Taking Back Sunday – Camden Underworld

By paul

Heaven Club, London (not the Underworld, as above)
4th August 2009

Tonight was initially intended to be an ?intimate? Taking Back Sunday experience at The Barfly, but due to that horrible clichโ€š of popular demand, we find ourselves at London?s 800-capacity Heaven club instead. That?s no bother to me (Charing Cross is a damn sight easier to get to than Camden for us Brightonians), but I imagine the handful of fans who were expecting something a tad more intimate would have been at least a little bit miffed.

If that was the case then, they hid it well, because by the time Adam Lazzara swaggers onto the stage and the band kick into ?What It Feels Like To Be A Ghost?, there?s not a single member of the room who isn?t completely absorbed. Despite Adam suffering a few sound difficulties to start with, it isn?t long before it?s obvious that this band are tighter than they have ever been in their career. I?ll be the first to admit I?ve seen TBS play some absolute shockers in their time, but this is certainly not one of them. New boy Matt Fazzi slots into the line-up like family, and his vocals additions to likes of ?Timberwolves in New Jersey? and ?Set Phasers To Stun? are infinitely clearer and more confidently sung than either one of his two predecessors.

With the band?s fourth effort, ?New Again? having dropped in the last couple of months, there?s a lot of new material here. ?Carpathia? and ?Everything Must Go? pound out across the room with incessant energy, while ?Sink Into Me? has the crowd at its rowdiest, only a few songs into the set. Whether or not you?re a fan of the new record, there?s no denying the songs pack a punch, and in a live setting the punches keep coming.

Yes, at times it?s damn frustrating that Lazzara relies on the crowd to sing more than himself, and yes, the ?old school? fans will be bitching on their message boards today about the setlist choices, but both those points somehow seem irrelevant. All that matters is that Taking Back Sunday finally seem to have found who they want to be, and with the line up they are finally comfortable with. Before the gig, bassist Matt Rubano commented to me that he believes the band are at the tightest they?ve ever been, both musically and personally. I?m inclined to agree with him.

Andy R