Emily's Army - O2 Academy
Live Review

Emily’s Army – O2 Academy, Liverpool

I’m at the Liverpool O2 Academy today – a venue I know pretty well and have been kicked out of a few times for being too gosh darn drunk. That aside I never really harboured any resentment for the O2 Academy until today. Previously all my gig experiences at this venue have been great, I’ve seen some amazing artists here and some pretty big up and coming bands to. The sound quality is good, the staff are friendly, even the bouncers know how to have a laugh (a stern and menacing laugh but a laugh none the less). The bar prices are a little steep but hey, what do you expect, it’s a premium experience. So today when I saw that the doors where 6.30pm I thought ‘That’s early, they must want people in quick for the first support.’ I rush over to the venue from work only to find that there are only 2 bands playing tonight and the first one is on at 8pm.

That leaves me with two questions: the first being why open at 6.30 if no ones on till 8, and the other how hard would it have been to find a local band to open the show? There are probably 1000 bands in Liverpool that would have relished at the chance to play the academy. I mean I understand that the people who organised the gig probably wanted to keep it to two bands and focus on those two, but then why open at 6.30 and not the usually 7-7.30 if that’s the case. My second gripe about tonight is the lack of effort put into the backing music between bands, I mean especially because I have had nothing else to do for the last hour and a half than listen to it. With all the technology in the world and all the websites it wouldn’t have been hard to find a pop punk playlist that fit with the acts on this evening. Instead they played track after track of morose Bluesy Rock to really make the time drag. I think it does a disservice to the local music scene when big corporate venues like the O2 don’t reach out into the community to fill these roles. Creating opportunity and potentially making more money from it obviously hasn’t crossed their mind. Anyways enough about that.

Decade are first to grace the stage, fresh from signing their new record deal with Spinefarm Records and UMG. The Bath based Pop Punkers have been appearing on bills everywhere for the last couple of years. Their new album is highly anticipated and long overdue, and I for one can’t wait. As they begin there’s very little movement or noise from the crowd and it’s for one of two reasons. The first is it’s hot, they’ve been standing for an hour and a half waiting and they’re a bit fed up. The second is that the majority of the crowd know very little of Decade and are only here to see Emily’s Army. I can promise you it’s definitely not Decade’s fault as they roll into their second more upbeat number the sound quality is excellent and they are giving it some great energy. One or two people in the crowd succumb to Decade’s positive stage vibes and start to really enjoy whats going on and as each song finishes they crowd give a little more whoop. This is the third time this year that I’ve seen them perform and I have to say they are going from strength to strength. The first time I saw them was at Hit the Deck Festival on a tiny stage under some stairs, they had the energy but not the always the quality. Now there seems to be a perfect mix or stage presence and caliber from them. They play some of their new tracks and finish on what will be their new single ‘Brain Freeze’ and it sounds great. It’s made me even more excited for the album to come out early next year.

Emily’s Army are 4 teenage guy’s from East Bay in California, who have been making waves over in the states. Part of the 2013 Warp Tour and with their debut album out last month they are bringing in fans from all over the world. The band is made up of two brothers Max and Cole, guitarist Travis, and son of Pop Punk’s Billy Joel Armstrong, Joey Armstrong on drums. When they enter the stage it’s plain to see the majority, if not all the people in the crowd are here for this band. I’ve heard very little about them and i’m please to see that there are a nice mix between early drive thru records band Allister and Greenday. They are young enough to play hard, fast and throw themselves round and the crowd of mostly teenage girls lap it up. It’s slightly upsetting being at gigs when the band on stage are all so young. It reminds me that my teenage angst years are well over and I can’t just prat about and get away with it anymore (however much I try). One thing I will say about this band is that the performance that they are putting in on stage does look really rehearsed; there’s synchronised jumping and the way that they are moving doesn’t seem natural. Being the sceptic that I am it makes you wonder if this band is some big PR stunt, because they have been really well marketed to be doing tours of England in the current musical economy. They’re very few 17 year old bands get this far, and maybe it has something to do with the drummer’s dad. Away from the scepticism the band are all accomplished musicians and they have really strong live vocals, which is rare for bands this young. I’m glad that the screaming teen girls are into decent music but it doesn’t half grate on you when you’re outside of your teen years, and this is ultimately what this band are. They are the type of band that you love in your teens but you’re ashamed to admit when you get older. All in all they are an impressive and accomplished gateway band to better things.

Venue: O2 Academy, Liverpool
Support Band: Decade

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