SHINEDOWN / STARSET / PRESS TO MECO - O2 Academy, Glasgow 30.10.18



The O2 Academy in Glasgow is Grade B listed property and is a former cinema and Bingo Hall. It is the only O2 music venue left in Glasgow after the recent fire in the companies ABC venue. It is large and the layout is layered and in my opinion a sometimes soulless venue.

Tonight's headliners are Floridian based rockers SHINEDOWN who have been my favourite band bar-none for a long time and also a favourite of my family who have all made the trip south of the river tonight.

Opening tonight and on the European leg of the tour are PRESS TO MECO hailing from Croydon in England. The three piece comprising of guitarist/vocalist Luke Caley , Adam Roffey on bass and vocals and Lewis Williams on drums and vocals take to the stage to an ever filling hall. They describe themselves as progressive hardcore rock metal pop and immediately get the crowd on side.

They have a catchy almost slightly unusual style of music . Songs such as ‘Familiar Ground’, ‘Itchy Fingers’ and ‘A Quick Fix’ all have the crowds gazes fixed on the stage. Unusually all band members take a turn at lead vocals which is well received. Their short set is over all too quickly and they leave to loud applause.

Luke Caley Guitar/Vocals
Adam Roffey Bass/Vocals
Lewis Williams Drums/Vocals

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Second on the bill are Columbus, Ohio based STARSET. Formed in 2013, they arrive on stage with guitarist Brock Richards, bassist Ron DeChant and drummer Adam Gilbert dressed in white space suits with light packs on their chests and what appeared to be battery packs on their backs. Vocalist Dustin Bates appears in hooded cloak with a light bar for eyes followed by another 2 cloaked figures - one who heads for the keyboards and another who clutches a Cello. As I look around all I see are quizzical looks from the crowd all asking the same question that I can only imagine in text speak relates to WTF?

Vocalist Bates is quoted previously as saying the band are cinematic rock which fits the description perfectly. There is a large screen behind the drum kit which is constantly filled with images of space and all things associated with science fiction. Musically, songs ‘Monster’, ‘Ricochet’, ‘It has Begun’ and ‘Bringing It Down’ all have a similar sound with chugging guitars and bass accompanied by haunting but difficult to hear lyrics which may have been down to the mixing on the night. 

The set ends prematurely with what appeared to be from my position a laptop failure that ultimately could not be fixed on the night and the band leaving the stage to lukewarm applause. There is no doubt about the musicianship of the band however the whole show seemed to be run from computer onstage and that always carries the risk of a breakdown like tonight. The band promised to come back and do a headline show in Glasgow however and not for the first time, a band will have been judged on their first performance in the city.

STARSET are :-
Dustin Bates Vocals/Keyboards
Brock Richards Guitars
Ron DeChant Bass
Adam Gilbert Drums

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Headlining tonight in Glasgow are SHINEDOWN who are touring Europe in support of recent album release ‘ATTENTION ATTENTION’, an absolute monster of an album and in my opinion their best release to date. I have to confess I am a massive fan of this band and barely a day goes by that their music isn’t being blasted in my house . I’ve been hooked since 2008 when on holiday in the USA I picked up ‘The Sound of Madness’ album and also managed to see them live in King Tuts in Glasgow later that year.

The band take to the stage to the murderous beat of ‘Devil’ - the opening track from the new album which is quickly followed by ‘Diamond Eyes’, ‘Cut the Chord’ and ‘Pyro’. Frontman Brent Smith is the ultimate showman prowling the stage picking out members of the audience and almost staring them out, whilst spitting out the lyrics to every song clearly and meticulously. Guitarist Zak Myers and bassist Eric Bass bounce around the stage with boundless energy which rubs off on the crowd as they sing back every word to every song. At one point Myers & Bass laugh pointing to a steward in the balcony who is trying to get the crowd to sit down having been told by Smith that it’s 2018 and you have the freedom to stand - she fails miserably in her task.

‘If You Only Knew’, ‘Bully’ and new track and first single from the new album ‘Human Radio’ go down a storm. Bassist Bass along with drummer Barry Kerch are the unsung heroes in SHINEDOWN. Smith and Myers clearly get the brunt of the plaudits but without these two slogging away in the background, the sound would be somewhat different. Bass is the social media man in the band and has been watching the bands pages all day and has realised the fans have been requesting a certain song tonight that hasn’t been played for sometime live. What follows is simply stunning, an absolutely flawless version of ‘Amaryllis’ with Bass and Myers both on acoustic guitars which has the crowd light up their cellphones. 

Smith parts the crowd in the centre and makes his way to the back of the first level which has become a trademark of his all the time singing his heart out. The show ends with a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Simple Man’ which prompts a mass singalong and sing back to the band led by Smith. Encores tonight are ‘Sound of Madness’ and ‘Brilliant’ from the new album which aptly sums the whole night up for me - just brilliant.
SHINEDOWN have always been extremely welcomed in Glasgow and I hope it’s not too long before we get to welcome them back again . 10/10 guys - hurry back.

Brent Smith Vocals
Zak Myers Guitars/Vocals
Eric Bass Bass /Vocals
Barry Kerch Drums

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