For some Taking Back Sunday are considered veterans of the modern rock scene and despite mixed responses to their latest LP, ‘Happiness Is’ their “legacy” alone is capable of still drawing in crowds. Tonight’s show in Birmingham solidify that statement as New York based band serve a mix of old and new classics. But first of all we’re treated to two of the UK’s biggest and most promising right now, well that’s what we had hoped for…

Photos by Connie Taylor Photography

After getting caught in the madness of Birmingham’s Christmas market, we unfortunately miss the always exceptional Marmozets. Thankfully they’re back out on another headline run in February. Surprisingly Blitz Kids are tonight’s main support. After an eventful 2014, the quartet at times struggle to win a majority of the crowd. After a flat start, they gradually manage to grab people’s attention with a strong set of accessible hook-y Rock songs. Whilst it’s clear they have presence and their experience of a tight land band shines through, Blitz Kids don’t quite have enough pull to win fans over minus their dedicated support. (2.5/5)

Taking Back Sunday have never been known for their extraordinary show but with current incarnation made up of Adam Lazzara, John Nolan, Eddie Reyes, Shaun Cooper, and Mark O’Connell having played together again for the best of four years now, TBS in 2014 are much removed from their “emo heyday” and have taken a more accessible rock band route. With six studio albums under their belt, tonight sees the quintet pick out singles and fan favourites.

Photos by Connie Taylor Photography

Beginning with ‘What’s It Feel Like to Be a Ghost?’, Lazzara is ever the charismatic frontman whilst guitarist John Nolan is the ideal “sidekick” as he chips in throughout with the set with well-placed backing vocals and screams. ‘A Decade Under The Influence and ‘Number Five with a Bullet’ fulfil fans early need for classic TBS before recent single, ‘Stood a Chance’ is given an airing. Whilst its not as well-received as older material, it is a vibrant and catchy number leading to be appreciated by a majority of the crowd.

Even though tonight is the ideal time for TBS to showcase ‘Happiness Is’, which they do throughout; ‘Better Homes and Gardens’ and ‘All the Way’ are heartwarming whilst ‘Flicker, Fade’ takes the bands blueprint and adds a soaring, powerful chorus to much jubilation.

Nevertheless they know what this crowd wants and accordingly delivers. From ‘Liar (It Takes One to Know One)’, to ‘Set Phasers to Stun’, to ‘My Blue Heaven’ to ‘You Know How I Do’, Lazzara and company produce an outstanding and overwhelming set that makes you realise how strong TBS’ back catalogue has become.

Photos by Connie Taylor Photography

The end of the night sees ‘Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut from the Team)’ and the inevitable concluding ‘MakeDamnSure’ being pulled out to end on a high. The band and crowd are singing in a unison, in celebration of a career of a band that has had its fair share ups and downs.

They may not be the best performers out there; Lazzara especially tonight spent a bit too long with the usual in-between song “banter” which hindered the overall flow of the show. Nevertheless on tonights show there is still plenty of life left in Taking Back Sunday; charismatic, energetic and an nearly endless list of brilliant songs. (4.5/5)


Words by Sean Reid (@SeanReid86)

Photos by Connie Taylor Photography and taken the Roundhouse, London on 9th December 2014.

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