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Live Review: Man Overboard, Transit, All Or Nothing and Starters - The Flapper, Birmingham 13/12/2010

After eventually finding The Flapper on the other side of a frozen canal, finding a route across the canal was perhaps the hard part, the location isn't perfect and I wouldn't reccomend bands who have come all the way from America play there, but by god, it's by far the best sound quality I've heard in Birmingham and at one of the most intimate venues. If you're ever looking for a good venue to meet like minded people with like minded tastes in music. The Flapper.

Due to the near-impossible proximity of the venue, I happened to miss the first band but I was just in time to see Starters take the stage, similar to The Wonder Years. The Dublin quartet opened up with their fusion of pop punk and screamo and it wasn't until the bassist started screaming that you realised the potential that this band could possibly have which stands them out from the other carbon copies. The intensity of their set was so much, one of the vocalists straps came off of his guitar, hindering the show just a little and during the last couple of songs, you could also see his glasses had steamed up to the point where he had to take them off. Starters are definitley, one band to look out for over the next year.

Hometown heroes All or Nothing grace the stage with their unique blend of pop punk and hardcore, with riffs akin to Four Year Strong and Set Your Goals, they preview a range of material as well as some new songs. There are a few people who are jumping around but if I'm being honest, most people are just here to appreciate the music itself. Before playing their new song 'Splash', they band ask if anyones download it, the response is at least 60% of the crowd cheering. The songs with the best reception were easily their single 'I Hate Being The Dip Guy' and 'A Day at the Stadium'; which they recall a story that only happened half an hour before their set of someone telling them that they named their band after this particular song and the band dedicated it to that person, nobody owned up so the band just shrugged it off and burst into the song.

Gracing the stage next is Transit who open up their set with 'Footwork', a blend of heavy riffs complimented by Joe Boynton's eloquent lyrics ("Keep focused on your footwork; your feet wont leave the ground"), Despite his youthful face topped with a small bit of stubble, Boynton's lyrics are as clever and thought provoking as well as his charisma as he comfortably moves around the stage and modestly acheives the merit of the first singalong of the night, there is a small group of people huddled towards the front of the crowd singing along to each lyric who stayed there for the remainder of Transit's set.

The fivesome induced a wave of applause before provoking a huge wall of sound, also known as 'Stays the Same', dedicated to Starters which serves as a reminder to the crowd how close all of the bands on this tour are to each other. Ending their set on the ballad 'Outbound' from 'Stay Home' was perhaps the most emotional moment of their set as the small group at the front all had their arms around each other singing whilst Boynton passed the mic between the fans. Speaking with Joe at the merch table after their set, he could barely talk as his voice was going incredibly hoarse, just proof that Transit put everything they have into each individual live show.

Looking back towards the exit of the venue, it's apparent how many people arrived during Transit's set and the venue is at least half full before Man Overboard take to the stage, there is a huge amount of applause when Man Overboard take to the stage but the attention that Transit had, has faded and now everyone is just standing around appreciating the music itself. The audience seems to respond better to songs from 'Real Talk' rather than previous material, 'Al Sharpton' demonstrates this as some of the members of the audience are jumping around whilst others are mouthing lyrics passionately back to the band. Zac and Nik's vocal delivery is highlighted on 'I Ate My Glue Stick', taken from their split EP with, label mates and good friends, Transit.

Both lead singers casually exchange lines to each other and Zac's timid voice compliments Nik's gruff voice which is also apparent on 'World Favourite'. The band announce that they're going to perform two more songs before finishing, they open up their encore with the rare 'Decemberism' which starts out as a cute little christmas themed ballad about kissing someone under mistletoe, which the band change around to include an awkward lyric regarding failed attempts at getting a boner over a pair of tits, needless to say the choice in song was apt considering the weather outside.

Nik asked the crowd what song they want the band to play next, a number of songs were shouted including 'FM Dial Style' and 'Darkness, Everybody', there's a pause until the band eventually settle on 'I Like You', a song which relates to a million people in the same boat of being put in the friendzone. A lot of the crowd are shouting the lyrics back to the band and when it gets to the singalong breakdown ("I Like You!"), the entire room cheers afterwards with relief.

Words by George Gadd

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