Sound: Charlie Simpson managed to prove that he has what it takes to front a post hardcore band after Busted. The vocals almost always matched the album, while his guitar playing could not be knocked. I believe he was using Spear guitars, although I may be wrong. When I go to a gig, it isn't to look at headstocks the whole time. The sound was brilliant. It was loud, but not so that it became a wall of plain noise. I have complete trust in the sound man behind the Wedge's desk. The wedge is a large-ish room with a small stage and just about enough space for 400 people, so echo is rarely a problem. The Music itself filled the venue. When the bands started pouring some real emotion into their lyrics, it created a very close, very personal atmosphere. // 8
Perfomance: The audience loved them. Everyone seemed to know the words (well, everyone except me) and took part in the dancing, moshing, pogoing, whatever the hell they wanted to do. The set list was heavily taken from the 'One Day Son' album, which suited me as I hadn't purchased Grand Unification at this point. I can't remember all of the songs, but I'll comment on the ones I did:
99 - the first verse has always connected to me for some reason. And Charlie sounded as angst-ridden on stage as he did on the album.
We Apologise For Nothing - a strong fan favourite. It had everyone singing along as if it was a war cry.
One Day Son - for me this seemed slightly trance-like. I think the majority of the people were taken back by the pure amount of emotion poured into the song.
You & I - this was a bit of a let down. It seemed to be written to be the stadium sing-along song but it just didn't click.
Deathcar - awesome. Simply awesome. It was played second to last, which caused a lot of tension throughout the set. It was the 'Deathcar' tour. When Charlie stopped the band about 2 minutes in Deathcar to say "Hey, thanks for coming, every one of you. You know the next lyric, I'm not going to spell it for you. Ok, here we go". 400 people screaming "You make me f--king sick" was quite an amazing thing.
Floods - encore. The band came back onto the stage after a few minutes armed with a piano. Charlie brought it to the front of the stage, and started messing around before starting the song. It is a very strong song... but I felt it lacked the power to be used as an Encore on it's own.
Other songs which may have been played were Paint Your Target, Amethyst and Tannhauser. Mono was not played, despite almost constant requests. The thing was, they only played a 50-60 minute set. I understand that they are not a massive band, but when the support bands are given almost the same amount of stage time as the main attraction, it does leave a little to be desired. There was very little in the way of decoration. No banners, no strobes, no dancers. Just good hard rock. // 8
Overall Impression: I saw Fightstar at the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth (uk) on the 22nd May, 2008. They had bought two support bands with them. First up was We Are The Ocean. I honestly believe that we should keep an eye out for this band. There brand of hardcore was reminiscent of the Gallows mixed with the texture and melody of Fightstar. The singer was a great front person, regularly exchanging banter with the crowd and occasionally trying to crowd surf. The second band shouldn't be a surprise if you know Fightstar. Yup, that's correct: Brigade. Despite being championed by Rock Sounds magazine as the best of British alternative, I found them kind of predictable. They seemed to lack passion when they played, as if they viewed this tour as a free meal ticket. Must be useful being Charlie Simpson's brother ei? While the atmosphere was both electric and violent throughout the night, I felt that it was ruined by a small handful of young teens Who didn't seem to understand that the venue wasn't a showcase for their poor variety of 'moshing'. Seriously guys, you didn't look tough. You only irritated the people behind you Who wanted to see the show. Despite this, I would happily cough up the 12.50 to see them again if they came to town. There were a few unforgettable moments, that's for sure. One was after the first support bands set, where every wash basin or toilet was occupied by someone spitting blood. A little worrying? yes. Unforgettable? Definitely. // 8