LIVE REVIEW: With Confidence, ROAM, Woes, The Dead Love, The 1865, Southampton, 20/09/2019
It’s been just over a year since Aussie trio With Confidence released their second studio album Love and Loathing, and to celebrate they’re out on a co-headline UK tour with label mates ROAM. With ROAM riding on a wave of excitement following the recent release of their third album Smile Wide, we knew spirits were going to be high when the first night of tour hit Southampton’s The 1865, and it’s safe to say that we weren’t let down.
Opening up the show and the tour was Aussie trio The Dead Love, and with their twangy grunge sound it didn’t take long to attract the crowd’s attention as the fans continued to spill into the venue throughout their set. Dipping into the realms of pop-punk with the likes of Ordinary, the band slot nicely into the pop-punk heavy line-up and we have a feeling it won’t be the last time they’ll be gracing our shores. 7/10
Scottish pop-punk outfit Woes made their presence known on stage, making the most of their set to introduce themselves properly to the crowd of fans both old and new. Performing a setlist heavily laden with material taken from recent full-length album Awful Truth, it was Money Shoe which captivated the crowd’s attention and upped the energy both on and offstage. Sadly throughout their set they were hit with an array of technical issues which made it hard to gain a fair judgement of their performance – maybe next time their set will be memorable for all the right reasons. 7/10
Now, let’s talk about Eastbourne quintet ROAM. It’s been a while since they’ve played headline shows in the UK, and with the recent release of their third album, Smile Wide, it’s fair to say the crowd were excited to have them back. From the moment they burst onto the stage and into I Don’t Think I Live There Anymore, the atmosphere in the room changed and we felt like we were at a completely different show. The great thing about their tracks are that they’re made for singing along to, so whether you’re a fan or not you can pick up the lyrics, resulting in Alex Costello frequently being able to take a back seat due to the overwhelmingly loud crowd. Better In Than Out saw the first pit of the night open up, with Alex C even commenting “you guys are so rowdy it’s amazing.” New material such as the incredibly catchy Hand Grenade was just as well received by the crowd as older tracks such as Hopeless Case and Head Rush, the broad setlist offering something for fans both old and new and furthering the appeal of the quintet. From upbeat and fun to slow and sincere, Smile Wide track Taken showed a new side to the band, captivating the audience and filling the room with a sense of reflection.
Throughout the set the crowd were given stories behind the tracks. Toy Box is scattered with Toy Story lines and references, with Alex Adams even dedicating the track to Buzz and Woody and “the spoon thing.” Then there was latest single Piranha, where Alex A let the crowd in on the tale about his dream of swimming with piranhas which is played out through the track. Receiving its live debut tonight, the energy was maintained throughout as this twangy, fun track brought a smile to everyone’s faces.
Being away from the live scene to work on new music can be a risk, but when you’ve got a fanbase as solid as ROAM have you can rely on them to be waiting for you when you’re back. When watching their set it was impossible not to smile, as the band showed off their personalities through the tracks and the stories behind them. It was clear that they were having a truly great time performing to the crowd, which in turn led to the most memorable set of the night for everyone in the Southampton venue. ROAM are back and it’s like they’ve never been away. 9/10
Closing tonight’s show was Aussie trio With Confidence, who burst onto stage and straight into Voldemort taken from 2016 debut album Better Weather. Maintaining the fierce, high tempo energy in the room, led by dual vocals from Jayden Seeley and Inigo Del Carmen, it was impossible not to get swept up in the crowd singalongs. Keeper was another example of the trio’s flawless ability to bring the songs the fans love on CD to life when performed live.
Stealing the award for catchiest song of the set is Spinning, which was teased by Seeley as a Nickelback song because let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a bit of Nickelback! Receiving its UK live debut tonight it was easy to see why the trio decided to add this to their setlist as the mood lifted, smiles graced everyone’s faces and there was a sense of being part of something very special in that room.
Another incredibly special part of the set came in the form of Godzilla, taking us back to the band’s Distance EP which was written about a giant dinosaur. It can sometimes be a risk throwing it that far back into your discography, but despite initial doubts from the trio over whether fans would know of its existence, the crowd took it upon themselves to keep their enthusiasm and energy high, motivating the band to show their thanks from the huge smiles gracing their faces. As the first night of the tour it was a chance for With Confidence to try out the setlist order, to suss what does and doesn’t work. What definitely did work was the combination of Long Night, which saw Seeley taking centre stage after a small Wonderwall interlude, followed by fan favourite London Lights, which caused carnage and a sea of delighted attendees.
As the night drew to a close Better Weather B-Side Here For Nothing rounded off the main set, flaunting the most impressive guitar instrumental of the whole night and offering a chance to show off their musical skills. Returning onstage for a two-track encore of Icarus and Moving Boxes, With Confidence were back on UK shores with a bang and reminding everyone exactly just who they are and what they’re about: strong pop-punk; big sing-along choruses; and providing a memorable show for everyone in attendance. 8/10
This Hopeless Records co-headline tour was a perfect example of what happens when you bring two great pop-punk bands, with two supportive fanbases, onto the same bill. The outcome was an incredible night of live music which left many (including ourselves) wishing we could do it all again tomorrow. Same time next year then?
Written by: Nicola Craig