Diverse. Eclectic. Mismatched. Random. Varied.
This year’s incarnation of the annual Kerrang! tour could easily be described using any of these words, reflecting the range of music the magazine covers more than anything else. As cohesive lineups go, however, there have been stronger billings throughout the tour’s first decade of history.
First to grace the stage is Ohio’s Beartooth. This critically-acclaimed project is the brainchild of ex-Attack Attack! man Caleb Shomo, and the quintet strut around on stage with typically impressive vigour. Rousing and lively throughout, closing tracks ‘I Have a Problem’ and ‘Body Bag’ pack the biggest punch. With the former track amassing over 1.7 million YouTube views and counting, it’s still hard to believe that Shomo has just turned 22.
Hometown heroes Bury Tomorrow are greeting with the reverence that one would expect, firing through post-hardcore tracks past and present, with the crowd participation level taken up several notches. “If you know our band, you’ll know this song” announces a visibly delighted Dani Winter-Bates, before launching into ‘An Honourable Reign’, before ‘Lionheart’ emphatically brings the curtains down on a triumphant night for the local lads.
At this point, the night starts to get a bit weird. Young Guns are warmly received, despite the heavily controversial decision to usher them onto the tour at the last minute. Some fans are simply happy to see them again, despite the brevity of their 15 minute set. Others wish they had postponed any UK tour appearances until the band were able to say hello properly — after all, it feels like forever since the guys properly toured the country. 3 songs. Count them. ‘I Want Out’. ‘Speaking In Tongues’. ‘Bones’. Performed with passion and sang back by a delighted crowd, yes, but the long-awaited return felt over before it had really begun.
We Are The In Crowd‘s appearance provokes an interesting reaction. Many people were evidently there for the heavier bands; lots of these disinterested crowd members drifted to the bar or stood towards the back, looking about as thrilled as if one of Southampton’s many seagulls had shit in their breakfast that morning. WATIC’s performance in the face of widespread apathy, however, was admirably strong. With their name in lights, they blasted through new cuts from latest record Weird Kids and delved into the archives to play old fan favourites from the Guaranteed To Disagree era. As Tay Jardine demanded more energy from her dedicated faithful, the core fans at the front responded. It’s a shame that the room at large couldn’t be as enthused, but is perhaps symptomatic of the clash in styles that this night provided.
Any doubts that anyone may have had about Don Broco‘s headlining pedigree for venues of this size were proven wrong from the opening bars of Money Power Fame. The band at the bill’s summit haven’t lost an ounce of energy as the riffs and singalongs keep on coming through an impressive set. Several new songs are present in the form of ‘Fire’, ‘Automatic’ and the super catchy, falsetto-driven ‘Superlove’. The new album is shaping up to be every bit as bouncy as 2012’s Priorities. Speaking of that album, the title track goes down ridiculously well, and the Southampton branch of the push-up squad roll into action without prompting as ‘Thug Workout’ rolls back the years for the Bedford boys. As the last notes of ‘You Wanna Know’ ring out, they can be very satisfied with a job well done, whetting appetites for new material while giving the new converts in attendance a fantastic showcase of what they’re about.
All in all, a solid night of music, certainly for rock fans with wide-ranging tastes. Despite the arguable lack of structure — veering from crunching post-hardcore to fist-pumping rock to polished pop doesn’t exactly scream ‘flowing transitions’ — the tour has attracted a good array of people and seems to be a decent success, in spite of the criticisms.