Taste of Chaos

Newcastle Arena on Fri 17th Nov 2006

Given that Newcastle Arena holds 12,000 people, the very fact that this show was taking place here was a surprise. With just 1,200 tickets sold for the event, the venue felt empty. They could have fitted the crowd into the nearby Academy twice over, and the atmosphere would certainly have been improved. But, here we were, and the assembled emo-kids of the north east were determined to enjoy it.

Opening the show were California post-hardcore outfit Saosin. The similarities to Funeral for a Friend were not lost on this crowd, and they went down very well with the early arrivers. Treating us to a selection from their eponymous debut album, highlights of the set included recent single ‘Voices’, and the crushing ‘Follow and Feel’. On this showing, Saosin should be playing much higher up the bill next year, and that position would be deserved.

One of the early highlights of the show were Senses Fail. On record this is a band that can only be described as incendiary, and they managed to bring that energy to the arena tonight. Stand-out numbers included the excellent ‘Bonecrusher’, and a furious take on ‘Shark Attack’ which got now warmed up crowd going for the first time this evening. This is a band which set the standard for the genre, and are one of the few acts which could break out into the mainstream, and show that the genre is better than the standards set by the current scene favourites.

Sometimes when you see a band, you wish you had just stayed in the bar. Underoath were a prime example of this. I haven’t heard a great deal on them on record, but if it is anything like their live show, I think I’ll give it a miss. Even within a genre as clichéd as emo already is, this band managed to turn derivative into an art form, and could have been just about any other bad metal band, only worse. There were no highlights.

All was well though, as Alexisonfire soon came along to show how it should be done. This was clearly the band that a lot of people had been waiting for, and the crowd was bouncing from start to finish. ‘.44 Calibre Love Letter’ was magnificent, and ‘Where No One Knows’ was one of the standout tracks of the whole show, never mind this set.

And then came the highlight of the day. Make no mistake about it, Anti-Flag were simply superb. The superbly named Justin Sane led his band through an exemplary, politically charged punk pop set which was worth the ticket price alone. In an age when punk is packaged and sold to twelve year olds buying Sex Pistols t-shirts on daddy’s credit card, bands like Anti-Flag are of crucial importance in keeping the reality of the genre alive. With the whole set being excellent, it is hard to pick highlights, but ‘one trillion dollars’ and ‘Die For Your Government’ were probably the best of the bunch.

Whoever closed the show was going to have a difficult job, and Taking Back Sunday were also handicapped by the family emergency which meant Fred Mascherino was called home and could not play. The opening numbers were handled by Adam Lazarra and an acoustic guitar, and despite his best efforts, it was dreadful. Thankfully it didn’t continue, and he was joined for the rest of the set by a band augmented by members of other acts on the bill filling in for Mascherino.

Showcasing their impressive ‘Louder’ album, the band seemed to go down very well, but did little for this reviewer, and I found myself looking at my watch on more than one occasion. The rock posturing and dull stage show left me waiting for the end, and actually grateful that there was no encore. The band didn’t do anything wrong as such, but just came across as dull and unexciting.

Overall, this was a very mixed bag. The promoters had clearly tried to cover all the bases, and in most cases they did it very well. Despite a couple of duff performances, this was a very enjoyable show, and it certainly the type of event I’ll be looking out for in the future. The USA has been treated to tours like this for a while, and it can only be a good thing if they do become part of the scene on this side of the water.

article by: Tommy Jackson

published: 19/11/2006 16:11


sorry, we currently have no gigs listed for this act.