If done right, I enjoy a bit of pop punk. Not so much a guilty pleasure (because there’s no such thing) as something I enjoy, but not my go-to listening preference. With tonight’s headliners Miami Monroe ably supported by three bands in Audio for the princely sum of a fiver, you can’t go wrong.
Opening the night were The Double Standards with their bass-heavy pop-punk, providing groove-filled sounds and a throwback to the noughties with hints of Jimmy Eat World and Yellowcard. A bit rough around the edges, the young four-piece endeavour through their set with the highlight coming in the form of a cover of Blink-182’s “What’s My Age Again?” There’s a slight debate between the band for their closing song “Wavess” whether it’s punk or indie. I certainly found it to be more on the punk end of the spectrum.
Following on from them were Phosphenes, immediately changing the pace of the night with a grittier and heavy sound whilst maintaining a great level of melody. They rattle through their set with a cover of their own. One of those songs you recognise but can’t quite place. With this being only their second live performance, you’d be mistaken for thinking they’d been playing live a lot longer, delivering a tight and polished sound. Despite the slightly different sound, they fit the bill well and received a warm welcome.
The most energetic band so far, Better Days rattle through their slightly more alternative spin on pop punk. Having recently bagged a spot at Slam Dunk, they show in no time that they’ll be a welcome addition as they make full use of Audio’s tiny stage. Keeping in tradition with tonight, they throw in a cover of their own with Lit’s “Own Worst Enemy”, paying homage to the spirit of the night’s influences. The set passes in the blink of an eye being perhaps a little too short, but long enough to show the quality of musicianship on offer.
Miami Monroe took to the stage and it becomes glaringly obvious they’ve got a passionate fanbase with Audio almost close to capacity. As they take time to promote their new EP, they hit the required bases alongside their older material and their own choice cover of Blink-182’s “Dammit”. With a tight performance, they radiate energy and passion for their music and scene. Similarly, the crowd lap it up and it’s understandable to see why they have such a passionate following.
Mixing it up halfway into the set, the acoustic guitar is broken out with clear fan favourite “Maggie May”, they continue on with “Broken Tapes” before plugging back in and going full-pelt for the finish line. With all of the self-titled EP getting an outing, songs like “Daddy Issues” and “Falling For You” are also played and subsequently received with aplomb.
Final song of the night goes back into cover territory with Sum 41’s “Fat Lip” and an impromptu stage invasion leads to a dozen or so people joining the band for a roof-raising finale. Props has to be given to the band for not breaking stride and to the new blood onstage as they jump around yet manage to avoid knocking the musicians and their equipment.
Not quite as on the nose as some pop punk can be, Miami Monroe are clear lovers of their inspirations whilst ensuring they have their own sound. They’ve got the attitude, the image and the passion to go the distance and strike for longevity. They look more at ease on-stage compared to when they were main support for AlteredSky last year and as someone who doesn’t find himself listening to pop punk all that often, they’re a stark reminder of why those bands of the noughties were so beloved. They’re just good fun.
Photos by Gary Cooper.