Fightstar Light Up Wembley Arena For One Night Only!

A cold night in London saw elder emos come out in their droves to catch early 2000s alt-rockers Fightstar, celebrating their 20th anniversary by playing to a sold-out crowd at Wembley Arena. The quartet, formed of Charlie Simpson and Alex Westaway on vocals and guitars, bassist Dan Haigh and drummer Omar Abidi, came together in 2003 as Simpson was riding high on the success of pop band Busted.

Fightstar @ Wembley Arena

Fightstar @ Wembley Arena (Nick Allan)
Fightstar @ Wembley Arena (Nick Allan)

And while that group disbanded in 2005, Fightstar went on to put out three LPs, culminating with 2009’s Be Human, before themselves going on hiatus. 2015’s Behind The Devil’s Back became their final LP to date with Simpson re-joining Busted. So tonight’s one-off celebration of the band, their first live date in over eight years, was always going to be a treat for fans!

Opening up the night was Liverpool metalcore band Loathe. After witnessing a couple of people on the barrier with Loathe t-shirts, we figured that they were very much going to be welcomed and we were not wrong. The mysterious backlit nature of the band’s production naturally pulls your focus and immerses you in the music. With the dual vocals switching between screaming and clean, you cannot unsee the similarities between these and our headliners, but they were certainly a great band to warm up the crowd.

  • Loath @ Wembley Arena
  • Loath @ Wembley Arena
  • Loath @ Wembley Arena
  • Loath @ Wembley Arena
  • Loath @ Wembley Arena
  • Loath @ Wembley Arena

Next up were Scottish rockers Twin Atlantic, arguably the lightest band on the bill but known for their sing-along bangers, and we were not disappointed. Sam McTrusty commanded the London crowd, especially when the hit song Make A Beast Of Myself was played, having the Wembley Arena choir out in force.

  • Twin Atlantic @ Wembley Arena
  • Twin Atlantic @ Wembley Arena
  • Twin Atlantic @ Wembley Arena
  • Twin Atlantic @ Wembley Arena
  • Twin Atlantic @ Wembley Arena
  • Twin Atlantic @ Wembley Arena
  • Twin Atlantic @ Wembley Arena
  • Twin Atlantic @ Wembley Arena
  • Twin Atlantic @ Wembley Arena
  • Twin Atlantic @ Wembley Arena
  • Twin Atlantic @ Wembley Arena

As the clock struck 9:15 pm and Vangelis’ haunting theme from Blade Runner came on over the PA – the film clearly an influence for the group, Charlie and the boys walked onto the stage, opening with hit track Paint Your Target from 2005’s Grand Unification. The quartet were in fine form and brought along all the production bells and whistles required to accentuate an arena rock show, as pyro went off throughout the night. The band has not played together since 2015, and you couldn’t tell for a second that for nearly a decade they had not been a gigging band. They were tight and had the arena eating out of the palm of their hand. Every person was screaming the words right back at them. “If you told us twenty years ago that we’d end up headlining in this venue, we wouldn’t have believed you” Simpson shares with his audience, beaming.

And it was truly a family affair, with Charlie’s older brother Will Simpson joining the group on guitar throughout the night, the likes of Tannhäuser Gate, Animal and Sink With The Snakes given an additional lift. And with a parting promise from Simpson of “See you next time!”, I truly hope this isn’t the last gig we see of Fightstar and that this is only the start of their world domination. Dare I say… a new album?

Fightstar played:

Paint Your Target
Wate A Moment
Build An Army
Tannhäuser Gate
Sleep Well Tonight
Grand Unification, Part I
Lost Like Tears In The Rain
War Machine
Animal
Hazy Eyes
Sink With The Snakes
Behind The Devil’s Back
Hurt (Nine Inch Nails cover)
Until Then
Deathcar
Mono

Encore:
Amethyst
Palahniuk’s Laughter

  • Fightstar @ Wembley Arena
  • Fightstar @ Wembley Arena
  • Fightstar @ Wembley Arena
  • Fightstar @ Wembley Arena
  • Fightstar @ Wembley Arena
  • Fightstar @ Wembley Arena
  • Fightstar @ Wembley Arena
  • Fightstar @ Wembley Arena
  • Fightstar @ Wembley Arena
  • Fightstar @ Wembley Arena
  • Fightstar @ Wembley Arena
  • Fightstar @ Wembley Arena
  • Fightstar @ Wembley Arena
  • Fightstar @ Wembley Arena
  • Fightstar @ Wembley Arena
  • Fightstar @ Wembley Arena
  • Fightstar @ Wembley Arena
  • Fightstar @ Wembley Arena
  • Fightstar @ Wembley Arena
  • Fightstar @ Wembley Arena
  • Fightstar @ Wembley Arena
  • Fightstar @ Wembley Arena
  • Fightstar @ Wembley Arena

Live review & photography of Fightstar at Wembley Arena on 21st March 2024 by Nick Allan.

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