LIVE: Title Fight / Cold World @ The Dome, London

By Joshua Wroath

Having taken a three year gap, Title Fight’s return this year with the compelling and almost dream-like ‘Hyperview’ has rightly been seen as a progressive and mature move by the band. More than just a shift in gear with regard to their musical direction, it is almost a completely different vehicle the band are driving now. The new sound and shoe-gazey feel seems like an awakening for the Pennsylvanian four piece, suggesting there is more to them then just indie-punk. The question remains though, how can the band transfer their sound from record to a live set and successfully mix in their heavier earlier material that has got them this far?

Before Title Fight can be evaluated Cold World perform and almost immediately split the crowd. The hardcore outfit get a positive reaction from a solid contingent at the front, with the beginning of each song seeing the kids go full throttle. However most of the room is perplexed by the band’s output, with a semi-circle formed for the hardcore fans to unleash their anger whilst the rest enjoy their beers at the back and wait for the headliners. This isn’t to say Cold World are bad, they do hardcore no harm, with lead singer Dan Mills stomping around convincingly and getting the crowd to sing along by dropping the mic into the pit multiple times during their set. Bassist Derek Scace plays his instrument almost like a guitar with his chord slamming being quite a sight. Altogether though, it’s clear to see the younger members of the crowd get Cold World considerably more than the slightly older members of the audience; nothing too surprising or wrong with that.

Title Fight eventually take to the stage and from the start it’s interesting to see how the set develops. Opening with ‘Murder Your Memory’, the band decide to make a subtle, calm entrance instead of a heavy ‘in-your-face’ statement. On finishing the short relaxing number, the band jump straight into ‘Shed’, finally releasing the energy of those waiting all night to see the old Title Fight. Cue endless stage diving.

It’s clear to see that most people enjoy the harder, faster Title Fight, with every song from ‘Floral Green’ or ‘Shed’ getting the most fervent receptions and best sing alongs. However it’s also fascinating to watch the band perform the older works with the sub-due energy of ‘Hyperview’ material; they seem to support each other in making every song sound stronger than on their respected records. The older songs sound incredibly tight, inch perfect. The latest songs showcase a band bravely pushing their new sound and output, without the concern of damaging their image or reputation. It’s refreshing to see a band comfortable mixing more anger/punk related material with calmer, thoughtful music. You do get a sense some members of the crowd grow tired of the gazey anthems however, and when this happens TF reignite the crowd with favourites, unleashing the double whammy of ‘Leaf’ and ‘Numb, But I Still Feel It’ – this band know what to and when.

Ending on ‘Secret Society’ the band send the crowd off in a frantic and excited manner, showing real class and a live performance template that many bands in this genre could do well to take note off. The new material may still not be to everyone’s tastes and only in time will it be seen whether Title Fights risks will be appreciated by all. But for now they are doing a damn fine job of trying to convince their fans.