Taking Back Sunday - Bristol O2 Academy
The O2 Academy, Bristol hosted the final show of the UK leg of Taking Back Sunday's 20th Anniversary European tour, with Geoff Rickly and The Frights in support.
Geoff Rickly, lead singer and songwriter of rock band Thursday, kicked things off and reminded the growing crowd that music shares its artistic and creative roots with poetry and torment. Rickly's practised and experienced voice emanated raw energy and more subtle hints of woe as he stood alone, sans any band mates or extravagant equipment, on the expanse of the darkened stage. His guitar his only companion. The solitary presentation a distinct departure for an artist who is currently the frontman of multiple rock bands including being the “glue” that put the broken pieces of Lostprophets back together in the guise of No Devotion. Rickly is obviously successful at creative collaborations and teamwork, but he proved in this subdued, yet powerful performance, that his individual talents are considerable and profound.
The Frights bounce onto the stage and the mood in the room changes immediately. Mikey Carnevale (lead vocals), Richard Dotson (Bass), Marc Finn (Drums) and Jordan Clark (Guitar) formed the Surf Punk group as a lark in 2012 and released their third album, Hypochondriac, in 2018. Their attitude and personalities more reminiscent of a classic rock performance and indeed this was exactly what the expecting masses was desperate for after the more erudite performance by Rickly.
The potential in the young band is obvious and with lyrics that are decidedly witty, yet laced with a maturity that belies their youth and some choruses so intensely catchy that the mainstream appeal and success can almost be guaranteed. But unfortunately, the performance did not break any new ground or announce the mercurial arrival of a distinct or singular voice.
The O2 Academy lost its collective mind as Taking Back Sunday entered stage right. This response was exponentially more exuberant than most gigs in recent memory and the corresponding expectation was palpable. The rock band from Long Island, New York obviously inspired rabid devotion and judging by the swagger and bravado of lead singer Adam Lazzara, the group have enjoyed the ardour for the duration of their 20-year career. Lazzara's friendship with founding member and guitarist Eddie Reyes formed the skeleton of the set as he shared intimate and humorous details of their formative experiences leading to the creation of the 2002 album, Tell All Your Friends, which was performed in its entirety on the night.
'Timberwolves at New Jersey', 'Blue Channel' and 'Tidal Wave' almost literally raised the roof, but the performance was reminiscent of The Emperor's New Clothes. The crowd cheered and whooped, fists pumped and heads banged, but there was an unspoken, but obvious bewilderment. The instruments were in constant confused battle with each other and no clear winner emerged. The cacophony was breathtaking and brutal and yet, still didn't exceed the confusion over the continued frenzy and fervour. The wanton fans knew every lyric and chorus, but it was inaudible over the mess of instruments and echoes. Blame for the chaos could perhaps be found with individual tastes and preference or perhaps inadequate sound engineering, but ultimately, there may be no blame to be had. Perhaps we as music fans enjoy the music we enjoy and love the artists we love regardless of the performance on the day.