Kids In Glass Houses – Sheffield O2 Academy

By paul

I’ve never been to the O2 Academy in Sheffield before, but it’s very easy to find and actually has a NCP car park below it, making it ideal to get in and out. You could actually hear the bands pretty clearly from my car, so if you’re cheap and fancy listening to some decent music… The venue itself is one of the most air-conditioned I’ve ever been in. I guess the Academies are all like for like really, but there are plenty of bars and plenty of room to get a good view regardless of where you are standing. I guess it helps being 6ft 5ins tall too.

YOU AND WHAT ARMY look like mid-90s Faith No More and sound a bit like Enter Shikari. I only caught two songs but they look unlikely heroes; the singer has long hair that goes down to his waist and he looks like the geeky, stoner kid from school who everyone kinda secretly liked but didn’t really want to be associated with if they wanted to be popular. It’s an energetic and interesting, some may even say vibrant, performance and judging by the swarm of pre-teens desperate for a picture after the set, it struck a chord with the kids in the crowd too. The jaded journo in me has seen and heard this kind of thing a million times before and while it’s not bad, per se, it’s generic and fashionable, even if it’s dressed up as anti-fashion. They’ll probably sell bucketloads until the next trend comes
along, you watch.

At least they’re better than the abomination they call BOYS LIKE GIRLS. I’ll hold my hand up and admit ‘The Great Escape’ is a great pop song, but the set focuses almost solely on new tracks from their rather fruity new album. If you’ve not read my review of that yet, do so, because it will set the scene for 30 minutes of infuriatingly rubbish “entertainment” by a group of men in their mid-20s who sprinkled the ‘f’ word liberally like it was a competition of who could say it the most. Don’t get me wrong, I swear with the best of them. But when you say ‘Kids In Glass Houses‘ and use the ‘f’ word twice, and repeatedly do it, I’d say you begin to lose the effect. Throw in a singer who can’t sing, prances about on stage like the re-incarnation of Christ and a backing band of poseurs who literally do nothing but stand there/stand on a monitor and they’re just bland, annoying and quite frankly rubbish. If this is the state of 21st Century pop-punk thank God I’m leaving it behind.

A couple of pointers about KIDS IN GLASS HOUSES:

1) They now sound absolutely enormous
2) Their stage set looks great (nice velvet curtain)
3) Aled always seems to wear nice shoes on stage

Any regular PT reader will know I’m an avid KIGH fan and so I’ll try and review this, incidentally my last official PT engagement, objectively. I was gutted I thought I would miss the tour due to other commitments, so was delighted when the band hooked me up at very short notice. ‘Dirt’ is a fantastic album, a step up from ‘Smart Casual’ in every way, and their dedication and commitment to getting on the road has made them an act to be reckoned with in a live setting. Opening with ‘Sunshinethe first thing you notice is how massive the band sound and how at ease they are on stage.

I actually felt Aled’s vocals were a bit off, maybe a bit muddy in the mix, on that first track, but these are quickly ironed out. Kids are at their best when they put their foot to the floor and the likes of ‘Artbreaker’ and ‘Fisticuffs’ spark mini-pits and a very small wave of crowdsurfers. But it’s the on-stage energy that sets them apart from most UK bands – they’ve taken the performance level up several notches every time I’ve see them and they’re now on a par with the best of them, with the songs to match too. The singles are all present and correct, Aled gets the kids to sing along in various places and there’s a genuine love and interaction between band and fans. You watch Boys Like Girls talk to the fans with the usual fake American ‘this is the best night of the tour, Sheffield’ schtick that they trot out every night. But there’s a genuine warmth with Kids In Glass Houses like they actually, honestly mean it.

The band close with ‘Matters At All’ which sparks a mini riot before the kids rush out the door to undoubtedly meet their 11pm schoolnight curfew. As Aled sings the final lines I can’t help but be sucked in by their poignancy – as someone writing their final live review after 11 years the line ‘all these things that you live to leave behind’ and the ‘goodnight’ ending seem awfully apt. To end with an horrific KIGH related pun, the band are at the top of their game. But you get the feeling the best is yet to come…