Live Review: Crown The Empire, Set It Off, Dangerkids & Alive Like Me – Rescue Rooms, Nottingham – 10/02/2015

After supporting Asking Alexandria in October last year Crown The Empire are back with a headline UK tour. We managed to catch their show in Nottingham at the Rescue Rooms.

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First up are Oregon based Alive Like Me. Although only having a small following on social media, a pocket of dedicated fans located front and center go wild from the get go. Frontman Jairus Kersey spends a large portion of tonight’s set with these fans and the rest of the front row, sufficiently getting the audience warmed up for tonight’s show. Stand out songs included the powerful ‘Searching For Endings’ and ‘Better Off,’ with the hook “I’m better off without you” being taught to the crowd before hand. As Alive Like Me finish their set they are treated to the first circle pit of the night, which, although not lasting very long, shows that everyone here are here to have fun, whether they know the band or not. (3/5)

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As Dangerkids are setting up on stage the crowd calms, but as soon as they burst into the first song the whole room erupts. The energy that Alive Like Me just managed to pull from the crowd is increased ten fold, as songs such as ‘Paper Thin’ and ‘Hostage’ get the floor pulsing; with the odd crowd surfer tumbling over the front at regular intervals throughout the set. The band themselves are bursting with energy, the duel vocalists Andy Bane and Tyler Smyth are all over the stage, constantly leaning into the crowd to make sure the audience are having as much fun as they are, while drummer Katie Cole has a huge grin plastered across her face for the entire set. The mix of rap, huge sing-along moments and well placed screams take me back to early Linkin Park, but the band manage to bring something fresh and exciting to the table. Towards the end of the set there is a rumble of noise that starts from the back. Inching it’s way closer to the stage, the band finally hear the “Drum solo. Drum solo” chant. Although visibly embarrassed, drummer Katie Cole obliges with a few quick beats while the rest of the band beam at the new found fans they have undoubtedly made. They finish the set with ‘Waking Up.’ (3.5/5)

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Next up are Set It Off, who get the warmest welcome so far from the already familiar crowd. They kick off proceedings with ‘The Haunting,’ which shows off not only their ability to write a catchy song, but to tell a story through expressive lyrics. Although Set It Off aren’t as heavy as the other bands on the bill, the theatrical nature of songs such as ‘Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing’ (to which the audience are encouraged to interact by lighting up their phones at a certain point in the song) really do make them stand out, in a good way. With a new video on the way for ‘Ancient History,’ the chants of “I know I know / You know you know” can be heard all the way to the back of the room. The band finish on fan favourite ‘Why Worry,’ which has everyone clapping, jumping and ‘woooah’ing from start to finish. (3.5/5)

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As the stage is cleared of all floor monitors, with risers being put in their place, the room is buzzing for headliners Crown The Empire. Almost out of the blue, the empty space darkens and clean vocalist Andy Leo can be heard singing ‘Oh Catastrophe’ from backstage, before the whole band appear to kick into ‘The Fallout.’ For a band who put a lot of work into the look and aesthetic of their created world and characters, it’s a great visual way to start off their headline set.

Unclean vocalist David Escamilla joins Brandon Hoover and Benn Suede on guitar duties for sophomore album title track ‘Rise Of The Runaways,’ which is proceeded by ‘Johnny Trilogy’ (a musical journey through songs Johnny Ringo, Johnny’s Revenge and Johnny’s Rebellion) which stand out as fan favourites. For all of the theatrics and story telling of their music, it’s quite unsatisfying that the band themselves don’t show their own characters.

In between songs all members seem to drift towards the back of the stage with no effort to talk or make a connection to the audience, which seems to put the pacing of the show a little out of whack. One minute joining the audience into a rebellion and the next leaving the atmosphere a bit stale while re-tuning instruments or, in the case of Leo and Escamilla, just standing around facing the back.

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While their interaction isn’t up to scratch, that can’t be said about the songs they produce. The anthemic ‘Machines’ gets everyone moving and singing at the top of their lungs, which is followed by the crushing ‘Bloodline’ and ‘Children Of Love,’ the latter achieving the biggest circle pit of the night. Before coming back on for the obligatory encore, Crown The Empire finish the set with ‘Millennia,’ making the security work for their wage as waves of crowd surfers spill over the barrier throughout the song. (3/5)

As a dedicated fan, tonight was everything and more, judging by the excited recounting between friends just minutes after leaving the venue. But as an onlooker (and after the three supports did so well at connecting with the audience) Crown The Empire do seem to need a little work on the bands individual personality, not just the lyrical characters they create.

Words and photos by Carrie-Anne Pollard (Me Vs The World! Photography)


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