Jonny Craig is a musician who divides opinions. On one hand he is known for his eccentric performances with Emarosa, Dance Gavin Dance and pursuits with Isles & Glaciers as well as his successful solo career. Yet for many his work has been tainted by a controversial personal life that includes accounts of drug abuse, twitter scandals, multiple arrests and fraud to name but a few issues…
Yet no matter where you opinion lies on the man himself, you can’t help but appreciate his genuine talent and beautifully unique voice. On the 8th October, Jonny headlined the intimate Borderline in London. We sent down photographer Tim Easton to capture the event in pictures.
Electric Ballroom, London
11th October 2012
‘This has been the one date on the tour we’ve been most looking forward to,’ frontman Rob Damiani cheekily tells the sold out venue. Anyone would think this was their show and everyone was here to see them. But in actual fact they’re just on a support slot to their good friends Lower Than Atlantis.
Not even half way through opening song ‘Priorities’ and Rob takes the lead to begin their distinguishable routine of ‘The Walk’, which see’s three of the members walk in unison on the spot. There’s something convivial about their practiced dance routines. And before you know it the majority of the 1100 people here tonight seem to be in a festival mood, singing back every lyric on their pals’ shoulders. It’s a scene to remember.
Future single ‘Hold On’ is well received and if the boys ever had doubts previously, tonight they have certainly got their foot in the door and one day managing pop-punk-world-domination wouldn’t shock us.
Of course though, it wouldn’t be a Don Broco performance without ‘Thug Workout’. Almost four years since its release the much heavier track calls the shots, enticing fans to get to the centre of the floor and simply, work out.
One thing Don Broco definitely are not short is being strangely entertaining. Playing ‘Whole Truth’ off their recently released first full length album, the performance is built around an abundance of sheer fun and a solid good hook which everyone takes a massive liking too. They excel at delivering an unpredictable energy that nobody would expect from a pop rock band, truly deserving a pat on the back.
Red faced, sweaty palms and a dose of adrenaline does not make the four-piece relinquish just yet as they go out with a bang with ‘Actors’. Sure, sometimes they may behave and look like a boy band but they’re making a name for themselves the right way with their fans ranging from young teens to those experiencing adult life; Don Broco have the ability to engage with every single one of the audience.
OF MICE AND MEN
w/ Memphis May Fire, Secrets
Electric Ballroom, Camden
10th October 2012
After selling out way in advance and with a queue lapping the outside of Camden’s Electric Ballroom, you know for a fact tonight’s show is going to be crazy. From an all-American line-up, Secrets are first to take to the stage. They are the perfect warm up act for this sort of audience, plenty of sub-drops and head bangs get the party off to a fine start.
When Memphis May Fire roar into action its clear that many of the Of Mice & Men fans here tonight are also deeply entwined in a love affair with this band. A vast majority of the crowd go wild. Considering Memphis May Fire aren’t headlining the response they get is very impressive. The room jumps as one to the bouncing riffs, with ‘The Sinner’ uniting the band and crowd in a mass sing along.
Before the show, Matty Mulllins discussed with Crossfire what he feels makes a great frontman, and with this performance he definitely put into practice what he preached; lunging across the stage and fully engaging the audience like the pro he is.
Secrets were impressive, Memphis May Fire took that up a level, but Of Mice & Men are just in a league of their own. Valentino Arteaga is a machine behind the kit. Alan Ashby and Phil Manansala create dirty, dirty riffs which entice permanent pits. Aaron Pauley takes care of clean vocals and finds near vocal perfection whilst pulverising filthy baselines that penetrate ear drums in the most heavy of fashions.
Austin Carlile has the audience in the palm of his hand. There are few frontmen that can work a crowd to this level but it’s not just his showmanship that is impressive, his vocal ability is superb. Holding growls for as long as he can then charging around the stage is no easy task.
With ‘The Flood’ and ‘The Depths’ (bonus tracks taken from the recent reissue of their 2011 release) causing just as much carnage as old favourites its becoming ever more obvious that Of Mice & Men are a dominant force in modern metalcore. No longer will they be playing club shows, surely the next step will be Academy shows. If their success back in America is anything to go by, a UK arena tour in the future isn’t as far-fetched as it may sound. Tonight was hands down one of the best shows of the year.
WE ARE THE OCEAN
19th September 2012
Giants have been gigging for sometime and have firmly established themselves as a band to be watched with their latest effort, the mini-album, ‘These Are The Days‘. The Essex band storm the stage with Ed Parker, their highly energetic front man, leading the charge. The riffs are fast and heavy, the bass shakes your teeth, and this mash up of skate punk and hardcore blast your brains out of your ears (but in a good way, if you can imagine that?). You can see that hardly anyone in this room had heard of them before tonight, but one thing is for sure, they won the crowd over completely by the time they left the stage. They are definitely ones to keep an eye on.
Then it’s time for the headline act to take to the stage. We Are The Ocean have lost a vocalist since I last saw them, and I’m not quite sure what to expect from the live performance. The band start with ‘Machine’, a solid new track, and the crowd loves it. However, the set comprises the old for the new, and although the bands new screamless line-up is as polished and as slick as Simon Cowells hair, yet there is definitely something missing…
The real problem lies in the fact that the new material is lacking edgey excitement and anxiety. You wait for the songs to reach their heights and then burst through a barrier and stand balls out in front of you, but they don’t. Now that’s not to say the performance is bad, in fact the band are great, it’s the simple fact that they’re not We Are The Ocean anymore. They’ll be people wanting to guillotine me for saying this, but if it was another band you couldn’t complain about the evening. It’s when they stand they’re old material up against their new that you see a sort of sleek and polished decline, and the fact they’re missing that raw, rasping voice in certain parts to push the songs into the stratosphere is noticed.
Like I said, if this was any other band and you’d have had me singing praises. I just have such fond memories of other live shows of theirs that this one was more of a damp squib. Regardless the new line-up works as a polished unit, its just not We Are The Ocean of old.
BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME
w/ Periphery, The Safety Fire
First on tonight’s bill is the home-grown talent The Safety Fire. The London lads play to a fairly full room considering they go on straight after doors. It seems the ever increasing crowd appreciates The Safety Fire’s techy-brand of metal and although not too familiar with the material played before them, the audiences’ reaction to songs taken from ‘Grind The Ocean‘ is positive, a promising sign for a band who are clearly targeting this market. On a completely irrelevant and non musical note, it has to be mentioned that The Safety Fire display facial hair at its finest. Their set was topped off with a glorious array well kept moustaches.
So away from male-grooming and back to music for a second or two, and its now Periphery‘s turn to take to the stage. With much loved drummer Matt Halpern being forced to withdraw from the performance due to a shoulder injury, a massive burden is placed upon the shoulders of Mike Malyan (Monuments) who has to learn the challenging set in 24 hours and perform to a hungry crowd. Well, the boy did good, there were no notable errors and he played with style, stamina and impressive levels of skill. And as for the rest of Periphery, well they owned the stage, it goes without saying Misha Mansoor was effortlessly exceptional and Spencer Sotelo domineered as a front man.
Between The Buried And Me really deserve to be playing to a sold out show but unfortunately the room is now only around three quarters full. Words cannot describe Between The Buried And Me’s levels of creativity, their captivating set travels through an odyssey of technical music; a progressive journey that climaxes with blistering riffs and intense vocals. Combing old favourites such as ‘Disease, Injury, Madness‘ (taken from ‘The Great Misdirect’) along with newer numbers like ‘Telos‘, BTBAM hold the audience in the palms of their hands. The band perform a masterclass, with a level of musicianship second to none.
AUGUST BURNS RED
w/Devil Wears Prada
18 – NOTTINGHAM Rock City, 19 – GLASGOW Garage, 20 – WOLVERHAMPTON Wulfrun Hall, 21 – MANCHESTER Ritz, 22 – BRISTOL Academy, 23 – LONDON Electric Ballroom
For metalcore fans, this is quite clearly a phenomenal tour, not just for October, but for the whole year. Expect plenty of breakdowns, brutal mosh pits and many a sub-drop. Listen to ‘Meddler’ by August Burns Red and you’ll know exactly what we mean.
EVERY TIME I DIE
w/Stray From The Path, Last Witness
24 – SOUTHAMPTON Brook, 25 – BRISTOL Fleece, 26 – PLYMOUTH White Rabbit, 27 – BRIGHTON Haunt, 28 – CARDIFF Solus, 29 – LONDON Electric Ballroom, 30 – WOLVERHAMPTON Slade Rooms, 31 – MANCHESTER Academy II
Band after band said that Every Time I Die nailed it nightly on the US Warped Tour, and now over on our shores we are expecting exactly the same amount of carnage. With ETID being joined by Stray From The Path (who you might have caught with Architects earlier this year) and homegrown talent Last Witness this is a very healthy looking line up.
w/Feed The Rhino
03 – BRIGHTON Haunt, 04 – EXETER Cavern, 05 – BRISTOL The Fleece, 06 – MANCHESTER Club Academy, 08 – NEWCASTLE Academy 2, 09 – GLASGOW King Tut’s, 11 – NOTTINGHAM – Rock City Basement, 12 – SHEFFIELD Corporation, 13 – STOKE Sugarmill, 14 – WREXHAM Central Station, 15 – LEEDS Cockpit, 16 – PETERBOROUGH Club Revolution, 17 – BIRMINGHAM Academy 2, 19 – LONDON Underworld
Their latest release received critical acclaim across the board, and now with intense front man Wade Macneil at the helm and Feed The Rhino as support, this isn’t just a must see show but a ‘you’d-be-really-fucking-stupid-not-to-go’ kind of show.
17 – DERBY Victoria Inn, 18 – GLASGOW Ivory Blacks, 19 – MANCHESTER Star & Garter, 20 – LIVERPOOL Format, 22 – LONDON Upstairs at the Garage, 23 – SOUTHAMPTON Cellar,24 – PLYMOUTH White Rabbit, 26 – PETERBOROUGH Met Lounge
We’ve noted Hildamay as ones to watch for some time now, and with a full UK tour to support their forthcoming album, hopefully this will be their time to shine. With Landscapes also on the bill this will be an awesome showcasing event for British talent as hardcore doesn’t get much more emotional and bleak than the way Landscapes go about it.
NEVER SAY DIE 2012 TOUR!
w/ We Came As Romans, BlessTheFall, Stick To Your Guns, For The Fallen Dreams, Obey The Brave, At The Skylines, The Browning, At Dawn We Rage
15 – UK Birmingham, O2 Academy 2, 17 – UK Manchester, Club Academy, 18 – UK London, The Electric Ballroom
Never Say Die Tours are always great but this year it features two of our favorite artists, Stick To Your Guns and Obey The Brave. Stick To Your Guns put on a hard hitting yet optimistic live show and Obey The Brave are sure to slay with their brutally heavy riffs.
11 – BUCKS Uni SU
If you are a regular reader of Crossfire you’ll know that we rate Proxies very highly indeed. Catch them at their live show to find out what all the fuss is about.
OF MICE & MEN
w/ Memphis May Fire, Secrets
08 – NORWICH Waterfront, 10 – LONDON Electric Ballroom, 11 – GLASGOW Garage, 12 – MANCHESTER Moho Live, 13 – BIRMINGHAM Asylum, 14 – LEEDS Cockpit
Of Mice & Men are the buzz band of metalcore right now. Not only due to their ridiculously strong re-release of ‘The Flood’ which featured 4 astounding bonus tracks, but due to the fact that Austin Carlile and his band mates seem to fully engage with their fans.
After releasing their second (and awesome) album, ‘Freaks Like Us’ earlier this year, check out Straight Lines as they embark on an expansive UK tour.
THE DANGEROUS SUMMER
01 – EXETER Pheonix, 02 – SOUTHAMPTON Mo’Club, 03 – BRISTOL Trinity, 04 – NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms, 05 – GLASGOW Garage, 07 – MANCHESTER Club Academy, 08 – NORWICH Arts Centre, 09 – BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy 2, 10 – LEEDS Cockpit, 11 – LONDON Electric Ballroom, 12 – KINGSTON Fighting Cocks
After releasing one of the albums of 2011 in ‘War Paint’, The Dangerous Summer have become firm favorites at Crossfire HQ. This October they are hitting the road with another of our loves, Don Broco.
THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM
15 – LONDON O2 Brixton Academy, 17 – LONDON O2 Brixton Academy, 18 – MANCHESTER O2 Apollo, 19 – GLASGOW O2 Academy, 20 – BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy
It appears everyone has a place for The Gaslight Anthem in their hearts, and rightly so. After a releasing another timeless album ‘Handwritten’ and performing a euphoric set at Reading & Leeds, The Gaslight Anthem are ready to take full control of the UK.
w/ As I Lay Dying
15 – MANCHESTER Ritz, 16 – GLASGOW O2 ABC, 17 – BIRMINGHAM HMV Institute, 19 – BRISTOL O2 Academy, 20 – NORWICH UEA, 21 – LONDON Shepherds Bush Empire
A titan of modern metal, Trivium, joined by one of the godfathers of metalcore, As I Lay Dying, in arguably intimately sized venues… this is going to be amazing.
Electronic duo Crystal Castles have announced their next record (III) will receive a global release on November 5th and is the first of their full-lengths to be produced entirely by Ethan Kath. The band have also revealed the album’s artwork.
After performing it live at Reading Festival, new single ‘Wrath of God’ was aired on Radio 1 by Zane Lowe on Wednesday 26th September. ‘Wrath of God’ and ‘PLAGUE’ (both from ‘III’) are now available to stream below and on the band’s Soundcloud.
Make sure you catch Crystal Castle’s dynamic live show as they hit the UK this November.
22nd – BIRMINGHAM Institute
23rd – NORWICH Norwich U.E.A.
24th – LONDON Brixton Academy
26th – GLASGOW ABC
27th – LEEDS Academy
28th – MANCHESTER Academy
La Dispute/Title Fight
The Garage, London
20th September 2012
From the get go, Title Fight had the audience exactly where they wanted them. Everyone was ferocious, and as eager to sing along with vocalist, Jamie Rhoden. The crowd, ever so relentless, couldn’t help themselves but to climb on the stage at every opportunity.
At any one given time, there were at least three fans either climbing on the stage, or diving off. At first, it was quite cool; fans showing their support and singing along, forgetting about the bruises and jumping into the pit, but the novelty factor soon wore off. If not for the Title Fights’s musicianship, it would’ve been difficult putting up with such distractions. It was impressive to see them pull of a flawless set in the midst of cables being ripped off mics, and roadies on call every few minutes to fix a stand or make sure nothing else was damaged. Gang chants are one thing, but to have the crowd to sing, more like shout, to every word in the set was something else.
Title Fight occasionally drifted off in an almost shoegaze-esque fashion, taking the crowd with them in these calm moments before the storm reappeared. The set list was filled with songs from their debut album ‘Shed’, EP ‘The Last Thing You Forget’, and not forgetting tracks from latest release ‘Floral Green‘. Title Fight pulled of an awesome performance, despite the over eager and somewhat off-putting crowd.
The crowd, the energy, the feel and the atmosphere refined to a less destructive and a more aware audience as heroes La Dispute emerge. The hardcore kids seem to have got crowd surfing out of their systems. La Dispute just make the crowd listen and hang on to every word.
La Dispute, one of bands which make up “The Wave” which have taken Post-Hardcore by storm and stand out because of the their eclectic styles and lyrical content, with the majority of their songs based on true events, accounts and retelling of old stories which they’ve acquired from meeting various people on their travels. And this is precisely why the songs are so gripping. And despite being sad they’re honest memento’s to lives once lived.
Tonight’s set list was varied, covering material from the acclaimed albums ‘Somewhere At The Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair’ and the most recent ‘Wildlife‘. The show started of with all out bruised bodies and the whole heart shrinks which perfectly exemplifies Jordan Dreyer’s vocal styling, from starting off like a spoken word poem and drifting off to screaming out the rest.
They played, for the first time live, ‘St Paul’s Missionary Baptist Church Blues‘ which was a hit with the crowd. But the outstanding song of the night, one that’s rarely played was ‘Andria’ .
After charging through a truly awesome and emotional set. La Dispute re-emerged for a two song encore. ‘Most Beautiful Bitter Fruit’ and ‘King Park’ which left the crowd roaring out loud “Can I still get in to heaven if i kill myself”. La Dispute need to hit our shores more often, too many people missed out on tonight due to the intimate venue size, plus there are many more epic songs to be heard live.
PIERCE THE VEIL
w/Crown The Empire, The Getaway Plan The Underworld, London
21st September 2012
It’s a great feeling when you can sense excitement in the air. Tonight’s show at Underworld sold out long in advance and every punter inside this dungeon like venue is experiencing the same static charge that makes neck hair stand to attention. Senses are heightened as the show kicks off.
First on are Australian rockers The Getaway Plan. After a short hiatus the boys are over on our shores to seduce with their impressive melodies. Definitely the most mainstream of all acts on the bill tonight, but there’s no shame in that when the sophisticated ‘The Reckoning‘ is delivered to perfection. The Getaway Plan perform solidly, and will most definitely have drawn in a few new fans with their set.
Crown The Empire are what many dislike about metalcore these days. Their gimmick laden nonsense wins the hearts of the crowd but would see metal gods of the past turning in their graves. Random dustup elements, generic riffs and mock brutal breakdowns with dual clean and screamed vocals defines their music. Imagine The Blackout combined with Asking Alexandria finished off with an overdose of American sleaze. In their matching suits and styled haircuts Crown The Empire are every scene kid’s wet dream. Fair play to the band, they know what is working in the market currently, they will develop a loyal following from younger metal fans, but their musical integrity is questionable.
Just like with Crown The Empire, the average age of a Pierce The Veil fan at the Underworld tonight seems to be about 16. But the difference with Pierce The Veil is that their music can appeal to a much wider audience than those screaming in front of them; their music isn’t made to target a particular market, their sound feels sincere and a genuine combination of heart-felt cultural and musical influences.
With tracks from ‘Collide The Sky‘ now making a welcome appearance on PTV’s set list, their repertoire has been turned up a notch. The fast paced ‘Hell Above‘ makes for a triumphant opener that instantly portrays the bands intent to make this show a great one. ‘Bulls In The Bronx‘ contains one of this years sweetest solos and proves to be song structure excellence in a live environment. Old favourites like ‘Caraphernelia‘ and ‘Bulletproof Love‘ result in mass sing-alongs and crowd surfing frenzies. Ending with ‘King For A Day‘ sums up Pierce The Veil’s dominance, they own this show and have performed impeccably tightly in this crowed sweat box.
Pierce The Veil provide a masterclass tonight. Although they could be battling in an over saturated market, they are carving their own way, breaking out and away from stereotypes with something unique and undeniably special.
Last Monday saw the Red Bull Bedroom Jam competition come to an exciting climax with Dead Harts, Golden Tanks and I Divide competing head to head in a live final streamed for all to see via the RBBJ website.
The first act to take to the stage was Dead Harts. As soon as the northern lads launched into their brutal take on emotive hardcore it was clear to see that this event was going to be a weird one. The band were absolutely caning it onstage, but with an audience made up of journalists and industry professionals the mosh pit that needed to kick of never happened.
Although also falling under the umbrella of hardcore, Golden Tanks had a different style to Dead Harts. With a swagger similar to Every Time I Die, this band wear their influences on their sleeves. Personally I’ve seen this act numerous times before and they’ve torn the stage apart, but tonight it is a more restrained performance. Maybe the pressure of the strange setting has to the boys. Nonetheless James Illsley nails a sweet solo and Tanks’ performance is an overall success.
I Divide bring a whole different approach to the final, more than anything they are a straight up rock band, the sort of thing that would dominate a more versatile radio playlist. Vocalist Tom Kavanagh sinks into the performance, he is completely overpowered by the music and barely opens his eyes throughout their set, either that or he’s ridiculously nervous. It’s probably the least energetic performance, but sound wise the most refined, a polished effort from a solid band.
As far as interludes go, having Don Broco play a surprise set as the votes are counted isn’t bad! If I Divide looked polished, Don Broco are on another level of professionalism, ‘Priorities’ is rock music at its finest. Front man Rob Damiani even manages to get the surly press filled crowd a bit hyped up. Don Broco have really stepped up their game from the early days and it’s delightful to see the RBBJ alumni demonstrating why this competition is so significant to underground acts in the industry.
Finally, host Katie Parsons brings the three finalists together to reveal the winner. This year I Divide are crowned champions, and they look thoroughly ecstatic. Their second performance of the night to celebrate the victory is full of confidence and they justify themselves as a worthy winner.
It really is a cliché to say, but it was so hard to pick between the three acts. Dead Harts were ferocious, comparable to home-grown heroes While She Sleeps. Golden Tanks had riffs with groves as commendable as Cancer Bats but ultimately it was I Divide’s slick set and catchy choruses that stole the show.