Young Guns + Tonight Alive + Polar. @ Rescue Rooms, Nottingham – 9th February 2012

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Review by Rob Moody and photos by Carla Mundy

The falling snow did little to stop a big crowd gathering at the Rescue Rooms on Thursday night for an eclectic line-up headlined by one of the UK’s fastest rising rock bands, Young Guns, who were touring in support of their new release, Bones.

Despite the early door time, a good crowd had already arrived for the opening band of the night, Polar., who got the crowd going with a true assault on the eardrums. Polar. play a chaotic mix of metal and punk music, with vocalist Adam Woodford delivering an intense, aggressive performance. The seven song set flew by, and the crowd needed very little encouragement to jump around, and even formed an impressive circle pit in the cosy confines of the Rescue Rooms. Signing off with the subtly named “Smile, you Son of a Bitch!”, Polar. left the crowd wanting more, and with a full album out soon, expect to hear more from the band.

From Polar to the opposite, the second support of the evening was Tonight Alive, a Pop Rock quintet from Sydney, Australia. Any band of this nature with a lead female vocalist naturally draws comparisons to Paramore, but in this case they are pretty well justified. Vocalist Jenna McDougall led the band with an upbeat and energetic performance, and whilst she is not the most powerful vocalist, she hit all the notes precisely. The remaining members of the band did not detract from the performance, but equally they did very little to interact with the crowd – it was clear to even the most casual observer who the focus of the band was. Their cover of Mumford & Sons ‘Little Lion Man’ from the Punk Goes Pop series was well received, and recent single ‘Wasting Away’ did get the crowd going, but overall Tonight Alive are not quite that just yet.

So with the Rescue Rooms filled to near capacity, it was time for Guildford’s Young Guns to light up the stage. And sure enough they did in no time at all, with people singing along from pretty much the first word. This is a band who have grown steadily over the past couple of years, taking a very loyal fanbase and expanding it at every show, and tonight’s show is a clear example of why. Musically, Young Guns play up-tempo rock and roll songs with catchy choruses sandwiched between more melodic verses and solos. Vocalist Gustav Wood leads the band effortlessly, and has no trouble in interacting with all areas of the crowd, at no detriment to the quality of his performance. The rest of the band follow in this vein, and all of them appear as though they are thoroughly enjoying themselves throughout the set. Whilst Young Guns have only just released their new album, this is a set that blends both newer songs and old, and whilst the new material is well received, it is the old favourites such as ‘Crystal Clear’ and ‘Sons Of Apathy’that really get the crowd jumping. With the set lasting nearly an hour there was plenty of time for the band to showcase a full selection of their work, and the new material feels unique yet familiar. Young Guns are currently following the path previously followed by other UK bands such as You Me At Six, and if they continue to build their reputation with shows like this, they will be playing larger venues very soon.

And you can see all of Carla’s pix below: