Taking Back Sunday – Brixton Academy, London

By paul

Plus Underoath, Thursday, Escape the Fate, Innerpartysystem
Sunday 19th April 2009
Brixton Academy

Over the past half decade, The Festival Which Doesn?t Deserve A Name (although from here on out I will be referring to as ?Dave?) has become something of a joke in the minds of fans, bands and industry folk alike. In what can only be viewed as a last-ditch attempt by organisers to win some sort of public support, ?Dave? was scaled down for 2009 with fewer bands gracing just a single stage, and at substantially smaller venues than previous years.

The result? Cheaper ticket prices, fewer shit bands to endure before the headline act and, most importantly, no one collapsing from dehydration as a result of having to queue for half the day to get a glass of water. Still, they couldn?t get everything right. Due to the festival falling on a day when the capital?s busiest tube line was 100% completely fucking closed, Vesaemerge and Wholewheatbread have been spared the wrath of a Punktastic.com review. Sorry folks.

Right, playground politics over, on with the bands.

By the time I arrive at the venue, Innerpartysystem are doing a good job of reminding everyone that a) keyboards still have a place in modern rock music and b) it?s never too early in the day for strobe lighting. The foursome make use of every inch of the stage and sound system (they sound biblically huge inside the Academy) and although they could still be considered a sore thumb on the line up, their set was one of the slickest of the day.

Unfortunately, great disappointment tends to follow great satisfaction, and Sunday?s particular let-down came courtesy of Escape The Fate. I have personally been waiting for ETF to hit these shores since ?Dying is Your Latest Fashion? first came out but after this set, I honestly hope they don?t bother getting on a London-bound airliner ever again. God Awful.

Thursday manage to bring things back up to speed with a greatest-hits set tailored for the older fans. They play admirably, despite a reshuffled line up due to illness, and the likes of ?Cross Out The Eyes? and ?Jet Black New Year? sound as enormous and raucous as they?ve ever done. Hands in the air and sing it with me now, ?Ten seconds left until midnight….?

Six albums and the crustier side of a decade into their career, Underoath have the experience and the credibility to justify their high placement on the line-up, with the explosion of human bodies somewhere down front being sheer testament to that when they hit the stage. With a back catalogue as long as the Magna Carta, Spencer Chamberlain and Co. must have a hard time choosing what to play, but every song goes down a treat, with ?Writing on the Walls? garnering the biggest (or should that be bloodiest?) reaction of the night. Underoath have always had a reputation for greatness in a live setting, and their performance here will do nothing to shake that.

Which leads us smoothly onto Taking Back Sunday ? a band that one wouldn?t exactly call consistent. However, that only makes it all the more enjoyable when they do get their shit together, and yes, tonight even Adam is hitting the right notes. I?ve always admired the fact that TBS don?t turn their backs on their back-catalogue and while new track ?Sink Into Me? acts as a mouth-watering teaser for the upcoming record, it?s all the old favourites that make this set a runaway success. Here?s to hoping for a full tour when ?New Again? drops this summer, but in the meantime, we?ll be seeing you down the front at Sonisphere……

Andy R