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Live Review: A Day To Remember, Bayside and Pierce The Veil - Brixton Academy, London - 5/2/11

Tonight represents one of the highest points in A Day To Remember’s career so far. A sold out show at London’s Brixton Academy is no mean feat for the Florida five-piece, who made their first trip to our shores a mere three years ago. As a further indicator of how big the band have become, the negative reaction towards the support acts from amongst the audience, suggests that the majority of the 5,000 strong are here for the headliners alone. The photos that are taken after tonight’s show is finished will prove to be a worthy testament of their achievement.

It’s fair to say that a number of eyebrows were raised when the supports for this tour were announced. Few questioned the quality of the bands on the bill, but more whether they were suited to A Day To Remember’s audience. The first of the supports, Pierce The Veil, struggle at first to win over the audience with their blend of Coheed-esque metalcore. They also face a losing battle trying to overcome the venue’s ever-present sound demons. It’s hard not to feel sorry for the band’s guitarist and bassist, as they put so much energy into their stage presence, yet their instruments are barely audible. They have more luck with the audience though, as a well-picked foray into pop tune ‘Like a G6’ and the guest appearance of Jeremy McKinnon on ‘Caraphenalia’, seem to switch the fickle audience from disinterest to applause.

Bayside on the other hand fare far worse. Their banner is unjustly booed as it’s lowered from the rafters, and their reception is mute throughout, with the exception of a few pockets of loyal supports. The reaction they receive has more to do with distorted social network bitching than anything close to fact, as their set of catchy and complex pop punk tunes show. They rattle through their set at break-neck speed, largely ignoring songs from their brilliant album ‘Shudder’ (with the exception of ‘Roshambo’) in favour of a broad mix from their back catalogue. The intricacies of songs such as ‘Carry On’ and ‘Montauk’ are lost due to the shambles that is the sound, but they still stand up well. The closing couplet of Weezer’s ‘My Name Is Jonas’ and ‘Devotion & Desire’ are a good ending, and prove the band are worthy of a reception better than the one they got.

Flanked by two custom punch bags and a runway, A Day To Remember make their triumphant entrance to rapturous applause and crowd surges. It’s clear from the opening chords of first track ‘2nd Sucks’, that the band are going to have to do something seriously wrong not to be received as heroes tonight. It’s the perfect opener for the kids at the front that have been baying for blood during the opening bands, heavy and melodic and full of beatdowns.

The band lap up the adulation as they tear through a largely ‘Homesick’ heavy set, and their tongue-in-cheek choreography doesn’t seem remotely contrived. Audience participation is at a max, with the whole crowd providing an exaggerated cough during ‘I’m Made Of Wax Larry…’ and several massive circle pits opening up for tracks such as ‘Mr Highway…’ and ‘A Shot In The Dark’. Only four songs in total are played off of new album ‘What Seperates You From Me’, with single ‘All I Want’ causing a mass sing-along. Band and audience feed off each other throughout, and McKinnon genuinely looks overwhelmed by the response.

It’s the encore however that really shows how far the band have come and just how loved they are. Cracking out the acoustic guitars for a rendition of ‘If It Means A Lot To You’ was a brave move, considering the crowds perceived desire for beatdowns, but like everything A Day To Remember have done so far, it’s lapped up. The crowd then get their wish as the band play ‘The Downfall Of Us All’ and everyone joins in with the intro, and they wrap things up with the all too predictable but still brilliant, ‘Plot To Bomb The Panhandle’. A Day To Remember are in earth-conquering form, and it has to be asked whether anything can stand in their way. To quote McKinnon, “Who’d of thought pop-punk with beatdowns coulda got this big?”

Dan Issitt

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