Hit The Lights

support Fastlane + Beat Union
author DY date 29/01/07 venue Underworld, London, UK

So when this gig was announced you could tell by the comment I left on the news item; "consider my pants well and truly wet" that I was excited by the line-up. An opportunity to see Hit The Lights, writers of one of my currently favourite pop-punk albums "This Is A Stickup…Don't Make It A Murder" paired with a now rare opportunity to see the disbanded (unless something happens with a label pretty fast) pop-punk heroes from Guildford and personal favourites of mine, namely Fastlane. Oh yea and Beat Union…This was going to go down as one of my favourite gigs in a long time, and one to remember fondly for even longer…surely?

Now don't get me wrong, I love Hit The Lights, but for me tonight was all about Fastlane. Despite having seen them seven times before I was super stoked about the show, especially since it was the band's first show in six months and last show for an indefinite period of time.

So I arrived at the Underworld about 8pm, doors having opened at 7:30pm, fully expecting to watch the remainder of Beat Union's set. Now, just try to imagine, because I can't put into words, what went through my head when I heard the final seconds of "Dreaming" being played out by the boys in Fastlane as I approached the floor. I fought my way through the crowd to the front of the stage in time to see vocalist Ben Philips announce how much fun they had playing the show and how they didn't know when they would get to play a show again; the last things I wanted to hear at that moment in time. The only saving grace was that the band then proceeded to play "Motion", the opening track from their new album "Overdrive", before leaving the stage, which by the end of the song was occupied by most of the crowd.

With my heart sunk so low that it almost gave me stomach pains, I turned and headed towards the bar. The five minutes it took for the barman to reach me only gave me more time to dwell on the fact that my evening had been turned completely and utterly on its head. As I stood, beer in hand, in utter confusion as to why Fastlane had been chosen as openers and not main support, I met a friend of mine and fellow Fastlane fan who, it turned out, had also missed the band's set and was equally shocked as he had actually been at the venue but thought Beat Union were playing first so he was waiting at the bar through their set without knowing any better. I remained in the bar throughout Beat Union's set (no disrespect to the band) lamenting over the way the evening had turned out and the fact that chances to see Fastlane again were likely to be few and far between. I wondered whether I'd even bother to watch the main act, as happy pop-punk was certainly not what I was in the mood for.

Hit The Lights

But by the time the headliners took to the stage I had decided that I could either let the entire night be lost to misery, or I could choose to salvage from it what I could and try to have a good time in the company of Hit The Lights, and I chose the latter. Good for me eh? I had decided at the bar though, that under the circumstances, writing a review was out of the question (although PP managed to talk me round eventually), so I'm afraid I didn't record a set list or many of the details.

The band was on good form tonight and was obviously excited to be playing again in the UK. They seemed to have retained the same energy that they displayed the last time I saw them at the Barfly in November. From the first song, the crowd went into party mode, dancing and moshing around and generally having a good time as you are guaranteed to do at a pop-punk concert.* Once again, as they had at the last show I saw, the band seemed genuinely overwhelmed at the amount support they were being shown, vocalist Colin Ross ran out of words to say after declaring "I know I've said this already tonight but I don't know what else to say, you guys are incredible".

(*Subject to not having missed your favourite band play)

The band played most of the songs on their full length album as I remember, as well as a couple from their EP "Until We Get Caught" including, I think, "Loose Lips Sink Ships", which got great responses from the crowd. The band once again chose to play an encore consisting of the untitled acoustic track from their album, and the much loved "Bodybag".

During the last song the crowd went potty and even my prior disappointment couldn't stop me from enjoying this one. Even better, Ben from Fastlane joined the band on stage to sing along which got the crowd moving even more. The roof nearly came off the venue during the song as the band and crowd alike jumped around in happy madness, with a few members of the crowd including myself jumping on stage to share Ben's microphone with him during the final chorus. The night ended in disorder with most of the crowd climbing on stage to meet the band after the song, as they had at the end of Fastlane's set earlier in the evening.

Once the gig had finished, I was left with a bittersweet taste in my mouth having enjoyed Hit The Lights' set but still unable to leave the venue with a smile on my face, due to my disappointment at having missed Fastlane. I'll continue to rue the night's events until the next time I get to see them play, whenever that may be...

(The score I'm giving Hit The Lights is an objective one, based on the band's performance, to be fair.)

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