Fresh from the Red Bull Stage of Download festival, the Nottingham based alternative-rock quartet hold the enthusiasm of a new creation, with the sophistication and competence of a band accustomed to playing to crowds twice the size of tonight’s smokey, packed room. Despite being slightly patched up for this show (currently lacking a rhythm guitarist, Matt Gascoyne of Eva Plays Dead lent a hand), a solid performance awaited the pulsing crowd.
From the off, it was glaringly obvious that the band not only knew what they were doing, but knew how to make the set the best they could for the crowd; roping them in to build enthusiasm and leaving be to focus on music where necessary. What always makes for a good set (besides being generally good), is if the band are having a good time of it, of course – as this was the band’s first headline gig at Rock City, it’s understandable that they most certainly were.
Clear vocals and tight enthusiasm set the night off, with a sound quality akin to that of their studio sound and an energy that left you wanting to join in. A rockier kick from the live show added bite to infectious hooks that had the crowd singing, and the unapologetic confidence provided by the band’s frontman kept the pace and outgoing atmosphere of the set high. The huge cheers that greeted the end of each track were unsurprising and rightly deserved, only increasing the mood of the night.
The performance by no means consisted solely of heavy, pacey tracks, though, and the slower songs of the set allowed the focus of the music to shift to the strong instrumental before the powerful vocal work played its part. In particularly, the line “what have I become?” held a degree of control and sincerity that must have impacted the whole crowd, least of all myself, combined with a technical ability that was on a par with (if not surpassed) studio quality. The enthralling percussion close lead to the band truly demonstrating that could provide change and variety not simply in what they were capable of, but in the music they create.
Next on the bill came a slightly lengthy change from electric to acoustic instruments, and despite the slight wait, I wouldn’t be the only one to believe that it was definitely worth it. A surprise cover came in here, and a respectful nod was sent in the direction of A Day To Remember with the band’s beautiful rendition of their If It Means A Lot To You. If those watching knew no other track played in the evening, they most certainly knew that one, and I can say with a lot of confidence that the majority of the crowd was joining in.
As the pace picked up for the final few bass-driven tracks, the room illuminated with endless glowsticks and if the crowd didn’t make it clear enough that they were having a good time, the unexpected ending most certainly did. To be able to say you’ve headlined Rock City is an achievement, but to be able you received an encore on your first time headlining, well, that’s something to be proud of – Adelphia definitely put on a show to be proud of.