Taking Back Sunday – The Roundhouse, Camden

By Andy

There are some folk in this room tonight – this gigantic, rotary chasm of a room – who have been waiting 8 years to see this particular show. With their original line-up back together again, TBS have finally made it to these shores in their ?Mark I? incarnation and anticipation is understandably feverish.

First though, THE XCERTS [3/5] face a particularly painful uphill struggle to convince an almost unanimously disinterested crowd that they?re a worthwhile warm-up act on tonight?s bill. It doesn?t help their cause that The Roundhouse?s PA only seems to be running at half capacity (at best) for their set, but these three lads are troopers, and power on they do. Polite applause greets the likes of ?Do You Feel Safe? and ?Slackerpop?, but the combination of factors at hand leaves the shine on their distorted pop image looking a little dulled, even for the handful of superfans in attendance.

For those not familiar, here?s the back story: TAKING BACK SUNDAY [4.5/5] have never played the capital with their original line-up. Ever. They were scheduled to do so back in 2003 as part of a co-headline tour with Brand New but the events that transpired to John Nolan and Sean Cooper leaving the band fell mere weeks before that. The tour was cancelled and everybody was gutted. Boo fucking hoo.

Roll forward eight years, John and Sean are back in the band and as a unit, they seem to be enjoying each other?s company more than ever. Here is a band that are famously inconsistent in their live performances, yet tonight sees them pull everything out of the bag to make sure it?s a slick as hell showstopper to be engrained in the collective memory of all those present. While they do not give us a full run-down of ?Tell All Your Friends? as many had hoped, it is a set that soaks up many of that album?s favourites? from ?Bike Scene?, to ?Timberwolves In New Jersey? to yes, even ?Ghost Man On Third?. The vocal blows traded between Lazzara and Nolan feel more natural than they ever did with previous lineups and while the airings of new tracks ?El Paso? and ?Faith (When I Let You Down)? predictably see the queues at the bars swiftly forming (this is for the most part, a nostalgia trip after all), they sit well in their set positions. Elsewhere, ?Existentialism On Prom Night? comes direct from the Straylight Run back catalogue and hits the emotional jugular with brute force, proving to be the tearjerking highlight of the evening.

So was it worth the wait? Yes. Without a doubt. Taking Back Sunday are undeniably tighter than ever ? both as musicians and as friends ? and after witnessing this performance, we?d be willing to make a gamble that they?ve got another 5 albums or more left inside them. As John Nolan said to us before the show, ?It feels like everything has happened exactly as it should have?, and tonight that rings true as ever.


All photos by PENNY BENNETT. For the full gallery, click here.