Security at the former Carling Academy has taken on a whole new meaning since becoming the O2 Academy.
Tonight I had to squeeze past groups of teenagers having their ID scrutinised for an over 14s only performance. After missing My Passion’s performance, next up were Young Guns who launched into a generic set with bland songs where one tune was indistinguishable from the next.
As the performance went on, they managed to drive some interaction out of the crowd with fake energy. But it was blatantly obvious that the gathering was anticipating The Blackout or All Time Low.
Young Guns’ set seemed rehearsed with one guitarist even looking bored as he played his part in making the crowd clap along in time. And there was that awful mix between pop punk and metal, where the band cobbled together a few influences from both genres but not enough to fuse the two.
Fusion without the fusion you could say. The band did manage to get the crowd moving – in the end. And that was their biggest single achievement.
The Blackout opened with Children Of The Night which instantly lifted the atmosphere and gained the entire room’s attention. The Welsh act forced crowd participation by getting the entire floor to kneel down, then picked a fight with a member of the crowd who wouldn’t sit down and the vocalist started screaming like a banshee at him.
The younger fans enjoyed jogging on the spot with the band and walking like zombies. But music-wise the performance was pretty poor.
Unfortunately headliners All Time Low cut their set short because The Blackout were on too long and the young crowd thinned after the penultimate act. The quartet opened with Lost In Stereo off their new album and, while the fans sang along, the crowd was tame compared to earlier in the night.
The guys flew through Stella, Break Your Little Heart and Six Feet Under The Stars without seeming to pause. When they did they took on a familiar Tom de Longe and Mark Hoppus act talking about a small bra thrown on stage. The buzz of seeing All Time Low carried on long after they had finished and half of the crowd left sporting their merchandise.
The downside of the night? Seeing bands that Kerrang! once disregarded being the only ones left who would play their tour. Ironic.