|Taking Back Sunday/Frank Iero and The Patience – Belfast, Limelight 1 – 11 February 2017|
|Written by Jonni D|
|Tuesday, 14 February 2017 04:30|
It was just over ten years ago that Taking Back Sunday hit the peak of their commercial success as a band with ‘Louder Now’, their first album to be released through Warner Bros. Following a shaky patch littered with line-up changes and having returned to their independent roots, Taking Back Sunday seem to be in much more comfortable waters, riding a wave of renewed interest post the release of 2016’s ‘Tidal Wave.’ They take to the stage of Belfast Limelight as the reformed original line up that recorded 2002’s ‘Tell All Your Friends’; an album whose lyrics defined the scribblings on many an emo kid’s school jotter throughout the decade. However, as doors open there’s another remnant of the mid 2000’s emo scene who’s garnering the attention of those in attendance.
Frank Iero and The Patience take to the stage to the sound of adulating screams. With his fellow bandmates all adorned in matching black tshirt and trouser attire, the former My Chemical Romance guitarist is clearly the centre of attention; dressed in an overcoat with unkempt hair, he looks like a cross between a Hot Topic version of a Gallagher brother and 1970’s era Jack Nicholson. The much publicized bus crash of last year caused many a hiccup for the band’s touring cycle for their album ‘Parachutes’, but if anything it’s given the fans some time to learn the new songs. A certain contingent of the crowd (mostly female it must be said) delivers every word back to Frank, and it’s clear from the outset that he is the main draw for them this evening, several failing to hold back bursts of hysterical tears.
Limited to a small section of the stage, The Patience are a tight unit despite seeming like little more than hired hands. All eyes are on Frank as he jerks his guitar around in staccato fits, at times yelping like a protégé of Billy Corgan, at others providing hardcore bellows more associated with former project Leathermouth. Songs like ‘Oceans’ and ‘I’m A Mess’ pop with bursts of alt rock aggression, while older cuts such as ‘Joyriding’ from 2014’s ‘Stomachaches’ benefit in the live setting from a more raw presentation minus the lo-fi trickery of the recorded version. It’s a lengthy opening set, and once the muddiness of the sound issues is rectified post the first handful of songs, the band are successful in holding the attention of the crowd beyond just the MCR fan base.
There are a few notable dropouts before Taking Back Sunday take to the stage, but despite that theirs is an impressive crowd this evening. The New Jersey emo darlings lead off their set with the opening song, ‘Death Wolf’, from their most recent offering, and it’s a good indication of the high energy levels sustained throughout the entire set. Frontman Adam Lazzara remains a consummate showman, stalking the stage like a Mick Jagger for millennials, with all his jittery hand ticks and mic swinging antics still very much a part of his onstage repertoire. Never a static presence, Lazarra goes from earnestly gesturing to the crowd one moment, the next experimenting with a vocoder machine, with enough time for an obligatory mic swing (to his credit, none of which are unsuccessful). There is an undeniable level of charm to his between song banter, explaining his heartthrob status in the noughties, and a certain je ne sais quoi that has been missing from pop/rock frontmen of recent times.
The band as a whole are on fine form, firing out one teenage anthem after another in ‘Timberwolves at New Jersey’, ‘A Decade Under The Influence’ and ‘Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut from the Team).’ As enjoyable as these songs are on a nostalgia level, the newer material finds the band at the peak of their prowess, with tracks from ‘Tidal Wave’ like ‘Call Come Running’, ‘You Can’t Look Back’ and the titular song sounding more confident and fresh in their minds. However, the vocal interplay between the two complimentary personalities of Lazarra and guitarist John Nolan, remains a great feature of the band, one often aped but rarely matched.
As the venue curfew encroaches, the band eschews the encore schtick and fills their set to the brim, ending with their mainstream hit ‘MakeDamnSure.’ The accompanying mass singalong suggests this was the right choice for a closing number, and having wrapped up the band humbly retreat from the stage, with the crowd evidently satisfied by tonight’s performance. If anything, tonight’s set is a reminder as to why Taking Back Sunday were so highly regarded during the emo-scene boom of the last decade; their set heaving with anthemic songs of yesteryear, and fresh additions sitting comfortably alongside them, this is a band still brimming with personality, and a clear love for the music they play.
PHOTO CREDIT: All photos © Darren McVeigh/MetalPlanet Belfast
The tour continues tomorrow (Tuesday) at the O2 ABC in Glasgow, and then as follows:
Wednesday 15 February – Manchester, O2 Ritz
Thursday 16 February – Kentish Town, O2 Forum
Friday 17 February – Nottingham, Rock City
Saturday 18 February – Norwich, UEA.