Live Review: Twenty Twenty – O2 Academy, Newcastle, January 23rd 2010

Contrary to popular belief and all that is deemed possible these days, Twenty Twenty are headlining their biggest show to date. With decorated pre-teens having the Saturday to themselves, they’ve turned out in droves for this one. It’s a hotly anticipated match0up which sees the cream of fan-friendly pop-punk making girls squeal with delight. Hold on tight…

Local lads Impulse 11 do literally have the crowd eating from the palms of their hands. Not that that’s a hard thing to do, given the enthusiastic likeability of the audience, but it’s nonetheless a very impressive feat. Starting things out, they assure everyone tonight’s going to be a good night with a well-played Black Eyed Peas cover, before throwing out a few tracks of their own, inspiring all kinds of mayhem within the 700-plus in attendance. Pits break out, people pogo all over, and it generates a really great atmosphere. The quartet still have a long way to go in terms of song writing – their lyrics are, as Americanised pop-punk is, simple and cheesy, but with a reaction like tonight, maybe that’s the way forward. The band are used to playing upstairs on occasion, but tonight delivers them in a much better light.

Irish youngsters Jody Has A Hitlist get such a hot reaction, it’s possible they might of burnt themselves in the process. After just a few minutes of their synth-laden pop-punk tunes, it’s clear they’ve got an easy job tonight. Throwing in a couple of covers is a blessing as well as a curse; they could get away with their own well structured tunes quite easily, but opt to please the crowd with some Lady GaGa in amongst the ruckus for good measure. Tracks like Walk It Off Son are examples of what can really gain fans when confronted with so many teens who will simply worship the ground a boy weilding an instrument walks on – JHAH have quite easily managed to get the majority in their corner tonight. What they’re doing is nothing new, but it certainly sounds strong and fresh. Who are Saving Aimee, again?

Hailing all the way from Canada, this is only the second time The New Cities have been across the pond, following in the footsteps of fellow countrymen The Mission District. This time they’re playing to at least four times the amount of fans, and they’re starting to build a great following for themselves. Turning the floor into a dance arena, the atmosphere equals that of an under-16’s club night; whatever works, right? Their heavily synth-orientated tunes sound tight as can be, and though a slightly irritating accent can get somewhat weary at times, the songs the band produce simply can’t. They’re full of energy, beat, and jazzy fun, and the crowd think so, too. Hypertronic Superstar boasts a sure-fire chart-stomper, but that’s if The New Cities can blow up over here, big time. Given tonight’s performance, that doesn’t seem far off.

How Twenty Twenty, unsigned, barely over a year old, on only their fourth tour ever, have managed to pull at least seven or eight hundred people in to watch them tonight, is beyond anyone, but they’ve done it, and like it or not, it’s a very impressive feat. Their live show is arguably great testament to this achievement; wooing the swooning masses with their inoffensive brand of pop-rock, they’re a tight live outfit.

Their tunes generate mass aplomb, and for the better part of the set, mosh pits by those daring enough to venture inside. The band go old school (well, as old school as you can get with songs that aren’t even twelve months old) with Story Of Our Lives and Forever, which generate mass sing-a-longs by a ridiculous amount of kids.

They’ve got the “it” factor, the looks, the catchy chorused songs, but anyone who’s into music a little deeper than the charts may not catch on quite so quickly – it does indeed feel like more of a show than a gig; the constant backing synth loops would look so much better with someone playing them, and the peek behind the amps of a backup guitarist for a couple of songs is somewhat cringe-worthy, but it hardly deters the fact that these boys are very talented at what they do. It’s Marmite, but there’s no denying that closer Get Down is as catchy as any song doing the rounds at the moment.

Eleven or so songs and 40-minutes is a little short of the mark, but considering this is a band who are yet to release their debut record, (and the band they supported the last time they played in this room, the now defunct Go:Audio, played less than that with an album in hand) that’s hardly a fault.

Breaking the fourth wall here, I questioned last September if Twenty Twenty would really take off, and if they’d be seen as just the next “in thing”. It seems, judging by tonight, they’re both of these. Twenty Twenty have put in a sterling performance, and they’re only going to get bigger, like it or not. What happens next is anyone’s guess!

George Cannings.

Keep checking back for our interview with Twenty Twenty!

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