Senses Fail – London Camden Underworld

By paul

Senses Fail + The Sleeping
Carling Academy Islington
10th February 2005.

I hate the Islington Academy. It’s in the most awkward part of London to reach, stuffed beneath a shopping complex that’s as sterile as the newly renovated venue itself. Regardless, it’s the venue for tonight’s show – the last Senses Fail will play in the UK before hitting up the Give it A Name Festival in the Spring, along with their friends in The Sleeping, who are first to grace the stage tonight.

Fortunately though, wherever they may be booked to play, The Sleeping make the absolute best of it, and put together a truly energetic and sincere set that ends up being a hell of a lot of fun. Frontman Doug Robinson is nothing short of electric as he bounds back and forth in front of many adoring fans, despite suffering from a mild case of the flu.

Opening with ‘Don’t Hold Back’, a furious post-hardcore extravaganza taken from the band’s second album ‘Questions and Answers’, these four New Yorkers set the tone for the remainder of their thirty-minute set. It’s clear that there are a hell of a lot of people here to see the support act exclusively, with a chorus of hundreds helping Doug out where his flu-stricken voice fails.
Elsewhere, ‘Heartbeatz’ goes down an absolute treat, which allows us to see exactly how talented the band’s drummer, Joseph Zizzo is. It’s hard not to love this band tonight, as they show us exactly how much fun a live band can be. Ending on ‘Loud and Clear’, they leave the stage making sure that they are just that. Watch out for this band in 2007, because they are going to be absolutely everywhere.

Sadly, Senses Fail pale in comparison to their support act. As dedicated a fanbase they may have, there’s still no denying that Buddy Nielson suffers from a severe case of ‘Adam Lazarra Syndrome’. To be quite frank, he just cannot pull of his vocals in a live setting. Opening with ‘The Rapture’, the band hit the stage with an ear-splitting cheer from the crowd, yet from the off it’s hard not to cringe when Buddy opens his mouth. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big Senses Fail fan, and I love ‘Still Searching’. While I gave them the benefit of the doubt when they played The Brighton Centre late last year, it’s hard to ignore their faults a second time around. However, ‘Calling All Cars’ still goes down a storm, and it becomes the most bearable tune in their set, purely because Buddy’s vocals are drowned out by an over-excited crowd.
It’s always a shame when a headline act is completely shown up by their support, but it does happen, and tonight was a perfect example of this. While Senses Fail fans may be oblivious to their idols’ shortcomings, they will at least have left London tonight knowing that The Sleeping are absolutely excellent, and well worth telling their friends about.

Andy R