three Simpsons (the other being Will in Brigade) and, vocally, sounds a lot more gruff and chunky, like that of Charlie as opposed to Will; this is complimented beautifully by a brilliant, full post-rock sound which illuminates the room, even if it’s to only a handful of people who pay attention. Their triple guitar assault gives the band a large sense of together-ness, and while coming off a lot less asserting on record, their live performance tonight is tight, well played, and a great listen, too. It’s in your face without a punch, it sounds blossoming and full of melody, and even if only a few members of the crowd really enjoyed it, here lies a very talented group of musicians. It must run in the family.
High Wycombe rockers Young Guns are fast becoming a name on the gig circuit. On what seems to be their six-hundreth support slot of the year, they come out all cylinders firing, urging the crowd to get moving. Said crowd responds, if only a little, breaking out the moshpits and really starting to put a jump into the night. Poster boy frontman Gustav Wood sounds spectacular tonight, and is constantly doing his best to get his audience involved, something which they have no problem responding to. In The Night sounds edgy and energetic, whilst the massive riffage of Daughter Of The Sea sparks riot in amongst the masses, and closes a quick, but very promising set. It’s no surprise the band are playing Kerrang! tour next year with a live show like this.
Saving Aimee could learn a thing or two from the former two supports about being a tight live band, they seem to have dipped in form as of late. There’s only so many times until the same “When I Say Saving, You Say Aimee!” chant get’s a little boring for an intro; still, it doesn’t stop the fangirls clenching the barrier, following along with adoring intent on every word. The band sound sadly sloppy, their sound mashed up and even great songs on record like We’re The Good Guys and Fresh Since ’88 sound watered down and not at all catchy.
Luke Quinns‘ vocals sound caught in the lashes of synth and guitar solos, and can’t be heard anywhere past the front couple of rows properly. It’s a shame – the band have some very catchy songs, when played with precision could sound massive, but tonight especially, it sounds dreary. Not a good first day for releasing your debut album!
Fightstar, tonight, play a rather different set to usual. There are twists and changes to the set list that ultimately make it a lot grittier and heavier. More so with the arrival of the booming, epic introduction to Tannhauser Gate that greets the set, which sends the attendance into a new found frenzy. The additions of Be Human track Chemical Blood is a brilliant surprise, as is City On Fire, a b-side not even released, but still being sung along to like a classic.
There’s no sign of Charlie Simpson‘s signature keyboard tonight, ergo, no Floods. Not that it matters though, the massive Grand Unification Part 1, and the almost dangerous Deathcar sends the masses into an uproar – it’s a surprise people don’t get more badly hurt. The English Way already seems like a firm fan favourite, and now a staple in the set, while ew-track War Machine sounds huge tonight. The band on a whole sound very tight, even if there’s no real charisma there. The four-piece tend to let their music do the talking, Simpson and Alex Westaway swapping and switching between their respective deep and growly to high and heartfelt as comfortably as one would toss a pancake.
Taking to the stage once more with Palahnuiks Laughter, which starts the masses of crowdsurfers flooding over the barrier, and rounds off a different, but very impressive set and performance. There’s no Never Change, Waste A Moment, or even single 99 tonight, but what has blossomed from the show is a delightful set of songs, and it showcases what a competent band Fightstar really are. Onwards to bigger and better things!
– George Cannings.