A Loss For Words

support All Or Nothing + LYU
author AP date 04/03/10 venue Unit, Southampton, UK

Unit on Thursdays functions as the number one nightspot for the out crowd; the counter-culture alternative to the jam-packed disco nights elsewhere in town. The club runs a joint venture with the Joiners, Southampton's most loved music venue, and occasionally the duo books a band or two to perform intimate live sets in the club, but it should be said that supporting concerts is clearly not the main focus there - something that the tiny stage and the subpar sound quality are a testament to. Good bands do play there sometimes though, and intrigued by the DIY ethics of the band, I headed out to the club on my own to catch the Boston-born A Loss For Words.


LYU from Birmingham, have been tasked with warming up the (non-existent) crowd tonight, and take the stage with a slight air of disappointment. Can't blame them though, as apart from myself and our photographer Benji, the attendance is countable with two hands. The band make some attempts at inviting the scattered clubbers closer to no reaction, and then apparently submit to this appalling situation by treating it as a jam/practice session. Again, this is completely understandable, and even then the band performs with heartfelt honesty, engulfing the room with melodic post-hardcore that sounds like a mixture of old Alexisonfire, Thrice and local lads Burn The Fleet. While the more simplistic new songs do little to impress me, this band's older material makes up for it, and then some. Tom Hill on the bass guitar, and Drew Masters on the guitar deliver chilling vocal harmonies awash with melancholy to create songs that are as beautiful as they are forlorn. Not much to say about stage presence, except that the band seem right at home standing still, conveying emotions through distressed expressions and carefully executed fretwork. Just like Thrice, this band has no need to decimate everything in their wake, letting the music speak on its own behalf instead.


All Or Nothing

All Or Nothing are a cheerful bunch, and their fast, spirited pop punk enables (and demands) a performance that is far more energetic than LYU's. Still, despite making use of every inch of the minuscule stage, the band's music (often compared to The Wonder Years) is too calculated and too obvious to form a lasting impression. It's not bad, but it's the kind of stuff you bob along to casually while knocking back pints of lager, rather than sweating your balls of in the pit. Not that any such pit ever forms this evening. Were the crowd not so thin, the band would almost certainly do better, the party band that they are. But with twenty or so generally disinterested people to work with, All Or Nothing are fighting a lost battle as the music alone is not enough to hold the band afloat. Consequently (and not because of the beers) I don't recall many standout moments from this set, apart from the last song (and I might be wrong here...), "One Night Five Stops Five Hits And...". Solid stuff though and I am not tempted by the loo or even the bar at any point during the set, which demands at least a


A Loss For Words

A Loss For Words a different beast altogether. From the get go vocalist Matty decides fuck this, they came all the way from the States and paid for it out of their own pockets, there is no way this place is not going to explode tonight. To make his stance clear, he never so much as sets foot on the stage, claiming instead a large crescent of space in front of it and - mark my words - rocks out like there's no tomorrow. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the best method to garner new fans. The shyish spectators are gathered around a vocalist expending so much energy that it makes me ashamed to stand there with my beer, bobbing my head back and forth. Matty simply owns the venue for half an hour, jumping up and down, fisting the air and throwing himself around like a rampant gorilla, even shedding his shoes at one point to protect the newly renovated floors from his band's melodic hardcore assault. Watching this band I am finding it impossible to believe that this band is incredibly, still not signed, despite having toured with such genre heavyweights as New Found Glory, Set Your Goals and Four Year Strong. Not surprisingly the music bears similarities to each of those bands, though AL4W never deviates from doing things their own way. So, in thinking how to best convey how awesome this band is in words, I realized that I don't even like pop punk, or melodic hardcore or whatever you want to call this band's music - and I'm still devouring every second of it like it's chaotic fucking post-hardcore. Seriously, if all pop punk bands demonstrated this kind of excellence, I'd sell my soul to the genre. Thumbs up to AL4W for turning a bad situation into an astounding surprise.

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