LIVE: Citizen, Diamond Youth, Headroom @ The Borderline

By James Fox

Citizen have seen their fanbase soar over the past year or so and it’s generally agreed that it’s down to the incredible set of songs found on their debut album ‘Youth’, released last year on the consistently brilliant Run For Cover records. It’s taken them to a lot of new places touring-wise, but crossing the Atlantic for the first time must be a big milestone in their minds. Expectations are high in tonight’s sold out room, but there are two other great offerings that prefix their performance.

Headroom open the show by warming up the mainly younger audience, most of whom were probably unaware of them until tonight. The newer songs shine through as the stronger jams, particularly ‘Please’, lead track from their upcoming second EP ‘Carry Me Away’. Giving that same warm and welcoming crowd a tighter offering of songs are Diamond Youth, who at times sounding like a more heartfelt QOTSA. The flamboyant vocals might not sit so well with the audience, but they still lap it up in an encouragingly open-minded fashion.


Opening with slower versions of ‘Roam The Room’ and ‘Drown’, Citizen see the Borderline stage transformed into a cascading chaos of bodies lunging off it, with polite frontman Mat Kerekes doing his best to not get caught in the traffic. He tells of how great it is to feel this welcomed so far away from home, with it not just being the first time here for them, but the first time flying for some members of the band too. On a lot of songs he’s met with a wall of out stretched hands from fans singing back at him – something the band have had to get used at the level they’ve managed to reach. The rest of the band sound killer, particularly the glistening sounds coming from the guitar of Nick Hamm, a key creative driving force of the band.

There are a few more cuts from the ’Young States’ EP, plus the less familiar ‘Cicuta’. It’s the last five back-to-back songs of their set however that matter most. Anyone walking in at this point may have already missed a great performance, but over the next 20 minutes they’ll witness why this band have been receiving the amount of attention they have – the absolute highlights from ‘Youth’. It’s hard to distinguish which of these could be the fan favourite, they all could be. It might be ‘Sleep’, met with one of the biggest cheers of the night before delicately transitioning into another contender – the affecting drama of ‘How Does It Feel’. Maybe it’s ‘The Night I Drove Alone’, which sees Kerekes’ desperate lyrics blasted back at him alongside even more dives. ‘Speaking With A Ghost’ pushes straight on through to the undeniable hooks of ‘The Summer’, rounding their set off with everything the crowd wanted. Or at least nearly. The band return for an unplanned encore of ‘I’m Sick Of Waiting’ after audience demand, showing how they’re still not quite used to the love they’re getting. It really seems that on their current trajectory that that love is only going to grow further.

James Fox