Review by Robert Moody and Photos by Mark Lloyd
Now in its 4th year, the Vans ‘Off The Wall’ tour is establishing a solid reputation as a tour which combines not only a wide variety of musical styles, but also helps to promote bands on the verge of much bigger things. The 2012 stopped off in Wolverhampton on Friday night, for a lineup headlined by London rockers Young Guns.
Unfortunately the Friday night rush hour meant that we didn’t arrive in time to see the opening band, Marmozets, so the first band we saw take to the stage were hardcore outfit Your Demise. The band played through a number of songs from their last 2 albums, and in the open space of the Wulfrun Hall large moshpits greeted most of the songs. Your Demise is a band who have had many changes in their lineup over the years, and this is reflected in their changing musical style. Songs like ‘These Lights’ from their latest album The Golden Age sounded very different to older works, like ‘Miles Away’, and in a short set such as this one, the changes left the set feeling a little disjointed at times. Nonetheless, in closing out with the anthemic ‘The Kids We Used To Be’, they finished on a high note and were given a warm reception as they departed.
The final support act of the night was also the only non-British band of the night, in the shape of New York’s We Are The In Crowd. The band has toured the UK several times in the past 18 months, both in headline and support slots, so there was an instant familiarity for many in the audience, with most of the songs coming from last year’s release Best Intentions. The band’s relentless touring schedule means they now play the songs effortlessly, and spent lots of time on stage interacting with the fans in the front few rows, all whilst sounding like a studio recording. We Are The In Crowd are a band who are gaining a solid fanbase in the UK, helped by mainstream radio airplay, and if their next album helps them expand that further, you can expect to see them headlining some rather large venues next year.
Having also covered their headline tour just 8 months ago, where they played the relatively small Rescue Rooms in Nottingham, tonight shows that Young Guns are really making the step up, as they played to at least double the number of people. And from the opening song of their set it is clear who most people have come to see, with large sections of the crowd singing along to every word, even lesser known songs such as ‘There Will Be Rain’ from the band’s first EP. Vocalist Gustav Wood has developed a commanding stage presence and didn’t look fazed in the slightest by performing in front of such a large audience, whilst guitarists Fraser and John Taylor cover the length of the stage several times in every song. It is the band’s second headline tour since releasing their latest album Bones and the songs showcased on this album sound far more polished than earlier this year. The set lasted well over an hour but at no point did the crowd lose interest or the energy levels show any signs of dropping. Finishing with an encore of ‘Winter Kiss’ and ‘Bones’ the band left to a tremendous reception, leaving everyone in little doubt that Young Guns are now at the forefront of the UK’s Rock music scene.
Setlist: Dearly Departed, Weight Of The World, Crystal Clear, You Are Not, I Was Born, I Have Lived, I Will Surely Die, Brother In Arms, Stitches, There Will Be Rain, Learn My Lesson, D.O.A, Towers (On My Way), Broadfields. Encore: Winter Kiss, Bones
And you can see more photos from the show here: