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Live Review: Snow Patrol

Metro Arena – 5th February

The Scottish/Irish five piece kicked off 2012 announcing a third single is to be released from Fallen Empires.

‘In the End’ is to be released on February 13th, and they are celebrating it with a grandiose tour. Long before the release of their sixth album last November, the band suggested an open mind to the fans. Snow Patrol explored foreign territory and experimented with techno and electronic pop sounds. Melodies enriched with strings and brass, percussion and different keyboard sounds from the ever known melodica to dulcitone. The change in musical direction was evident even in the choice of support band, Everything Everything, a peculiar yet intriguing indie band.

Everything Everything’s witty lyrics, powerful off beat sounds, combined with front man Higgs’s signature falsettos, contributed to their own stigma. They started off strong, with beautifully arranged electronic elements, mesmerizing synths, and a Jack Black-esque performance from Newcastle native Higgs. Just when the crowd started warming up however, they were thrown off by Higgs high pitch vocals and mumbling lyrics which were impossible to follow. Everything Everything just did their own thing onstage; an unorthodox and eccentric band that can’t possibly cater for everyone’s taste. Unfortunately, after the nothing nothing reception from the crowd the awkwardness in the air was more than tangible.

Nonetheless, they set the mood for Snow Patrol to follow and they opened the concert with I’ll Never Let Go. A well organised set, with fantastic Muse-inspired lighting and elements that led back to their new album’s emblem were prominent: huge eagle’s feet-shaped screens, which moved and altered according to the needs of each song. Grand orchestral arrangements, and the singer’s engaging performance with intense body language; functioning almost as a maestro who brings this majestic symphony together.

“Let’s have some fuckin’ fun”, yelled an ecstatic Lightbody with his curls bouncing. And so it began. The band has clearly grown in confidence and stage presence over the years, Lightbody especially has evolved from the romantic shy guy of old into a true showman; his charming and comical persona finally shining through.

With a constant call for audience participation in ‘Shut Your Eyes’ and ‘This Isn’t Everything You Are’ the sold out arena complied with a massive chant-along. The band’s experiment with electronica was not always effective but when used conservatively to fit their signature style it felt more natural and effortless.

Some tracks when performed live brought more of a dance floor spirit with them, which came through unexpectedly better than on the album; like ‘Fallen Empires’. The rest of the night consisted of a brilliant mix of old and new tracks, sprinkled with hilarious intervals by the Lightbody, his attention to the audience was overwhelming.

Highlights like ‘Called Out In The Dark’, ‘Run’, and ‘Take Back The City’ followed with unmistakable vocals, crisp and clear sounds, managing to create a highly electrified atmosphere. Overall, the band engaged with the crowd to unprecedented levels, giving a very personal feel in such a large venue.

The much anticipated ‘Chasing Cars’ came as a catharsis for the fans, which burst into screams of joy and relief. Following an encore that featured all time favourite ‘Open Your Eyes’, the crowd went into a frenzy. Putting an end to an unforgettable night, the show reached its climax with the band asking us to ‘Just Say Yes’. Is there anything else left to say?

Yes Snow Patrol, a thousand times yes!

To read a review of Fallen Empires Click here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=llUMU1jy_4g

*As published in http://thecourieronline.co.uk/2012/02/live-review-snow-patrol/

ML


Live Review: Morning Parade

O2 Academy2 – 22nd November

The upcoming Indie/Alt Rockers from Essex filled out Academy2 last week after the release of their first single.

The gig opened with support band Echohead, a bunch of fresh, enthusiastic lads with an unexpected amount of stage presence for their age. The mostly played songs from their demo; with the exception of some enjoyable jamming moments, which was interesting but not memorable. The lyrics struggled to get through and were often suffocated by the powerful music.

Nonetheless, they prepared the crowd for what was coming. At this point I have to admit that I hadn’t heard any of Morning Parade’s music until that night, but I was pleasantly surprised. After the first few moments of their performance, the comparison was inevitably in my head: these two bands are like a before and after shot. The young newcomers and the professionals, with Morning Parade being the latter of course. It wasn’t a matter of age, but a matter of musical ‘maturity’; Echohead were like an unripened fruit, not quite ready to harvest yet.

With their passionate, energetic performance, and the frontman’s standout vocals, it was hard not to parade with them; the connection with the audience was immediate. A combination of their 90s dance anthem influenced tunes combined with euphoric beats was enough to find myself dancing along. Swapping from electric/indie Muse-like sounds to more melodic and acoustic ones, like ‘Half Litre Bottle’, they owned the stage.

The gig only lasted for about an hour, which included singles  such as the popular ‘Under The Stars’ and the recently released ‘Us And Ourselves’. In songs like ‘Headlights’ and ‘A&E’ the synth parts with the distinct rhythms and layered grooves portrayed a togethered, in total control band.

‘Speechless’, ‘Carousel’, and ‘Running Down The Aisle’ were just some more of the songs performed that complete the impression of a polished, well rehearsed band. An honest and straight forward band whose music comes from the heart with clear influences from Elbow and Delphic. It’s real and down to Earth like they are; of which their fan time after the show is proof. A band with a plan, firm believers in ‘the more you do the more you get offered’, they delivered a captivating show, with the crowd’s dedicating hands waving almost all the way through.

Are they are doing something original? No. I don’t believe there can be a virgin birth in the music industry anymore.
Have I heard people saying that they are yet another teenage rock band? Yes. But so what?
Their lyrics might be predictable at times but that also makes them memorable, and that’s what makes their music contagious. I don’t know if they will stand the test of time, all I know is that I came here ignorant and left humming their songs.

* As published inhttp://thecourieronline.co.uk/2011/11/live-review-morning-parade/ M.L.


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