A Day To Remember at O2 Academy, Newcastle on 23rd November 2014

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There’s a chill in the air on Newgate Street tonight as the damp pavements are littered with tiny feet. Maybe I’m just getting old but it seems to me that attendee’s for gigs are getting younger and younger, colourful hairstyles and creative wardrobe choices withstanding, I’m sure that the same was probably said when the Beatles played this venue in 1964.

I’d scarcely even heard of ADTR before tonight’s performance, if truth is told, but I looked to be alone in that regard as the sold out venue reflected. Hailing from Florida, the group have released no less than five albums since 2005, their latest – 2013’s ‘Common Courtesy’ – taking top spot on the UK’s Rock & Metal album charts. Support comes from English post hardcore band Lower than Atlantis, whom, following on from the rather successful release of their latest self titled record also thrilled Newcastle by very recently performing in the local HMV store.

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LTA are enjoying tonight, and Mike Duce is in fine form; some artists might take their foot off the pedal in this situation – after all, the speed at which tickets sold out for this performance and their general demand even outside the venue on the night – suggests that this really is ADTR’s audience. But if there’s one thing these Watford boys understand it’s the opportunity for a little marketing, a little consumer research if you like, songs like ‘Here We Go’ and ‘English Kids in America’ might be alien to some of the assembled tonight, but they certainly won’t be for long.

In-between support and main act I hear someone comment that ADTR have been rumoured to be just under the headline acts on the main stage at Download 2015. A quick internet search (a few days removed from this “little birdie” and his comments) reveal that ADTR are indeed sandwiched between Faith No More and Marilyn Manson on Download’s Saturday. Asides from the obvious honour of this performance it points to the quality and craft with which these men take their music. They don’t just award that kind of spot to any band.

A Day to Remember isn’t just any band. From the moment that front man Jeremy McKinnon takes to the stage there is a scream of euphoria – this is the cue that these fans have waited for – their voices unilateral in appreciation for what they’re witnessing. Guitarist Kevin Skaff seamlessly blends together what appear, on paper, to be the most complex of melodies. His work is nothing short of mesmerizing and alongside the solid rhythm section of “Joshua & Alex” there’s little to stop this band from giving the assembled masses the best night of their lives.

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The set list is varied and concise. Tracks like tonight’s opener ‘The Downfall of Us All’ (from 2009’s ‘Homesick’) feel as connected as the right Lego brick piece next to ‘2nd Sucks’ (from the follow up to the aforementioned, 2010’s ‘What Separates Me From You). Some of the tracks have really absurd quotations, none more so than ‘I’m Made of Wax Larry, What are you Made Of?’ (Again, from Homesick) which is actually a quote from the film Night at the Museum. You wonder just where the inspiration comes from. My personal favourite, and a much more recent track, ‘Sometimes You’re the Hammer, Sometimes you’re the Nail’ gets an airing right before tonight’s encore; somewhat appropriately given its stature.

When all is said and done, ‘The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle’ finishes our night, and really captures this band more than words can say. They’re playful, they’re fun and sometimes they’re absolutely quirky. But given they have talent (and youth) on their side; I can’t imagine a world without ADTR for a very long time.

Which is great – because they’re also very entertaining!

Reviewer: Wayne Madden
Photographer: Graeme Baty

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