The Get Up Kids – Birmingham Academy

By paul

A night after the triumphant opening night of the tour, The Get Up Kids made the trip to Birmingham for a night at The Academy. Several PT-ers, myself included, followed them. The Academy is a strange little venue; downstairs is quite a mammoth room reserved for the bigger, mainstream acts while upstairs is a side room with a stage in one corner. By the time SPYCATCHER take to the stage there’s a dribble of people in the room. When they finish, there’s an expectant throng.

Spycatcher feature members of Gallows, Haunts and Cry For Silence – except Stu Gallows is on tour with his day job so the band have a stand-in. They play a brand of throaty, driving rock with doesn’t really sound like any of their other bands. The thing is, literally no-one in the crowd gives a shit and the band play half a dozen songs to little more than polite applause. It’s not that Spycatcher are particularly bad (they’re not) but with so much expectation for the headline act, no-one’s really bothered about the warm up. Still, Spycatcher are decent on record and if the band playing after them weren’t so revered by so many, they’d maybe have got a better reaction.

When THE GET UP KIDS launched into ‘Holiday’ you’d expect the Academy to go off. But strangely the crowd were much more conservative (small ‘c’) than at the Peel. The Get Up Kids weren’t as good as the night previous, but they were still amazing. With such a fantastic back catalogue it’s easy for them to rotate the setlist and the likes of ‘Holy Roman’ and ‘Ann Arbour’ get an airing. But it’s the classics that get the best reaction. ‘Don’t Hate Me’, ‘Mass Pike’ and ‘Action and Action‘ go down so well, while even the slower songs like ‘Valentine’ inspire huge singalongs.

What impressed me most over the two gigs was the band’s enthusiasm for the whole thing. They beamed throughout, buzzing off one another. Jim and Matt in particular seemed to thrive off each other. ‘Beer For Breakfast’ seems to have been added to the setlist simply for the band’s own enjoyment judging by the smiles on their faces as they sing it. Interesting moment of the night was when the band launched, unannounced, into a brand new song that was very bass-heavy and dark but a bit quicker than anything on the last two albums. A cross between ‘On A Wire’ and ‘Four Minute Mile’, possibly. With confirmation the band are now writing new songs it will be interesting to see where they go from here.

Ultimately The Get Up Kids are a seminal band. They’ve inspired thousands and will continue to do so. As long as they play with a smile on their faces I think we’ll get a new album and further tours. And if they’re as good as this, that’s something we can all welcome.