Shockwaves NME Awards Tour - O2 Academy, Birmingham
Posted by Aaron on Tue, 01 Jun 2010.
Entering the Birmingham new street station, a friend and myself were welcomed by a merciless wintry wind which we felt the brunt of immediately after exiting the station. As we approached the 02 Academy whilst braving the cold, our hopes and expectations were surpassed by a long and tedious sea of queues with the occasional chant of “Maccabees la la la”. This array of nonchalant singing then spiralled into the deceptively large venue.
Whilst queuing up for a place at the cloakroom the gig got off to an electric start with an unfamiliar supporting act called ‘The Drums’. From what I had heard about this band they seemed like any other Indie group and have been previously classed as a “beach pop” band. However, these influences were completely eradicated by the warm catchy beats and sounds that echoed about the arena, raising the anticipation for the bigger acts.
After putting away my bag and finding and securing a comfortable spot at standing area, I noticed that the area wasn’t quite fulfilling, which brought concern. Although the crowd got off to a unorthodox and boring start, the standing area soon filled up to the sound off the well known song, Lets Go Surfing by The Drums, bringing movement to my hips and the others around me to the whistling of the song and the crowd itself whilst appreciating a satisfying beverage. All in all, the first band was steady yet successful.
Personally, I thought that the music and atmosphere couldn’t get much better due to my undemanding expectations, however, during the build up to the next band The Big Pink, (A personal favourite due to how unique they are) the arena gradually became malevolently dark and sinister which raised the anticipation of the crowd somewhat overwhelmingly. Subsequently, the crowds’ expectations were soon satisfied by an energetic entrance by Robbie Furze, enhanced by almost iridescent array of strobe lighting effects. Prominently, the buzz of the crowd was raised even more by the nonsensical yet conceptually brilliant rhythms owned by the song “Too Young To Love”, combining elements of alternative rock with the mysterious beats found in Electronica.
After the transcending entrance to the stage, ‘The Big Pink’ then went on to play songs featured on the album ‘A Brief History Of Love’ such as ‘Velvet’, ‘Tonight’ and the well-known favourite ‘Dominos’, which revived the crowd from the bewilderment of their entrance. This then lead on to a much needed mosh pit, gaining the attention of the band members on stage in particular. As The Big Pinks performance came to an end, Robbie Furze thanked the crowd for the reception provided in a significant manner before exiting the stage. By this time the majority of the stage began scattering from the standing area, preparing beverages, clearing their bladders or going for a quick cigarette break in an attempt to burn time in the overwhelming anticipation of the top two acts; The Maccabees and Bombay Bicycle Club.
Hastily approaching 9:00pm, the crowd began standing in the awe of the next band, Bombay Bicycle Club. Fortunately, before the crowd began to get restless, a youthful Jack Steadman burst onto the stage with his crew, immediately getting on with the proceedings with guitar picks and drum sticks in hand. The first song to be played was ‘Dust On The Ground’, a well-known favourite, which was loved, chanted and danced to by the masses. Unlike all of the other acts that played that night, ‘Bombay Bicycle Club preferred to take a slower approach with their slot, playing a lot of their b-sides and lower tempo songs which gave me a well earned rest from moshing and a failed crowd surf (painfully landing on my back!).
After having a quick breather and a beverage, ‘Bombay Bicycle Club’s’ rendition had come to a close, hyping the whole academy up for the immensely anticipated “The Maccabees” performance. Previous chants of “Maccabees la la la” were re-ignited by a lively group of people towards the stage and began echoing and bellowing around the venue, triggering off an entrance of gratitude by Orlando Weeks and the other members of the band.
An aura of bliss was felt when the band started off their slot with “William powers”, as the crowd and the musicians on stage were in sync with their movements and chanting of lyrics. After having a few slow songs under their belts, “The Maccabees” re-kindled the flame of the atmosphere by playing perhaps their best known and favourite song “X-ray”, sending the crowd into euphoria and leading to an epic mosh with reckless bodies flying about the pit overseen by bewildered onlookers.
In an attempt to avoid the hustle and bustle of the crowd and the cloakroom queue, a friend and me began to queue up early, just in time for “The Maccabees” departure. The crowd, however, had other plans and decided to stay put, demanding for an encore. Unfortunately for us, the crowd’s demands were met by the talismanic band members of “The Maccabees”, leading to them playing other reputable favourites, “Love You Better” and “Dinosaurs”. Admittedly I was unlucky to miss the encore, however I had avoided most of the queues and overcrowding of the exits.
All in all, I left the sweaty, overcrowded venue with a ripped tshirt and wrecked trainers but all of these things were meaningless to me at the time, as I was too busy chanting nonsensical lyrics with a spring in my step; it was definitely a night to remember for me.
- Review by Aaron