First off, apologies to local band WRTHLSS who we missed due to the early doors that we weren’t expecting, and also that we’d otherwise not have had any food before the show! By the time Hans and I climbed the (many) stairs to the aptly-named Attic, Weatherstate were well underway and the small but energetic crowd were (in the local vernacular) “gi’in it laldy”.
All the way from the south coast, like tonight’s headliners, the four-piece powered through a short set barely taking a breath between songs. The audience were very much up for them including a couple who most definitely knew the words. As a newcomer to the band I was pretty impressed. They seemed a little formulaic, but had the right things in the right places for a pop-punk band and they left the stage sweating so they definitely put in a good shift!
Forever Came Calling were represented by one member of their band, frontman Joe Candelaria – a man of large proportions, required to contain the huge lungs and pipework needed to throw out his remarkable voice. Despite his airline’s best efforts to sabotage his acoustic set (they trashed his guitar), The Bottom Line gave him a loaner and he made good use of it. Playing an acoustic set between two plugged sessions is no easy task, especially when you have an audience on a high from the last band and bouncing for the next one. Joe handled things with ease, coming across as a damn nice guy with a great sense of humour as well as a decent collection of material. His between-song banter was genuine and funny, and the songs were great.
After the introduction of a couple of inflatable palm trees, The Bottom Line bounced on stage and led a 45-minute party demonstrating why they’re such a highly-rated band within the pop-punk scene in the UK. Talking to them before the gig, they said that they watched the larger bands they’d supported to see how they could improve their own set and this homework has paid off. Two large boxes allowed the three guys at the front to pop up and down over the heads of the audience – a small thing that makes a huge difference. Much bouncing (mainly from Tom), and some good chat always help, as did chucking one of the palm trees into the pit. It was, of course, returned unharmed!
Cal was struggling with his voice… apparently. He’d sat out our interview earlier to rest it and did tell the audience from time to time that he was struggling, but honestly he pulled it out of the hat. With the help of the other band members to give his vocals a boost you honestly couldn’t tell.
The set consisted of the entirety of the band’s new album No Vacation – not in order – with the addition of “Insecure” and “I Still Hate You”. I’m not familiar with their material and Hans isn’t a fan of pop-punk on the whole, but we agreed on one thing and that is that the set improved as it progressed. I think it was mainly down to the order of the songs. The hookier, bouncier more fun numbers were loaded towards the second half, giving the band a chance to warm the audience up before really hitting the fun stuff. Hell, they even managed a “which side of the room can sing the loudest” section which people joined in with. Doing this to an audience of hundreds or thousands is one thing. To make this work with maybe 50 people is far more difficult and says a lot about how wrapped up in the show the attendees were.
On a final note, credit must go to the young lady who was manning (is that the right verb?) the sound desk. Hopping between plugged to acoustic and back again in a small venue must be a challenge. Where (too) many sound techs would follow “route 11 on all dials”, she nailed the acoustics and every band really got the most from the small room. Thank you!
Photos by Iain Purdie