Page 44 | O2 Academy 3 Birmingham | Saturday March 3rd

19th March 2012 by admin

After their recent stint opening for Welsh favourites The Blackout last November, local boys Page 44 are back for tonight’s edition of Emma Scott Presents… for a headline show at the Academy’s 3rd room (just two doors down from the one they played on the Blackout tour). It’s likely that the foursome picked up some new fans on the tour; this combined with the fact that the band are Birmingham-based make it no surprise that tonight’s show has sold well. A solid amount of fans are in attendance to show their support and it looks that tonight is to be a hit.

Opening are girl-fronted West Essex youngsters Reachback who might bear a slight resemblance in look and sound to other similar acts, but it would be unfair to simply make comparisons. Musically they tick all the boxes; pop-rock melodies, bouncy rhythms and lighthearted lyrics and you’ve got a pretty solid opening act. While the band remain somewhat static for the duration of their performance their songs are fun (if not totally unique) and pink-haired singer Ruby Williams delivers with a sassy but cute charm.
One might question the necessity of getting the to crowd sing “W-H-O-R-E”, as well as a Jessie J cover, but the cheers and chants from the kids up front mean they must be doing something right. Reachback aren’t the most exciting band visually but in musical terms they are satisfying enough to entertain for a good half hour.

Following are Fake Obsession who are another female-fronted rock group, this time from Telford. Believe or not but these youngsters are actually opening for pop-rock outfit McFly on the 9th, which is no easy feat by any means. In any case, they share similar pop sensibilities with their predecessors but with a grungier edge to proceedings. That said they still have the catchy choruses and strong vocal lines that fit the necessary criteria. In addition they manage to fit in a cheeky cover of Cher’s “Believe” that is odd but somehow it works. Like Reachback before them, the quartet deliver a punchy, accessible brand of pop-rock that is not revolutionary, but fun for a half hour. These kids show promise.

Next up are Birmingham’s The Breaking Ties who don’t quite enthrall tonight’s audience as much as the first two acts but the four-piece’s brand of melodic hard rock is undoubtedly impressive. Influences here are obvious – Foo Fighters, Guns N’ Roses and a touch of You Me At Six, so while there are clear nods to their forefathers it’s not a pure ripoff. Another band that could achieve something big if they worked on honing a more original style.

If there was to be an odd band out tonight, it would probably be Jester, who play a slightly more eccentric style of rock with Incubus, Biffy Clyro and Jane’s Addiction being listed among their influences. Although they might be different from the preceding acts they aren’t really that much of a surprise. Three-way harmonies and melodic “link-passages” are among the techniques employed in their live show, but it’s not without fault. They incorporate perhaps too many musical styles and a slightly muddy sound holds them back; it’s a bit hard to tell how they’re trying to sound and overall the performance feels like somewhat of a missed opportunity.

Headliners Page 44 are greeted like returning heroes and play a strong but woefully short set of anthemic power-pop that would appeal to fans of Lostprophets or emo legends Jimmy Eat World. While the Brummies aren’t quite on the level of J.E.W. or the ‘prophets, with songs like Watch Me Fade (tonight’s opening number), Answers and Closer it’s easy to see that there’s potential in these young men. Given the great response from the crowd it really is a shame that their set is so brief, but if they keep up the good work these shows will be expanding and bigger and better tours will be imminent. The band note it was the best headline show they’d ever done, and while it wasn’t life-changing, it was a fine display of honest, passionate music that we’ll hopefully be hearing again soon.

by Greg Cadman

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