The first time over in the UK for any band is a daunting task, but yankee pop-punkers A Loss For Words have been impressing up and down the country in recent weeks, turning heads and grabbing attentions left, right and centre. Tonight, they stop off in Newcastle, let’s see how it compares…
Middlesbrough’s Hey! Alaska provide tonight’s local entertainment, and though only playing to a small handful of those gathered early, their synth-fused pop-punk sounds quite impressive. With vocalist Luke Fodden adding a daring hint of screamo into the mix, it sounds like Hey! Alaska are trying to fit together all the popular sounds of the time, and to their credit, it kind of works. Their songs are more catchy than forgettable, and although the screaming is maybe a little overdone in places, they still ooze a lot of promise with this short set.
Melodic Birmingham outfit LYU are barely categorizable. It’s a massive dollop of metalcore, hardcore, and punk, fused with some great singing. It’s riffs and melodies, and it sounds fantastic. While it maybe looks a little out of place on tonight’s bill, people still seem to be grasping their prospect, and the quartet can really bang them out in a live setting; vocalist Tom Hill‘s great voice pairing well with the relentless drumming of sticksman Joe Garey. The band could adapt to any bill, and tonight they’ve gone down a storm.
Also from the midlands, All Or Nothing are a good part of the reason people are here tonight. Their first time playing in Newcastle, they deliver pop-punk the old fashioned way. With vocalist/guitarists Tom Chong and Rich Murphy trading blows a la Four Year Strong, it gives a great mix of melodic and gruff. Closer I Hate Being The Dip Guy proves to be a highlight, it’s got a massive chorus and ends on a great high. Great performance, and a fantastic warm-up for the main event.
Travelling all the way across the Atlantic from Boston, Mass. seems like a bit of a farse to play to just fifty or so people, but A Loss For Words certainly make the most of it and play at full throttle for those who’ve used their Sunday night wisely. Kicking off with the powerful 40 Thieves, they plough through an energetic and high-octane set.
For many, it seems more of a curiosity show, though there are clearly people who know the words, choosing to participate just as much as vocalist Matty Arsenault who spends most of the set down in the front row. Something remarkably different about AL4W in a live setting is that they sound a lot beefier, almost making their sound touch hardcore over pop-punk. It pays off and gives their songs a boost and an edge, which works very well for them tonight.
Sing-alongs like Heavy Lies The Crown give way to an acoustic performance of Mount St. Joseph, which still sounds powerful despite its softness on record. A Movielife cover of Face Or Kneecaps and just a few more album tracks later, and it’s gone in a flash.
Ending on Half Step Down, it’s clear the audience could of wished for a few more songs, but for a first time and with one record to the quintets name, 40-minutes is hardly complainable. A tight, action-packed set caps off a firm introduction to a band that should be making big waves in the near future.
– George Cannings.
Interviews with All or Nothing and A Loss For Words coming soon!