Me Vs Hero + ROAM – Live @ Sound Control
aaamusic | On 25, Sep 2014
Friday 19th September, Manchester
Pop punk, as a genre, has grown exponentially since the pioneers of its early inception in the 1970s, with added dashes of abrasiveness and lighter upbeat tones; the genre has never quite left our speakers, but it has changed a lot. Lately, the genre has gone through what could be described as its own question of direction – bands like Daggermouth, who embellished a sound of pop punk that would later transform the genre to a heavier side of the spectrum, and bands like A Day To Remember and Four Year Strong have arguably taken it to the penultimate level. The genre has a glass ceiling, in that it has become somewhat predictable, but this not necessarily a band thing, because the genre still has new acts coming through, and fans new and old remain interested – but with some bands having grown out of the genre and moved on – the biggest examples being Fall Out Boy and blink-182 – what does pop punk today have to offer, not to just the younger crowds, but also the older fans among us?
The first band on tonight, Landmarks, are locals to this city and a band that are fairly new to this crowd and still had a long way to go, as evident in the awkwardness of the lead singer’s stage presence. Admirably, this did not deter them and rightly so; a band with a means to see its music heard should strive to do just that. Unfortunately, the band were plagued by the infamous poor sound that so many support bands have to deal with, which didn’t give their songs that extra lift that they needed, but in the midst of what was audible, their sound was as so interesting as it could be. It’s that issue of the glass ceiling: there are clear influences laden in the majority (if not all) of their songs, and yes, for a band to grow, they will be no doubt be influenced by their peers, but no band can or should act on the strength of what has come before them. This was the band’s crutch, but one that, with time, they should be able to grow out of and find their own unique sound.
Second up tonight was ROAM, a band who have grown quite rapidly in a short space of time and, to their credit, the acclaim they’ve already received has been for good reasons. The band stormed the stage with a burst of energy, which was a first for the night, but this was partly down to the crowd, who from the get-go were charged to maximum power; like a cannonball, the band and crowd set off! What was most interesting to watch was the infectiousness of the band’s singer, who had an abundance of energy and was unrelenting throughout their performance. This set a good precedent for the band, encapsulating the overall embodiment of what pop punk is.
Finally, we had Me Vs Hero, a band who have seen and done a lot, and it’s startlingly obvious tonight how well loved they are: every song goes off like a bomb. On face value though, despite the energy between the band and crowd, their sound was at least in some regards like a one trick pony. A staple of the “pop punk” sound it may be, but this listener could not ignore feeling worn-out by this sound, whether it’s the genre or how the band executed this style. As much as the word “rejuvenation” feels cringe-worthy to utter, many genres – pop, world, dance, hip hop and grunge – have recently undergone, by all accounts, growth; a rejuvenation of sorts has taken place. Pop punk has no doubt seen changes similar to the ones expressed above, but I guess I don’t feel as much as I used in terms of excitement for this music; the energy is key to this genre and you can’t not be drawn into that, but, for me, if the music is not able to stand alone then that’s where the interest starts to whither.
Review + Photos: Joe Sheridan