Lower Than Atlantis @ O2 Academy Newcastle, 14/03/17

After speaking to Mike Duce – the lead singer of Lower Than Atlantis – in a phone interview a few weeks previously, we walked into the venue feeling very hyped up: he had told us that he was expecting the ‘Safe In Sound’ tour to feature the best shows they had ever played, so we had very high expectations. However, for us this show was a little disappointing.

After unfortunately missing the first support act – Roam –the show started for us with the Australian post-hardcore band Hands Like Houses. This band set the gig off to a fantastic start; their sound is a mash-up of synth melodies, harmonic pop-punk vocals and the signature thrash guitar and growling bass-line sound of heavy rock, altogether creating a fantastic energy. The lead singer’s voice demonstrated an incredibly diverse range, as he hit eye-wateringly high notes as well as nailing heavy screaming in songs such as “New Romantics.” Their performance was smooth and professional, as they commanded the stage with remarkable ease. On reflection, Hands Like Houses were definitely the highlight of the gig for us, and we’ve been listening to them on repeat ever since!

Young Guns took to the stage next, something which we were really looking forward to as previous performances have impressed us. However, this particular show was a bit of a let-down: Gustav Wood’s vocal performance struck us as a little lazy, as he failed to sing many of the top notes. The atmosphere at this point was also noticeably flat; despite repeated attempts to hype the crowd up, everybody but the front row was completely motionless. Perhaps this was due to Young Guns’ set being almost entirely composed of new songs, as it wasn’t until the penultimate song of the set – fan-favourite “Bones,” one of their older songs – that Gustav Wood finally achieved some of the audience participation that he had been working for all evening, as the crowd shouted the lyrics back to him. Although we were a little disheartened by the lack of atmosphere during this part of the gig, we shrugged it off and told ourselves that it would improve when the headliners hit the stage.

However, unfortunately, things did not get much better from there on out: Lower Than Atlantis did not make an appearance until over an hour after Young Guns had finished their set, and by the time they did show, the crowd was beginning to get a little agitated. This all seemed to melt away though as LTA finally stormed on-stage amid unique, artsy visuals, and immediately launched into the lead single from their new album, “Had Enough.” The punchy guitar rhythms and infectious lyrics caused an eruption of excitement within the crowd, and after a heart-felt apology in which Duce blamed the painfully long wait for the set on “technical problems or some shit,” the band launched into some older songs. These included “Ain’t No Friend” – which seemed to please the crowd with its upbeat, electronic vibes – and the fun, pop-punk tune “Emily.” Unfortunately, we had to cut the night short there in order to catch the last bus home, so missed most of LTA’s set. However, from what we did see the set had a relaxed vibe, whilst the band still appeared to be enjoying every single bit of their biggest tour to date.

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