The Kerrang! Tour 2010 @ Southampton Guildhall

Once again, the annual Kerrang! Relentless Tour rolls into Southampton, putting together some of the UK’s finest new bands and fan favourites in a unique, diverse line up. And with US pop-punk superstars All Time Low headlining the tour this year, it’s very possible that this could be the biggest party to start 2010 with!

If the atmosphere outside the venue is hyperactive, then the atmosphere inside is positively atomic when the crowds start moving in, making the air thick with the smell of hairspray and hormones. Late doors mean Brit newcomers Young Guns kick the show off in an energetic fashion, but to a room still only one-third full. Still, their brand of melodic rock gets people moving and clapping along with all their songs, especially with frontman Gustav Wood jumping about with as much energy as the crowd.  With so much recent success, including the Kerrang! Awards last year, and a set consisting of recent hits like Winter Kiss and Weight of the World, don’t be surprised if you hear a lot more from Young Guns in the near future.

What is surprising though, is that cult band My Passion is higher up the bill tonight than Gustav Wood’s gang. Apparently it’s a rotating position, but the fact that My Passion spend a good 20 minutes setting up the stage in front of the audience before going off and coming back on again to do their set suggests that perhaps they should have been on first. However, the fevered reaction they get from the fanatics down the front suggests there could be more to them than just the styled hair, dapper clothes and matching instruments. It’s all a bit too pre-meditated, but once they get going on their unique mix of Goth-Punk draped with electronics you can begin to see where there would be an appeal for a cult following.

Crowd anticipation starts brewing for Welsh mob The Blackout when they suitably arrive to the sounds of battle drums before kicking off their set with current tracks Children of the Night and ShutTheFuckUppercut, which whip the crowd into a frenzy. Co-vocalists Sean Smith and Gavin Butler make sure that their time in the spotlight is filled with as much crowd banter as there is their own mix of crunching riffs and huge choruses. Melodic sing-alongs come in the form of Its High Tide, Baby! and pounding grooves get the crowds shaking the floorboards throughout The Beijing Cocktail and fan favourite set closer I’m A Riot, You’re A Riot. It’s a fiery close to arguably the most incendiary set of the evening.

Pop-punk all-stars All Time Low have been gathering a big following in the US, and are well on their way to bringing that success to the British shores. But from the crowd’s reaction to their stage entry tonight, you’d be forgiven for thinking that success already exists here! Powering head-on into their set with bouncing, powerful pop-punk anthems, and only stopping in-between songs so frontman Alex Gaskarth and guitarist Jack Barakat can throw insults at each other, it’s clear how performances such as these have earned them such a big name. It’s because their background sheet (which at first appears plain white) lights up with profanities covering all the blank areas under a UV lamp that they have sometimes been called “Blink-182 Imitators”. It’s easy to see how All Time Low are following in that kind of direction, but what they specialise in most of all is throwing a huge party every time they take to the stage. The only slow point of this is Alex’s acoustic Remembering Sunday, which still gets a huge sing along, before they pick right up again with Weightless closing their main set. Of course, this is nothing compared to the reaction for their encore of Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t) and debut hit Dear Maria, Count Me In, sending the audience into full party mode before ending the night.

As the masses dispense out into the cold January air, there’s hardly anyone that doesn’t look like they’ve come from the biggest party of the month, both physically and mentally. It’s just another job done for All Time Low and the rest of the bands tonight!

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