Kicking off their Scottish Weekender tour in their hometown, AlteredSky bring their pop punk-infused rock to the intimate setting of Audio. Very much the far cry from headlining the Garage last year.
As the strains of Biffy Clyro’s Opposites blares through the venue, first band of the evening, Odyssey take to the stage. A great fit for the night, they kick off proceedings with a warm welcome, their new guitarist Jakub Urbaniak slotting in perfectly. They work their way through a short set, including a couple of covers like Radiohead’s “Creep”, Nirvana’s “About a Girl” and The Undertones’ “Teenage Kicks”. Despite only one guitar on offer tonight, the latter’s interpretation works, even if Urbaniak’s guitar is buried. A great start to the show, the quartet set a high standard for the remainder of bands to hit.
Opting for a slightly heavier route yet still in the domain of pop punk, Yorkshire lads One Way Street follow, maintaining the standard set before them. Borrowing Miami Monroe’s guitarist, Jordan Daly (who are incidentally supporting them once more for the remaining dates and in August), there’s a notable chemistry between he and the rest of the band belying that he’s never played with them. With several heavy breakdowns throughout, the crowd are encouraged to open pits but aside from one enthusiastic patron, it falls a tad flat. That being said, musically, they’re an entertaining listen and keep things fresh in a pop punk night which runs the risk of becoming a slog by the end.
Their first “proper” gig in almost a year, Part Time Heroes earn a warm welcome. The highlights come towards the end of their set with a song about “getting the fuck out your hometown” and questioning the legitimacy of a pop punk band if they don’t have a song on that theme. It’s followed by its spiritual sequel in both lyrics and music with a song dedicated to finding solace in a new town. With the idea that “skate punk” is now a thing, the trio remind me of the music you’d find on the early Tony Hawk games. They’re good fun – it’s obvious a lot of people are here to see them and rightly so.
AlteredSky are intent to prove why they’re tonight’s headliners. Featuring the same intro as last year with frontwoman Ana Nowosielska dressed as a plague doctor, she removes the mask in time to hit her vocal cue for “This War is Mine”. Unperturbed by the half-full tiny venue, the band play as if to a capacity stadium, their seemingly boundless energy has the quintet at their best.
With roughly half the set comprised of their debut album, they’re not opposed to a cover of their own with “Titanium”. At a glance, the original was clearly a product of the music industry and shat out onto mainstream radio. The fivesome have taken it and delivered it as if it was theirs.
Newcomer Tara Behan is clearly agreeing with the band, fitting in well with the rest of them. There’s a newfound energy to them alongside the familiar buzz of a band being excited to be at the start of a tour. Behan trades shots with fellow six-stringer Ryan Zdrojewski and interacts well with Ross Archibald (striking six strings of his own, but of the bass variety and to well-justified use). Meanwhile Amy Blair may be at the back with her drums but she directs enough passion into her playing to make it feel like she’s right at the front with her four bandmates.
“Live Wire” gets the crowd bouncing and throwing their horns before Ana introduces “Stupid in the Dark” as the last song of the night. Having just hit the half-hour mark, and from past experience, there’s no doubt this was them just warming up. Without even an encore, the set was barely (if at all) longer than their support acts’. It ends the night on a slightly sour note, especially when I’ve seen them batter through a longer set. However, before they jet off to Asia for a five-week tour, there’s a warm-up gig at Glasgow’s G2 featuring the likes of Miami Monroe and Take Today and if it’s anything like last year’s, it’ll be one to be at.