Live Review: The Kerrang Relentless Tour 2012, Birmingham O2 Academy, 16th February 2012
When Kerrang announced the 2012 line up I was pretty stoked. Northern metal mob While She Sleeps, LA hardcore group Letlive, the Kings of pop punk New Found Glory and rowdy Welsh mob The Blackout (who replaced Sum 41) make up an incredibly varied line up and catered to the different tastes of the magazine’s demanding fan base.
While She Sleeps (6/10) are on first and as the current UK rising metal stars, I was expecting a lot from them. However they suffered from poor sound quality and their popular songs like Crows and Be(lie)ve just blended into indistinguishable noise that failed to get the crowd moving. The total lack of any stage presence from the band was also disappointing as they have a reputation for being a rowdy stage presence. Ultimately they let themselves down as well as their fan base.
Next up are Letlive (9/10) who kick the proceedings up a notch. Lead singer Jason Aalon Butler is a force to be reckoned with, chucking himself around the stage like a man possessed. The band themselves demand everyone’s attention with their unique hardcore/post-hardcore sound playing the hits like Muther, Renegade 86 and the sick, sick 6.8 billion. By the end of the night Jason is coated in his own blood from a head wound yet still full of energy.
The Blackout (8/10) has been getting a lot of hate from Sum 41’s fan base for not being a worthy replacement for the pop punk trio so they spend the whole of their set mugging off the haters. Coming on stage to the backing track “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word” by Elton John, Sean Smith (Co-Vocals) Gavin Butler (Co-Vocals) and the rest of the band looks almost despondent with their heads hanging. Sean then steps up to the edge of the stage and cries out “F**k The Blackout” which kicks off the proceedings with fan favourite “I’m a Riot, You’re a F*****g Riot”. Sean then steps forward again and makes the statement “We are not Sum 41” before jumping straight into a cover of Sum 41’s “Fat Lip” sticking yet another middle finger up to the haters whilst galvanizing the Sum 41/The Blackout fans. The band is on top form and Gavin and Sean’s on stage banter is hilarious and the way they participate with the crowd is second only to Bowling for Soup at Download 2011.
New Found Glory (7/10) is up last and I felt that they killed the buzz. Their chant along brand of pop punk seemed at odds with the hardcore and metalcore that had come before. The crowd seemed to calm down but only so everyone can sing along with their various greatest hits and covers by Green Day, Ramones and Sixpence None the Richer’s “Kiss Me”. Admittedly I was not a fan of NFG before the gig, yet by the end even I had one of their songs stuck in my head.