First up are Birmingham’s own Cytota, recently signed to Raw Power Management after a run of successful tours last year with artists such as Finch, Chiodos and a slot at Download Festival. Formed in 2009, the band got particularly noticed with the release of Generation Scared which received heavy airplay on both Kerrang and Scuzz. Lead vocalist Joby Fitzgerald is turning into a competent frontman, leading the crowd confidently through Cytota’s back catalogue and attempting to get an audience engaged who for the most part seem unfamiliar with their music. As the set progresses however, with the coupling of Joby and Oliver’s enthusiasm it soon allows the crowd to pick up some movement. With a new song, so new the lyrics could apparently be changed, being showcased tonight it’s obvious that this band has what’s needed to succeed and follow in the footsteps of young British bands who have took a step up in recent years such as Don Broco and While She Sleeps and it’s just a case of keeping a close eye and seeing if the hypothetical stars are aligned.
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Next up are Fact, a Japanese rock band formed in 1999. That’s mostly the extent of what became apparent tonight. Aside from having one English member from Sheffield and a very enthusiastic drummer, the sound was so poor tonight that no judgement can be made on tonight’s performance. It was obvious that the band were enjoying themselves, however little crowd participation and a poor response left everyone feeling a little deflated. This could be down to first night glitches, as there will be plenty more tonight, but it’s not something you want to last your whole set.
Next up are The Word Alive, a metalcore band from Phoenix, Arizona. Currently signed to Fearless Records, the band is led by front man Tyler Smith who does a great job of engaging the audience and making the songs into a visceral performance. It quickly becomes obvious that the majority of the audience are already familiar with the bands work, with the crowd lapping up every vocal and creating a barrel of energy within the venue. The closing duo of ‘The Wretched’ and ‘Life Cycles’ do well to sending the venue close to chaos, with their mixture of positive lyrics and metal core musicianship proving a very inspiring and entertaining performance.
As Memphis May Fire prepare to take to the stage, it becomes apparent that the crowd has noticeable thinned out. Possibly proving the popularity of The Word Alive over tonight’s headliners or that the crowd has pushed forward to the point where space at the back has increased I could not comment. However the forty minute wait for the band to take to the stage, highlights greatly that tonight is the first night of the UK edition of the Unconditional tour in promotion of their new album which is available through iTunes or on physical copy. But waiting aside, all is forgotten once the band takes to the stage.
Memphis May Fire sprung to popularity upon the release of sophomore album The Hollow, their debut release on Rise Records which spawned opener of the evening ‘The Sinner’ arguably the most popular song from the album. ‘The Deciever’ and ‘The Unfaithful’ also get outings tonight from this album. Considering this set is to promote new album Unconditional, the band play very few tracks from it this evening, with lead single ‘No Ordinary Love’ being showcased along with the live debut of album track ‘The Rose’ with both being sung in unison with the crowd despite the album being relatively recently released. The majority of tracks this evening were from ‘Challenger’ with ‘Miles Away’ providing the set a slower moment, with fan favourites ‘Vices’ and ‘Alive in the Lights’ also getting aired. A relatively rare outing for ‘You’re Lucky It’s Not 1962’ from the band’s debut album ‘Sleepwalking’ was also played tonight, highlighting the leaps and bounds the band has took over the years to reach the stage they are today.
Memphis May Fire are a band at the top of a genre that’s congested and bland, it could be argued. Producing motivational and positive anthems, Matty Mullins does well to engage and lead the fans to sing and dance to their hearts content. All in all, despite first night technical difficulties, a very entertaining and engaging evening.
Review by Dan Earl
16.04.04 – KOKO, London
19.04.14 – Hit The Deck Festival, Bristol
20.04.14 – Hit The Deck Festival, Nottingham
21.04.14 – Zal Ozhidaniya, Saint Petersburg, Russia
22.04.14 – Plan B, Moscow, Russia
23.04.14 – Arena Hall, Krasnordar, Russia
24.04.14 – Tesla, Rostov, Russia
25.04.14 – 100 Ruchiev, Voronezh, Russia
27.04.14 – Zvezda, Samara Ru, Germany
28.04.14 – Zheltava Kofta, Kazan’, Russia