I’ll be honest, I was slightly nervous about this one. I’ve seen Theory of a Deadman twice, both opening for much bigger bands in two terrible venues: the SECC and the Hydro. While they gave solid performances both times, the acoustics weren’t in their favour. I’ve also heard their QMU gig between those two shows didn’t sound wonderful.
That being said, I was willing to forgive them as they weren’t in a good venue. This was my first time seeing them headline a show and it was at the O2 ABC, my favourite venue. After dodging Beasts, a couple of friends and I grabbed a decent spot. With a short wait and being treated to Monster Truck’s “Sweet Mountain River”, Tyler Connolly led the band onto the stage.
After a slightly shaky start, a smile spread across my face. They were sounding good. All they needed was a good venue. Launching straight in with the old classic, “So Happy”, they quickly found their stride and the ABC sprung to life.
With five albums to their name, Theory of a Deadman are spoiled for choice when it comes to songs. With great tracks like “Lowlife”, “All or Nothing” and “Bitch Came Back”, they threw in some brilliant new tracks from their recent album, Savages, including “Drown” and their hilarious swipe at modern pop culture, “Blow”.
Mid-way through proceedings we were treated to an acoustic rendition of one of my favourite tunes by the Canadian rockers, “No Surprise” which worked surprisingly well alongside a cover of Stone Temple Pilots’ “Interstate Love Song”. Following it was a drum solo from Joey Dandeneau. Short and full of panache and finesse, it was how every drum solo should be before the band went back to full electric mode.
Closing out the set for me before I had to leave was “Santa Monica”, another of my favourites and preceded by Tyler Connolly giving a speech about songs and bands which can change lives. Nicely provided with the setlist by our overlord Mosh, the set was rounded out by songs like “Invisible Man”, “Hate My Life” and “Bad Girlfriend”.
Despite a couple of shaky performances outwith their control, Theory of a Deadman proved they’re actually a great live act. This time I could actually tell that Tyler Connolly and Dave Brenner’s guitars were weaving around each other and I could recognise the songs.
The next time Theory of a Deadman come to town, there won’t be a single bit of hesitation. I’ll be getting my ticket and ensuring I’m there and hopefully catch the whole set next time.
Just to add my own bit of text to this one as I saw some of the gig that Ross didn’t, around taking photos of both bands.
Beasts were… well, they were there. They got a good response from the crowd, but with the exception of one song (the second last) which brought to mind a fast-paced track in the style of Ash they really just didn’t click for me. Maybe I need to hear their recorded output, but although they looked good on the stage the songs just didn’t get me going.
For the headliners, I was way off stage left making sure my eldest (budding gig photographer Ellissa) enjoyed herself without getting squished. Ross was plumb centre under the glitterball and definitely got better sound than we did. Having said that it was still better than the muddy mess at the QMU and the utter shambles that someone at a sound desk tried to pass off as acceptable at the Hydro when ToaD opened for BSC. I could actually hear most of Tyler’s lyrics, for a start.
The band were great, covered a wide variety of their songs, ensured the crowd were pumping and hinted that they may be back in Autumn. Sweet.