Lower Than Atlantis at The Roundhouse
Christmas is a traditional time for giving, so hats off to Lower Than Atlantis for giving us a bill with not just one, but four great bands at the Roundhouse tonight. It helped that there was plenty of Christmas cheer in the room thanks to the excellent craft beer stand, but nonetheless the crowd seemed to really enjoy the mix of bands and styles all topped off with a top notch set from LTA.
Starting off the evening were Black Foxxes who gave us a selection of songs from their grungy and emotion driven debut EP Pines, including the really strong Could Have Been a Man. Whilst it was a short set, they had time to get some interaction with the crowd and certainly went down well with those that had come through the doors early.
Second on the bill were As It Is, who for me (after LTA) were the band of the night. A photographers dream, their lead vocalist Patty Walters bounded onstage and immediately launched into a full on acrobatic showman routine that Dave Lee Roth would have been proud of. Despite professing to being supremely nervous it didn’t show it as they went through their punk influenced set, even getting a couple of crowd surfers at one stage, all pretty good for early on in the evening. But maybe that’s not surprising; although the band is mostly from Brighton, Patty hails from the US and they’ve got a real sense of Blink 182 and Green Day about then especially in songs like Dial Tone and Can’t Save Myself.
Next up were Moose Blood who, after the energy of As It Is, had a tough act to follow. Eddy Brewerton certainly wasn’t as mobile around the stage as Patty, but what they lacked in aerial antics, they made up in their song craft. They also went for the hoodie rock look , with both lead singer Eddy and bass player Kyle being partly concealed, a slightly menacing image but a challenge to photograph! Much more mainstream and more in the vein of LTA, they have a quality repertoire of songs, particularly in their two openers Bukowski and Swim Down and in their final track of the set, Boston. I’d be really surprised if Moose Blood didn’t feature highly at some of this summers festivals.
And then it was time for the headliners, Lower Than Atlantis, and you could sense the excitement building almost as soon as Moose Blood left the stage. However, things took a slightly unusual turn as the front curtain proved extremely reluctant to unfurl properly. The stage crew were extremely persistent and eventually succeeded thanks to the use of a long ladder although I thought they might give up long before that. However as soon as LTA hit the stage, the reason for their persistence was obvious as the curtain proved the medium onto which the band were gloriously backlit for the start of the opening number and massive hit Get Over It.
It’s a brave choice to start with such a big song but it set the scene well and they kept the moment up into Criminal and Emily all from their latest eponymous album, with Mike Duce and Ben Samson spending plenty of time stage front on the monitors engaging with the crowd. We were also treated to a really well designed and synced up light show which lit up the inside of the Roundhouse rather aptly like a Christmas tree.
The latest album actually formed the majority of the first part of the set, and it wasn’t until quite well in that we were treated to some of the older material including Beech Like the Tree and (Motor) Way of Life both from the World Record album. The good thing is that all of the older material still sounds really fresh and raw and fitted in well to the set. The downside was that there wasn’t more of it, and there wasn’t anything from their debut Far Q album, which is bit of a shame as I really loved the title track from that album! That said there was time for a nice acoustic version of Deadliest Catch before an encore with English Kids in America and the truly anthemic Here We Go, complete with its Faith No More-esque riff.
So all in all a great night, with a real contrast of energy and styles; if all Christmas presents were as good as this, life would be whole a lot better. Thanks lads!
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Review by Andy Sampson
Lower Than Atlantis at The Roundhouse on Monday 14th December.
Andy has his own website of music photography right here: www.soundritualphotos.co.uk