LIVE: ROAM / WSTR / Stand Atlantic @ The Key Club, Leeds

By Tom Walsh

It may be freezing outside but in the basement of a Yorkshire shopping centre there’s a party ready to warm the cockles of your heart. Bring your dancing shoes because we’ve got an evening in store that’s dripping in pop punk positivity, with three emerging stars of the scene laying down their personal markers.

As we live in a world where something disastrous happens on a seemingly daily basis, the feel good escapism of a trio of bouncing pop punk bands is a blessing. Tonight’s entertainment is headlined by the burgeoning ROAM – an Eastbourne quintet with a growing reputation.

But before they lay a glove on proceedings, it’s the task of Australian (and don’t worry, we’re reminded of this fact numerous times over the next couple of hours) three-piece Stand Atlantic to open up the show. While the following bands keep repeating how many miles the trio have travelled to be here, they are far from the novelty act.

Thrashing through tracks from their effortlessly listenable ‘Sidewinder’ EP, front woman Bonnie Fraser’s vocals sound huge in such small surroundings. Filled with everything we love about pop punk, those intimate lyrics, that textbook breakdown and the epic chorus, it’s a strong start from the Sydney band (they’re from Australia, you know?).

Hot on the heels of Stand Atlantic are Liverpudlians WSTR who are here to lay the proverbial waste on the enlarging crowd. From the first chord and the first squeal from the lips of front man Sammy Clifford, there is chaos on the floor, with stage divers taking flight and an audience hanging on every word.

WSTR have generated an incredibly enthusiastic following as they oblige Clifford’s continual requests to “raise the roof”. Like Stand Atlantic, they create a full sound that engulfs the basement, rattling through tracks from debut album ‘Red, Green or Inbetween’ with the crowd popping on huge tracks such as ‘Featherweight’ and the excellently named ‘Gobshite’. They leave headliners ROAM with a tough act to follow.

There’s no need to worry as the five-piece have no intention of slowing this party down. ROAM have been growing in notoriety since forming in 2012, and with a US tour supporting New Found Glory successfully stored as the feather in their cap, they have their sights firmly set on taking the world in the new year.

Akin to messrs (and influences) Set Your Goals, they manage to easily blend the two vocal styles of duel singers Alex Costello and Alex Adam. Their set showcases tracks from their recent second album ‘Great Heights & Nosedives’ with lead single ‘Playing Fiction’ ensuring this evening of fun is not going anywhere.

There is a pause with the ballad of ‘Tracks’, before we’re back in to hit after hit of pop punk love. Their star on the scene will no doubt be burning a little brighter as we enter in 2018, and when everything seems really rubbish, this positivity is pretty nice, isn’t it?