Live. Tonight Alive

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Live. Tonight Alive
With. Transit and Gavin Butler
The Fleece, Bristol. 29th May 2013

First impressions count. Anything from a firm handshake, a shared interest in the intricate plotlines of Neighbours or a super-neat haircut can force you to make a judgement call. From that instant, you form an idea of a person that they then have to live up too. Music is no different.

Getting an idea of a band is equally as sudden. On record it’s a group effort but in the live arena, making a good impressions falls to a single person. That’s why the best bands have such captivating and enigmatic frontmen. It’s never a case of a one-man show, rather a group performance led by a talented ringleader.

They don’t come more talented then Jenna McDougall of Tonight Alive. Controlling band and crowd alike, she feeds off the raucous punk abandon before exploding about the stage. Backed by an impressive climbing wall of instrumental chaos, Tonight Alive are quickly growing into one of the most exciting prospects in music.

Gavin Butler from The Blackout is a slightly different prospect. Armed with only an acoustic guitar and decadent warmth to his voice, the Welshman trades hardcore parties for gloomy folk. Playing with overwhelming charm and surprising poetry, Gavin Butler exposes a lesser-seen side to his musical exploits. Equally as compelling as the day-job, these haunting odes of misery create an atmospheric hush. If The Blackout ever decide to stop the party, Gavin Butler has an open-ended invitation for the future.

With a history as rich as Transit’s, it might be difficult to consider the future. However, led by the energetic craze of Joe Boynton and the marvel of Young New England, Transit are a band making all the right impressions. Despite being a long way from home, the Boston five-piece make themselves comfortable with a brash assault of emotionally charged punk-rock. Unrelenting and passionate, Transit play a dynamic blend of punk charged fury with pop-led stability. It’s intelligent, it’s heartfelt and it’s glorious. What else is there?

Well, there’s Tonight Alive. From the skipping snarl of Breakdown to the forceful sway of To Die For, the scaled up brutality of their pop-punk, snakes without apology. Delicate nuances flit left and right as the tumbling deconstruction rolls on. Tearing it apart from the inside is the colourful strut of Jenna McDougall.

Now fully grown into her talent, tonight the vocals are simply breathtaking. Dynamic, powerful and beautiful, they give weight to the message. Songs about struggle and self-belief are delivered with admirable insight and parade as Tonight Alive cast out self-doubt.

Leading the room with charming command and riding the stuttering breakdowns with impressive range, Tonight Alive come together to create a lasting impression of brilliance. Humble despite the reactions and already capable beyond promise, Tonight Alive really are fantastic. And this is just the start.

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~ by justdip on 30/05/2013.

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