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Live Review: Young Guns, The Swellers and Set Your Goals - Concorde 2, Brighton - 4/12/2010

Sincerest apologies to Japanese Voyeurs whose set (owing to an unbelievable sequence of train delays involving ill/fighting passengers, screaming drivers and stupid amounts of snow) I missed completely.

The reason for the aforementioned rockers early start was the addition to the bill of pop-punks Set Your Goals, whose dates with You Me At Six in bonnie Scotland were postponed due to adverse weather conditions. The San Francisco 6-piece’s set was an unexpected treat for many crammed into Concorde Two’s corridor like seaside venue.

A tidy performance including tracks such as oldie ‘Goonies Never Say Die’ and ‘Summer Jam’ warms the boisterous crowd into some early movement that will please the Americans, bearing in mind they could easily have been twiddling their thumbs in a Edinburgh hotel room.

The stage is set for the two main acts of the night, and first up is hook-laden pop rock in the form of The Swellers. Reared in Michigan, the quartet are a refreshing addition to an over saturated pop-punk scene, and bring a sincerity and a dignity that shines through on every song. ‘Fire Away’ and ‘2009’ are performed at a thrashing high-tempo that sparks delirium in the pit, which fittingly, is one full of shining smiles and spine tingling sing-along. ‘Feet First’ is brilliantly written, lyrically as well as instrumentally, with "woahs" that will melt the heart of the most cynical of rock fans. It’s a sign of the band’s work ethic and general attitude towards their trade that they are waiting at the merch stand before and after their set with new and old fans alike, a trait increasingly rare in modern music.

Meteoric would be the only way to describe the rise of our headliners. Rewind to just 2009, and High Wycombe rockers Young Guns were releasing ‘Mirrors’ EP, and the plan was to tour relentlessly and get the message out there. And boy did it spread. A Headline tour in the UK and a stint with Danko Jones in Europe, a support slot with non other than Bon Jovi, as well as a top 50 album with ‘All Our Kings Are Dead’, have all helped to propel Young Guns to the brink of mainstream recognition.

Opener ‘Sons of Apathy’ kicks things off in a raucous fashion, Gustav Wood’s domineering, towering figure, controlling the stage. The band are so tight that their performance appears to be locked in muscle memory, seamlessly performed and perfectly executed. ‘Daughter of the Sea’ and ‘Crystal Clear’ prove the bands eye for a chorus, and provoke a unified assault at the front, but this is a walk along Brighton seafront in spring time compared to the carnage that ensues during the wall of death that coincides with the recital of aptly titled ‘Beneath The Waves’.

Closer ‘Weight Of The World’ is made all the better by the band’s admission that they’ll be slapped on the wrist for going past curfew, but it’s obvious that neither the five men on stage nor the countless heads in the crowd care at all, as the night ends in a blur of intensity that draws the curtain on a night to remember for all involved.

Liam McGarry

Alter The Press!