Lostprophets - Brixton Academy, London
Peer pressure. Sometimes you’ve just got to love it. About three-quarters of the way through tonight’s set, Lostprophets finally bow to the crowd’s wishes and play an unscheduled track in ‘We Are Godzilla, You Are Japan’ after constantly hearing “Godzilla” chanted between each song break. It’s practically akin to bullying by the crowd but Ian Watkins encourages it; say what you like about Lostprophets but you have to admire a band that isn’t afraid to change things up and veer off the set list for their fans.
Skipping back to the start with the crowd suitably warmed up by a fantastic Kids In Glass Houses support slot, Lostprophets had to come out big and they didn’t disappoint. After a well-worked opening with each band member coming on separately to play their parts in The Betrayed opening track ‘If It Wasn’t For Hate…’, the crowd are hit with an opening salvo of ‘It’s Not The End Of The World…’ and ‘Burn Burn’ which results in pure, unadulterated carnage in the standing areas: arms flailing everywhere and bodies hitting the floor at regular intervals.
The pace is unrelenting throughout the first half of the set with Ian Watkins’ trademark crowd banter taking a back seat to the songs but they don’t always hit the mark. Two of the faster, heavier songs from The Betrayed, ‘Dstryr/Dstryr’ and ‘Next Stop Atro City’, fall disappointedly flat with Watkins seemingly beset by microphone issues meaning the instrumental drowns out his vocals. The opening half also sees the band play a misjudged cover of The Prodigy’s ‘Omen’; misjudged not because the band don’t do a great job of it, it’s just that it ends up sounding exactly like the original and another delve into the back catalogue, such as they do with ‘A Thousand Apologies’ from Thefakesoundofprogress, would have been a better set list option.
Having the opening half of the set dominated by tracks from The Betrayed seemed to have an adverse effect on the crowd with their energy and appreciation noticeably on the wane, but the second half of the set raised it up back to the starting levels and from ‘Can’t Catch Tomorrow’, the band and crowd were as one resulting in a flawless second half; from the ridiculous bounciness of ‘A Town Called Hypocrisy’ through the ferocious head-banging of ‘Shinobi Vs Dragon Ninja’ to the epic sing along of ‘Where We Belong’, the second half of the set is consistently entertaining and a sheer joy to witness.
The latter half of the set also sees the entertainer side of Ian Watkins emerge as his interaction with the crowd increases such as the aforementioned joking with the crowd before Lostprophets unleash Godzilla upon Brixton and, even during the misfiring first half, he remains a magnetic presence throughout. He’s helped by the fact that this tour’s set up has given him his own plateau at the back of the stage to overlook the rest of the band and it’s no surprise that tonight’s encore ends up with the spotlight firmly on him on this plateau as the rest of the band depart. Arrogant? Definitely but when it’s done with such over-the-top displays and with tongue firmly in cheek, it’s hard not to get swept away.
Lostprophets are unlikely to ever end up on a list of essential bands you must see before you die but when all of the pieces click into place, they are one of the most enjoyable live bands around; loud, fast-paced and accompanied with a side order of fun, it's a live experience that you won’t forget in a hurry.
IF IT WASN'T FOR HATE, WE'D BE DEAD BY NOW
IT'S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD BUT I CAN SEE IT FROM HERE
A BETTER NOTHING
OMEN (The Prodigy cover)
A THOUSAND APOLOGIES
NEXT STOP ATRO CITY
CAN'T CATCH TOMORROW (GOOD SHOES WON'T SAVE YOU THIS TIME)
FOR HE'S A JOLLY GOOD FELON
WE ARE GODZILLA, YOU ARE JAPAN
A TOWN CALLED HYPOCRISY
LAST TRAIN HOME
WHERE WE BELONG
ROOFTOPS (A LIBERATION BROADCAST)
SHINOBI VS. DRAGON NINJA
THE LIGHT THAT BURNS TWICE AS BRIGHT...