• Naomi Sanders

LOUDER LIVE: New Years Day & support at O2 Academy, 25/02/2020

On a cold February day when the snow starts to fall in Birmingham, it seems like the perfect conditions to play a heavy metal show, right? That’s the case for New Years Day, coming from sunny California to the dark and cold side of Birmingham to play and promote their latest album, Unbreakable, as well as use that to warm up those cold fans with their metal instrumentation and pop-style lyrics. How does that play out in this metal city?

Firstly, the support bands. Call Me Amour took to the stage first and it was a really awkward set from beginning to end. Nothing unique to bring to the table in terms of their music and the vocals were extremely pitchy. Instead of letting people come to them through their music, they seemed to try and rally up the people through jumping into the crowd and getting in their face. At least the drummer is giving it his all and truly deserves better, but even that couldn’t save a dreadful “Rockstar” cover. So sorry to Post Malone for this band, but these guys should probably not try that one again. Or at least keep working on their material to make a lot more improvements because they really need it.

Next came Lowlives, who have the interesting distinction of being a grunge act that actually sounds unique! A lot of other grunge acts try too hard to sound like Nirvana or Pearl Jam, but this group seem to know how to own themselves and create something new within the subgenre. Bombastic bass coupled with electrifying guitars playing some of the best solos to be seen live helped turn the atmosphere in the room and truly liven things up. Talented and fun, this band is not one to miss out on.

Finally, New Years Day came on and continued that high energy from where Lowlives left off. Whilst the setlist contained more recent songs from Unbreakable and Malevolence, as well as the audience singing along to “Angel Eyes”, it was still nonetheless entertaining and energetic. Whilst their music carried their set well, it was also the banter that singer Ash Costello had with the audience that was fun and playful and matched the tone of the music to move the set along. Moments of audience participation in the set, for example holding up the horns sign during a whole song, made people come together within the venue, and singing along to songs like “Skeletons” and “Defame Me” was definitely the cherry on top of a delicious metal cake. Overall, a fantastic night, even with a rough start to it all, featuring two fantastic bands and two that people should listen to if they haven’t before.

Unbreakable is OUT NOW!