Whether you’re a fan of last year’s ‘Tidal Wave’ or just here to get a fix of mid-00s emo rock nostalgia, it’s safe to say Taking Back Sunday can still draw in a crowd. Tonight their UK tour arrives in Nottingham. Flanked by Frank Iero as the main support, tonight’s bill is a dream for those who spent their teenage years on MySpace, wearing eyeliner and fine-tuning their emo fringe.
Nevertheless, before TBS and Iero, we’re given the opportunity to lose ourselves in some superb UK indie punk courtesy of Exeter’s Muncie Girls. 2016 was a great year for the three-piece and tonight’s opening slot gives them the chance to share highlights from last year’s ‘From Caplan To Belsize’ to people who may not be familiar with them. As they begin their half hour set, the room is gradually filling up. Jangly cuts such as ‘Gas Mark 4’, ‘Social Side’ and ‘Gone With The Wind’ are warmly appreciated. As always, Muncie Girls are enjoyable to watch yet it’s clear there is a lack of familiarity for many here. Let’s hope some walk away impressed, as the trio are unfazed by playing rooms such as Rock City’s main hall. (3.5/5)
As we entered the venue earlier, it seemed a majority of tonight’s crowd is here to see Frank Iero (and the Patience) rather than the headliners. It might be 2017 but it looks like the MCRmy is still strong. Welcomed by expected screams, parker-wearing Iero and his band quickly deliver an onslaught of raw alt-rock. ‘I’m a Mess’ carries itself with a punk-like energy, while ‘Tragician’ sends a growing portion of dedicated fans into a frenzy. Despite Iero’s charisma and his bands energetic, driving sound, their set lasts a couple songs too long as we begin to lose interest. (3/5)
Over the years (and through various line-up changes) tonight’s headliners have built a catalogue of songs that are as strong as any band to emerge since the turn of the millennium. And while last year’s ‘Tidal Wave’ effort received a mixed response, luckily we’re treated to its better moments tonight alongside longtime favourites. Album opener ‘Death Wolf’ kicks things off in an ideal fashion as Adam Lazzara’s large frame struts around the stage while his bandmates provide an energetic soundtrack.
Over the course of 17 songs, there is no letup for the quintet as ‘Liar (It Takes One to Know One)’, ‘Timberwolves at New Jersey’, ‘A Decade Under the Influence’ are soon delivered to much elation to everyone in attendance. While showings in recent years has seen Lazzara talk a bit too much in between songs, that is not the case tonight as he is more than willing to let the band’s music do the talking. Newer cuts such as ‘You Can’t Look Back’ and ‘Call Come Running’ slide in nicely against rock night club favourites ‘You’re So Last Summer’ and ‘You Know How I Do’.
Throughout, guitarist John Nolan and Lazzara pull off the familiar duel vocal characteristic, that the band are known for with ease. However, they don’t need to put too much effort in as this packed out crowd is more than willing to fill in. While the rest of the band sound as tight as ever, and although we’re given a set two songs short, everyone is left walking more than satisfied as they bring the night to a close with ‘MakeDamnSure’.
While TBS may not be at their commericial or critical peak these days, there is no doubt the quintet have honed a stellar catalogue of songs that make them an excellent live band. (4.5/5)