We’re barely into 2016 and already bands are making their way through the UK to ply their trade of entertaining people for a few hours at the end of the day. Only a couple of days into a lengthy tour, tonight, Alien Ant Farm are in Glasgow’s Garage alongside InMe and The Dirty Youth, both of whom have recently played Glasgow together.
I know one Alien Ant Farm song and it’s a cover (yes, it’s that one) and nothing of InMe. So I’ll happily admit I was here just to see The Dirty Youth. Having discovered them supporting Fozzy last year in the same venue, this time they were up first to a slightly emptier room than last time. However, there was no sign of that deterring them as they blasted through a packed but short set from their two albums on a slightly cramped stage for the five of them with frontwoman Danni Monroe bumping into guitarist Luke Padfield on one occasion as she jumped around the stage.
Not many people had seen them before in Glasgow as Danni Monroe asked who had seen them before and three people cheered. Given the reception they got, I’d be willing to bet they left the stage with a few more fans, the person next to me disappearing after their set and returning with their latest album, Gold Dust, in his hands. With relentless touring during the intervening month since having last personally seen them, they’ve tightened up what was already a great live show, hammering through tracks like “Rise Up”, “Fight”, “The One”, “I’m Not Listening to You” and “Darkest Day”.
With the dual guitars of the afore-mentioned Luke Padfield and Matt Bond, both of them managed to weave around each other and in a live setting, most of the pop gloss is stripped back for a rawer, edgier sound and it works to their advantage. However, due to the place not being as full as last time and me being stage right and at the barrier, the acoustics weren’t at their finest. The Garage can be a bit hit or miss anyway but I had to really pay attention to catch Leon Watkins’ driving bass lines which is a damn shame given he’s a great bass player. Danni Monroe is a great singer and knows how to work a crowd as she did so last night but her vocals at times felt muffled and as if she was singing into a tin can rather than her bright golden microphone.
A too short set which didn’t do a great band justice, I can’t wait to see them again and given how often they tour, I don’t think it’ll be too long. A quick changeover and it was time for InMe and it was clear there was quite a few fans there for them. Much like when I saw Snakecharmer a couple of months back, they fit into that category of being brilliant at what they do but what they do isn’t for me.
It wasn’t bad by any stretch and it managed to hold my attention. I wouldn’t actively go to their shows but if they were supporting another band I was there for, I’d happily show up to watch them. Getting a far lengthier slot than The Dirty Youth, they rattled through a career-spanning set with frontman Dave McPherson acknowledging it’s a year of anniversaries for the band.
Lastly, the headliners. What I discovered when writing the review today was the main part of the set (and not mentioned at all during the set) was the band were playing their ANThology album in its entirety. The encore brought a couple of other songs and of course, their cover of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”. Again, Alien Ant Farm aren’t a bad live band, I’ve seen far worse. I didn’t reach for my phone to check the time or whine about it on social media. But it’s just not my thing. However, they had the crowd fully energised and I can never fault that, regardless of the band. Except maybe Bring Me the Horizon because they’re awful. They were great at keeping the crowd engaged, even during jokes from Dryden Mitchell about circumcising his children (yes, that was a thing that happened).
Regardless of going to a gig to watch an opening band play a handful of songs, I’ve had far worse nights. But with that being said, I’m more eager now for a headline tour from The Dirty Youth than I was before.