With the biggest queue I have ever seen outside the Colchester Arts Centre, there was a great sense of anticipation in the air. The band they were queuing to see were called Young Guns, a British hard rock band that are on the rise. They’ve supported Bring Me The Horizon at Wembley, headlined the HMV Forum in London, adorned the cover of magazines and have played the main stage at Download Festival (annoying many seasoned metalheads by playing above UFO). It’s easy to see why peopled liked them after the show; their live show was passionate and energetic and most importantly fun.
However, I felt quite strange at the gig as at the tender age of 21 I was one of the oldest people present. There were people older than me (mainly parents of the younger members of the audience) but this didn’t deter me from having a good time. Nonetheless, the actions of portions of the crowd who were more concerned with their phones and how they looked annoyed me. I saw more designer clothes than band shirts in some sections of the crowd! Gigs are a place to have fun and to be yourself, not a fashion show or a place to conform to social norms and to be ‘proper’. Enough ranting, on with the show.
Opening the show was the energetic Blitz Kids, who let the audience know straight away they wanted the crowd to dance and have a laugh. The front rows obliged as frontman and Andy Samberg lookalike Joe James enthusiastically jumped around the stage singing. James and his band clearly enjoy each others company and they made the obligatory joke about playing in a former church; (James made a joke about preaching to the choir, to which guitar Jono Yates replied “Jesus Christ”). The band didn’t hit their stride for me until they played their song about touring ‘Sold My Soul,’ after this I started to enjoy myself a lot more and their final three songs after this went down exceedingly well. Blitz Kids will probably never headline Wacken, or open for Metallica, but I believe they’ll go far as they’ve found their crowd and tours like this will make their reputation grow.
Now it was time for the main event, a band for which the only way is up, Britain’s own Young Guns. Opening with ‘I Want Out,’ the band immediately connected with everyone in the crowd. Even the people wearing prog and death metal shirts were going ‘Woah’ throughout the set. I had a blast watching Young Guns perform, they were likable, fun and passionate. Frontman Gustav Wood said he studied in Essex and saw The Dillinger Escape Plan at the Arts Centre, which he called “a beautiful venue.” In a sweet moment of gratitude he said he struggled to believe that he was once on the ground watching the bands, now he was on stage headlining the venue, alongside making a comment that the next Young Guns could be in the crowd. He went on to state he was so appreciative of everyone who got the band there, adding he was happy to see old faces and new faces in the crowd and he hoped that everyone would have a good time. What a nice chap.
Their set as a whole was really enjoyable and the crowd seemed to let loose later on throughout the set and actually give into the primal urge to rock out. ‘Stitches’, ‘You Are Not,’ and ‘Rising Up’ were particular highlights of the set, until the final three songs kicked in. ‘Weight of the World,’ ‘Speaking In Tongues,’ and my personal favourite ‘Bones’ was a perfect end to the set. ‘Bones’ is a song that has never failed to get me pumped or cheer me up and to see them finish on it was in the words of legendary chef Ainsley Harriott, ‘a bit special.’ I was sad to see them leave but they had another gig to go to and more fans to entertain and I wouldn’t want to keep them waiting.
It was a fun gig, I said “Woah” a lot, banged my head (to weird looks) and had a blast. It wasn’t the greatest show on earth, it wasn’t Iron Maiden at the O2 Arena, but it was a nice moment of escapism from real life.