Taste of Chaos
Newport's Centre, 22nd November 2007
Reviewed by Nadine Ballantyne
Taste of Chaos' lone 2006 Welsh stop occurred on 21st November at Cardiff's CIA, hosting a substantial roster which included the likes of Taking Back Sunday, Anti-Flag, Alexisonfire, Underoath, Senses Fail, Saosin and Saidmike on that very night. Wind the clock forward one whole year to 22nd November 2007, and that very tour package features The Used assuming the headline slot. Unfortunately, tonight's spectacle was forced to migrate towards Cardiff's neighbouring Newport Centre as an alternative choice of venue. This abrupt development merely supplies more reasons as to why fans should immediately purchase tickets, given the fact availability will likely dissipate with a short space of time. A bitter chill breezes through the air, providing little comfort for those fans whose wait has lasted several hours. A merchant plies his trade, painlessly undertaking the distribution of glowsticks. The doors belatedly open, and a steady flow of attendees briskly enter the premises.
My Favourite Pornstar
The customarily late opening bears consequences, the result being that My Favourite Pornstar may roam onto the stage without the benefit of an audience. Irrespective of their specific opinions, the show must go on. Robbed of the opportunity to conduct a soundcheck, the Newport sextet must soldier onwards regardless. Luckily for My Favourite Pornstar, numerous fans dot themselves throughout the venue. By the time the inaugural set tune registers its opening tones, attendance figures approach roughly half their maximum possible levels. Striving to achieve their best under the regrettable circumstances, the audience response proves overwhelming nonetheless. This description especially applies towards the following; an occasion where several t-shirts are freely scattered amongst the avid spectators, and the spontaneous incident where one vocalist's clammy body catapults itself into a writhing sea of onlookers. In the eyes of a casual viewer, the natural assumption would be that My Favourite Pornstar's status has steadily attained loftier heights. In actual fact, My Favourite Pornstar is a budding outfit who ultimately emerged triumphant as part of a Battle of the Bands contest. Their hard fought efforts were justly rewarded, granted an opening slot being granted amongst tonight's bill. My Favourite Pornstar's favoured musical approach isn't a far cry from Welsh counterparts The Blackout, and it wouldn't be much of a surprise if critics inevitably draw comparisons. The glaring similarities prompt no qualms; multiple bystanders proudly wear The Blackout shirts, and members of Merthyr Tydfil's arguably most famous group quietly watch the set.
With the notable exception of two individuals situated near the barrier (who continually heckle throughout), hearty shrieks ascend from each and every active lung. Within seconds of their imminent arrival, a hyperactive demeanour consumes The Blackout's duo frontmen. Vocalist Sean Smith's dynamic leap vaults towards the audience, and brazenly confronts his fellow comrades. Courtesy of the drumkit, fellow vocalist Gavin Butler vigorously springs into the air meanwhile, achieving a distance which eclipses his very height times two. Motionless torsos finally stir into life, embracing a more animated poise compared to that of casual eyewitnesses merely sipping their pints. A wall of death even insidiously bubbles during one specific moment, a primitive manifestation which violently erupts on three other occasions as the night progresses. Indeed, commercially viable Screamo compositions teamed with a hooky chorus may remain a dominant aspect of their repertoire. When truth is held against the cold light of day though, nobody can adequately dispute their unconditional affection towards the life and times of a young, fledgling group. A previous show situated at Cardiff's Solus comprised a lengthier set duration, and a slightly alternative track selection. The choice of venue is inconsequential; whichever shrewd promoter opts to hire The Blackout's services, they undertake that judgment with the distinct knowledge that a passionate, unruly crowd is a virtual guarantee.
A fresh outfit, Watford, UK's Gallows Hardcore Punk act Gallows steadily built a loyal following. Such firm developments were chiefly reliant upon widely acclaimed live encounters. Extreme affairs, mainman Frank Carter always succinctly illustrates his given point. A seemingly strange card in Taste of Chaos' deck, Gallows much favoured Hardcore tendencies sit uncomfortably awkward next to Emo's more homogenized approach. Unfortunately, inaudible vocals blight Carter's initial promise. Adopting a curt, explicit demeanour, Carter's light banter between tracks raises several chuckles. One motive undertakes responsibility for the presence of Gallows, namely the music itself. Wishing to urgently progress, Carter's mind apparently yearns for home. An initially modest reception quickly brightens, due in large part to the fact that Carter zealously demands a colossal circle pit. Within a matter of brief seconds, the crowd faithfully respect Carter's wishes. This fervent passion heartens the jaded spirit to aid the circle pit's increasing momentum, its final gasps of breath drawing the circle pit to an eventual close. Lasting the duration of one whole track, most gradually fade halfway through. A devilish Carter muses that the group's latest stint within Newport's TJs amounted to Gallows' greatest live concert, a fiery comment sure to rile the crowd's unstable emotions. Given the fact that more intimate settings foster a warmer audience rapport, this flippant statement likely holds a note of truth. Carter's demeanour equally boasts a comedic edge, a lighter facet exhibited during the song “In the Belly of a Shark” (from September 2006's Orchestra of Wolves) - he wishes for us to discover a dance partner, and perform the foxtrot. Unsurprisingly, such jovial wishes aren't honoured. Happily, the crowd's riotous streak takes hold yet again. Uniquely rechristened “The Wales of Death”, the fashionable wall of death witnesses its strained muscles oiled further. Whether it be Carter's individual onstage persona, or the guitarist's excursion towards the seated area, tonight's live appearance boasts superior elements. The guitarist's torso thrusts back and forth, his nomadic feet wandering within multiple other places. Abandoning his favoured instrument, he seizes the microphone and wields its clammy head under the mouths of several frenzied onlookers. Unnecessary distortion inevitably harms Gallows' live musical offerings, whereas Carter's vocal contributions remain difficult to grasp. Having said that, their joyous antics supply ample compensation. Toward's the set's eventual conclusion, Gallows surging vigor promises to reach crescendo levels. Unfortunately, time limitations prohibit such huge potential becoming an actual reality. To commemorate their departing moments, the group seethe a cacophonous roar. Understanding the cue, the audience collectively responds with a deafening wail.
A seemingly frosty reception eerily devours the set's lukewarm opening, whilst frontman Wil Francis sports an orthodox Rock poise. Pouring water across the perspiring brows of innocent spectators, Francis screams obscenities. If Francis craves a hyped response, then this customary tactic is his only option. Nonetheless, the defiant behaviour continues. Climbing down the stage towards security personnel, Francis hurls a bottle at the metal barrier. Yet again, the vocalist screeches a host of expletives at the audience. Considering the man's humble stature, Francis airs much angst - this hostile manner ably compliments Aiden's pedestrian Emo whinings. In a vain attempt to inject an extra dose of madness, Francis simply implores all to crowd surf. Numerous individuals lift up the bodies of friends, floating across an ocean of bobbing heads. Still, Francis' abusive language persists. On this specific occasion, the frontman launches into a venomous tirade. Labelling the seated observers “a bunch of lazy motherfuckers”, he also comments that the venue is actually meant to be “a house of fun”. To add an exclamation point to his statements, the singer launches a bottle directly at them. Fortunately, the bottle narrowly misses a person's skull. Francis' attitude is overly toxic, resembling that of a child exploding into fits of rage. Francis makes the flippant remark that “people in the seats will go away thinking the Aiden singer is an asshole”, provoking disparate sniggers. You either passionately love Aiden's material, or vehemently despise it. A copious amount of those seated likely treasured Aiden's music, a fond emotion which has likely grown icily brittle. In keeping with tonight's mythical tradition, yet another wall of death hastily erupts. In comparison to the one which transpires during Gallows' respective set, the wall of death is significantly more tame. This can be attributed to the fact that Gallows musical style isn't sulky, and displays genuine angst. Briefly speaking, Aiden's material simply buckles under the challenge's immense pressure. Once again, Francis preaches. Reeling away a glut of opinions, Francis stresses how “people are here for the music”, “it doesn't matter how many breakdowns we play”, or “if we're singing about chicks”. Indisputably, the average punter can understand how such proclamations apply towards Aiden. Arguably the set's finest cut, it resides within a distinctively heavier background. Healthier than its counterparts, Francis' incessant yelling is relegated to the backburner. Without adamant instigation, the crowd finally stirs.
Amiably cruising onto the stage, Rise Against experience a cordial welcome. When critiqued against tonight's other acts, Rise Against's demeanour is less audacious. More composed, the faction adopt a calmer approach in terms of their live ethic. From singer Tim McIlrath's viewpoint though, the pursuit of leisure and amusement is the primary concern. Constant shifts in gear, teamed with a placid composure, comprise possible theories as to why Rise Against's material alienates certain spectators. Tailored to the supporting role like palm in glove, the Chicagoan conglomerate only seems to note the worries of assured fans. A golden opportunity to accrue new admirers, Rise Against sock this gift horse squarely in the mouth. Longer notes unearth flaws in McIlrath's chords, a weaker aspect which could prosper from the aid of a glass of water. Fatigue may be partially responsible, so a lengthy rest could prove beneficial given McIlrath's chosen vocal delivery. Rise Against push chorus driven tracks, the only appealing facet of their general material overall. Ardent devotees pipe along to each lyric, a loose assortment scattered amongst the cumbersome masses. At certain moments, the crowd's focus evaporates into apathy. In spite of their noble aims, Rise Against's musical strains gradually fade away from the listener's consciousnessas the set treads into its final juncture.
Cardboard caricatures, representing the breadth and depth of American culture, are littered along the stage. Icons from the field of entertainment mainly feature, namely; cartoon legend Mickey Mouse, arch villain Darth Vader, fashion idol Marilyn Monroe and the king of Rock 'N Roll Elvis Presley. These caricatures vastly compliment The Used's chosen backdrop, bearing the affirmation “I awake in the sweat of the American Dream” sprawled across the top. Lifted from third full length Lies for the Liars, 2007 single “The Bird and the Worm” materialises as the set's opening number. A newer composition, opting to choose “The Bird and the Worm” as the set's inaugural track is a courageous decision. The eerie introduction delicately crafts suspense, an appropriate ambience in terms of vocalist Bert McCracken's arrival. A differing manifestation, The Used's mascot tramples across the stage's side section. The mascot earns a jubilant cheer, and it's unquestionably audible that the avid lips of each and every follower can fluently recite those lyrics - that's despite “The Bird and the Worm”'s relative youthfulness as of this moment in time. Garnering a marvelous reception, the audience response surpasses expectations. A delightful aura surrounds McCracken, and the mainman casually invites fans to grace the stage. McCracken harbours a staunch desireto share the experience, and enkindle spates of dancing. Zealous devotees clutter the stage, jittering to “Paralyzed”'s tune. A jolly atmosphere besieges Newport's Centre, and a merry spirit abundantly flows. Whichever track McCracken sings the words to, his overall execution remains potent. Delirious clapping may vibrate during one track, whereas sincere chiming may dominate another. An intoxicated dance, or vicious moshing - you specifically name the activity, and The Used's catalogue boasts an anthem which keenly encourages such a vivacious audience response. Truthfully speaking, merely owning a ticket for tonight's event is evidently the ultimate reward. Gradually, one lucky admirer gains possession of Mickey Mouse's cardboard effigy. In the ruthless bid to gain possession of the item, it's likely that the effigy itself may figure amongst the list of possible casualties. The set's momentary pause lends McCracken an opportunity, more specifically an opportunity to formally introduce his fellow comrades. McCracken licks the facial skin of bassist Jeph Howard, spawning a classic episode for future memories to cherish. “Now do a sick drum solo” instructs drummer Dan Whitesides, and the frontman temporarily pauses. The crowd awaits, although Whitesides resumes a drum fill. McCracken addresses the affectionate crowd, and “Now you do a sick drum solo” he enthuses. People swing their arms in grandiose motions, and imitate air drums. All in all, it's an entertaining spectacle. “Now what’s my name?” McCracken queries, an answer afforded via a host of feminine shrieks. “That’s right, I’m Bert” McCracken acknowledges. A brisk interpretation of Queen's “Another One Bites the Dust” simmers briefly, justly merging into Lies for the Liars third single cut, namely “Pretty Handsome Awkward”. McCracken strokes the bald cranium of a security guard, pursuing a quest for smoothness. Sean Smith of The Blackout supplies McCracken able support during “Wake the Dead”, a menacing rendition which features the ever reliable wall of death. The correct note to finish with, it was a genuinely proficient performance.