REVIEW: Lower Than Atlantis at the O2 Academy Newcastle

After speaking to Mike Duce – the lead singer of Lower Than Atlantis – in a phone interview a few weeks previously, we walked into the venue feeling very hyped up: he had told us that he was expecting the ‘Safe In Sound’ tour to feature the best shows they had ever played, so we had very high expectations. However, for us this show was a little disappointing.

Australian post-hardcore band ‘Hands Like Houses’ set the gig off to a fantastic start; their sound can be described as a mash-up of synth melodies, harmonic pop-punk vocals, signature thrash guitars and growling heavy rock bass-lines, altogether creating a fantastic energy. The lead singers voice demonstrated an incredibly diverse range, he hithigh notes as well as nailing heavy screaming on songs such as ‘New Romantics’. Their performance was smooth and professional as they commanded the stage with remarkable ease. On reflection, Hands Like Houses were definitely the highlight of the gig for us, and we’ve been listening to them on repeat ever since!

Young Guns then took to the stage; we were really looking forward to their set as previous performances have impressed us. However, this particular show was a bit of a let-down, Gustav Wood’s vocal performance struck us as a little lazy as he failed to sing many of the high notes. The atmosphere at this point was also noticeably flat; despite repeated attempts to hype the crowd up – everybody except the front row were completely motionless. Perhaps this was due to Young Guns’ set being almost entirely composed of new songs, it wasn’t until the penultimate song of the set – fan-favourite ‘Bones’ one of their older songs – that Gustav Wood finally achieved some of the audience participation that he had been working for all evening. Although we were a little disheartened by the lack of atmosphere during this part of the gig, we shrugged it off and told ourselves that it would improve when the headliners hit the stage.

Unfortunately, things did not get much better from there on out. Lower Than Atlantis did not make an appearance until over an hour after Young Guns had finished their set, and by the time they came on stage, the crowd had become very restless. This all seemed to melt away when LTA finally stormed on-stage amid unique, artsy visuals. They immediately launched into the lead single from their new album, “Had Enough.” The punchy guitar rhythms and infectious lyrics caused an eruption of excitement within the crowd, and after a heart-felt apology in which Duce blamed the painfully long wait for the set on “technical problems or some shit”, the band launched into some older songs. This included “Ain’t No Friend” – which seemed to please the crowd with its upbeat, electronic vibes as did the fun, pop-punk tune “Emily.” Unfortunately, we had to leave the gig early in order to catch the last bus home, so missed most of LTA’s set. However, from what we saw the set had a relaxed vibe, and the band still appeared to be enjoying every single bit of their biggest tour to date.

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