Never trust a 6pm start. Not even on a Sunday. Arriving at the Cockpit at a fashionably late 7pm and hoping to catch only the briefest of glimpses of the sole confirmed support All Or Nothing, imagine my surprise to find I still had three supports acts to go before the night’s main attraction.
Having dodged We Stand Victorious, Tonight We Fire and Dead Message served as my openers and failed to impress. Not that there was anything drastically wrong with either; both gave energetic performances and really tried to engage the worryingly small turnout – at this point less than 50. There’s just only so many times you can watch bands try and imitate Blink 182 without getting tired of what has now become the standard pop punk stereotype. Move along. Nothing, original at least, to see here.
Fortunately All Or Nothing faired much better. With a more contemporary sound – drawing from influences such as Four Year Strong and A Day To Remember, there’s lots to like here. A few technical problems hindered the set but there’s no question of their potential.
Fresh from a performance at Belgium’s Groezrock Festival, and gearing up for a slot on this coming week’s Give It A Name Introducing tour, The Swellers are very much on the cusp of a long overdue European push – to match their success in the states having being handpicked to support Paramore on their US arena tour. Tonight, with a crowd of no more than 100, and this being their first ever UK show, there’s certainly a sense of occasion in the air, even if the disappointing turnout does somewhat dampen spirits.
Opening with ‘2009’ the band are every bit as energetic as on record, with ‘Fire Away’ and ‘The Iron’ following up just as furiously. Whilst inevitably the crowd respond more to material from the recently (UK) released sophomore effort ‘Ups and Downsizing’, the band also squeeze in a few delights from debut ‘My Everest’, including ‘Bottles’ and ‘Vehicle City’. Although these are lost on the majority, it’s a nice moment for the few in the know.
The sound was by no means great throughout, although gradually improving to decent quality by the time ‘Sleeper’ and ‘Do You Feel Better Yet?’ dropped, with momentum finally urm… swelling. Unexpectedly, title track ‘Ups and Downsizing’ was one of the night’s highlights; with its distinct Jimmy Eat World vibe, as was closer ‘Dirt’. Whilst tonight’s performance was not quite the classic is could have been, make no mistake, The Swellers are destined for much bigger things.