Moneen

support Cancer Bats + Lights Action
author PP date 14/12/06 venue Barfly, London, UK

My opinion is that the Barfly is probably the best venue in all of London. The sound is almost always perfect, and the venue is so intimately small that most shows here become almost magical when thinking about them afterwards. Given my laziness, I had almost two weeks to think about this gig since I saw it, and still Moneen vocalist Kenny Bridges' incredible stage acts and passionate singing are vivid in my mind. But more about that later, because tonight also saw two other absolutely fantastic bands that I hadn't really gotten around listening to despite the hype around them, but tonight underlined what the hype in these bands is all about.

Lights Action

Tonight's local act Lights Action didn't spend much time moving on stage. But the young band didn't need to in order to captivate the crowd, who was still in the process of arrival due to the late doors. Those who were lucky enough to fit into the venue by the time Lights Action started their set all shared the same opinion that this is a band who will be the next big thing in the UK and perhaps even worldwide, starting from the release of their next album in 2007. Their pop punk meets brit-pop style fitted with an exact sense for catchy melodies is the kind of stuff that gets really huge really fast these days. The frontman kept his distance to the crowd by not addressing them much, creating a slightly arrogant picture, even when he ran through the crowd with the mic to sing in the middle of all of us, resulted in an untouchable image to the band, which wasn't bad at all tonight. They stood on stage like born-to-be superstars, and you can easily imagine the band's frontman tapping his leg and knee on a video on constant rotation on channels like MTV after seeing it tonight. Keep an eye out for these guys.

7

Cancer Bats

Seeing as Cancer Bats are from Canada, it's difficult to grasp how they are able to support just about everyone in Europe all the time. They've been here with Alexisonfire, Moneen, in Taste Of Chaos as a band in between the big bands, and they're coming over with Rise Against in May. But the relentless touring and the ferocious assault of a live show the band does has gained them a considerable fan base, and has triggered calls for them being the next big thing from Toronto, a city where bands like Alexisonfire and Moneen hail from, and is the reason why everyone currently wants to tour with these madmen. The crowd stood awfully still for the first half of their aggressive vocal deliveries but by the time we reached "French Immersion" and vocalist Liam Cormier's scratched "LET'S DO THIS!!" screams, the place exploded into a circle pit within milliseconds, prompting the frontman to say after the song "looks like our friends The Gallows have arrived" - and he was right, it had been the ginger-haired frontman of this similarly ferocious UK band who had hurt just about everyone in the vicinity of the center of the venue at the start of this song. Starting from this point, their show got a lot of wind under their wings and everyone started dancing along. Liam spent many pauses in between songs to describe how the music you make, the music you listen to has to come from the heart, holding his hand over his heart, clearly assaulting all generic, fabricated music we have around tonight. While this usually sounds cliche and fake, somehow tonight it was different, and it certainly is helped by the Every Time I Die-esque groovy hardcore style the band has got going for them. I don't know if it was Liam's running and jumping around the stage while doing vocals full of honesty, or the rest of the band moving around like tornadoes on stage, but I suddenly had a much better idea what hardcore music has always been all about. Cancer Bats will be the next big screamo/hardcore act from Canada, just you wait for 2007.

8

Moneen

The night had become progressively better band by band, and by the time Moneen hit the stage everyone was full of anticipation. I had read in almost all reviews of Moneen that they are one of the tightest, best live bands around, but I don't think anyone was prepared for what went on stage tonight. Moneen was simply at their very, very best and far beyond, jumping all over the place, leaning far backwards over while playing guitars, and singing even more passionately than on record. Songs like "Start Angry...And Mad" were so incredibly intimate and passionate that I almost shed some tears while I was thinking "Yes...Yes...YES!!!!" and screaming along the opening lines "SCREW YOU AND I HOPE YOU BUUUURN!!!" The band were nothing short madmen on stage, and not rating them as the most active band I've ever seen live wouldn't do justice to them.

The newer songs from "The Red Tree" got a much better reception from the crowd that I had initially expected. "Don't Ever Tell Locke What He Can't Do" triggered one of the biggest singalongs tonight with people screaming "YES I CAN!!!" so loud that it depicted a song that was deeply personal with every single one of us tonight. The spacey, atmospheric sound effects the band integrated in this song and in the beginning of all songs were nothing short of amazing, and watching Kenny and Chris rock out and modify the sound of their guitars through extensive use of the many different pedals the band had brought along showed how fucking talented these guys are in reality. The instrumental mastery the guys showed whilst in mid-air, moshing against each other and damn near hitting members of the crowd in the face with the guitars and the bass, was something I've never seen a band do before this well, and it all added to the specialty of this show.

Considering how the show was near-sold out at about 200 people in attendance, the atmosphere was already intimate, but every time Kenny opened his mouth and sang his songs more passionately than I've ever seen anyone do before, the intimate-feeling reached heights never experienced before in a concert. This is a band who loves their songs more than anyone of us, and shares the love with their fans whom they love incredibly much as well. Take an example mid-show, Kenny asked if there were any Canadians here tonight and someone replied he's from some small little town in Canada, about the size of York in the UK, Kenny was almost in tears how someone could be from such a small town, standing here in London watching the band play a tiny venue like Barfly, and how much that meant to him and the band. The night culminated on Kenny climbing on top of the crowd and singing words to "Passing Of America" and "The Last Song I Will Ever Want To Sing" above all of us (with us?), before finishing the last song and demanding everyone in the venue to join in for a giant group hug. The best show I've seen in 2006? Without a doubt, and it made me think of the Moneen songs in a completely different and more special light. Perfect score is only dented by failing to play the classic "What Did You Say...I'm Sorry, My Eyes Are On Fire".

Setlist:

  • 1. Are We Really Happy With Who We Are Right Now?
  • 2. Don't Ever Tell Locke What He Can't Do
  • 3. If Tragedy's Appealing, Then Disaster's An Addiction
  • 4. The Frightening Reality Of The Fact That We Will All Have To Grow Up And Settle Down One Day
  • 5. Closing My Eyes Won't Help Me Leave
  • 6. The Day No One Needed To Know
  • 7. Tonight I'm Gone
  • 8. This Is All Bigger Than Me
  • 9. Start Angry...And Mad
  • 10. Passing Of America
  • 11. The Last Song I Will Ever Want To Sing

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