When Taking Back Sunday take to the stage the Academy erupts and the front row, composed entirely of young teenage girls, scream and quiver in unison. However it is only when singer Adam Lazzara appears that things get a little bit too hectic for comfort; he smiles broadly at that front row as he saunters onstage, tossing his long, wavy hair to the side, sending those in his field of vision into hysterics. One particular girl finds the occasion too much and bursts into tears before seemingly collapsing. The reaction is perhaps not surprising given the average age of those in attendance and Lazzara’s roguish good looks. However beyond the captivating front man and his eccentric looking band, Taking Back Sunday are little more than a solid band who provide a sterling evening’s entertainment for all those in attendance.
Earlier in the evening, the unusual aroma of Clearasil and nail polish fill the air as Limerick based The Demise take to the stage. Admitting that they don’t stick to a set-list and appearing to follow drummer Kieran Hayes’ lead, the foursome bash out some tight tunes to a warm reception. They share a sound somewhat similar to early 00’s American Exports (Sum 41, The Offspring, Yellowcard), albeit with lyrics that are as epic and over-the-top as early Metallica, which is not necessarily a bad thing. They too are vocally affected by heavy American accents which is not an endearing quality, at least not for an Irish band, but that aside they do have the calibre of songs and talent to suitably entertain the attentive audience.
Glaswegian four-piece Twin Atlantic burst onto the stage soon after with a high-octane but essentially by-the-numbers performance. Save for the highlights of recent single ‘Lightspeed’ and set closer ‘Audience and Audio’ this first Irish performance for the band was a set that did little to capture the imagination. Not that the bulk of the audience seemed to care, as they even leaped cheerfully throughout the slow-building introduction to ‘Carribean War Syndrome’. However it was all formalities to this point for many in attendance. An air of excitement grew and the crowd surged forward as the roadies made their leave.
It became a sing-a-long from the get go, Lazzara allowing the crowd snippets of songs to take as their own. ‘Twenty Twenty Surgery’ sees the entire band bounce around the stage as their frontman stumbles and falls onto his back (presumably not intentionally). From here, Lazzara gyrates and hollers before impressively spinning himself upright. He is an excellent frontman, tossing his mic high into the air and catching it nonchalantly as he gazes off into the crowd. Their music is definitely of an acquired taste, however their show is thoroughly enjoyable. It is hard not to enjoy a performance when the band are so obviously delighted to be performing to an adoring crowd.
‘Liar (It Takes One To Know One) and ‘Spin’ are stand out tracks in a set-list that was clever enough in its composition to somewhat hide the musical limitations of guitarists Matthew Fazzi and Eddie Reyes. Otherwise, the onstage banter is minimal, but it is perhaps because the band see it as wasted energy more than anything else. When Lazzara opens his mouth to do anything but sing, he is drowned out by cries of ‘Marry me!’ or ‘I love you!’. ‘A Decade Under The Influence’ brings the set to a close as the crowd cry out for more. This quickly become a chant of “OlÃ© OlÃ© OlÃ©” and then swiftly transforms into “Oggi-Oggi-Oggi”. Three young men reappear looking for hugs during this period… Thankfully (for an array of reasons) TBS reappear for four more songs. ‘Where My Mouth is’ and ‘MakeDamnSure’ bring the nights events to a close.
The crowd are sweaty and smiling as they make their way past an almost barren merchandise stall. It is not the most intelligent music you’ll ever hear, in fact its not really the most anything you’ll ever hear – it’s a fairly standard affair if truth be told. But the overriding feeling here tonight is a celebration. Everybody seems to acknowledge that this is not a generation defining gig, but merely just a night out in the company of a pretty famous band.