It was a Monday night in the centre of Bath where the pavement outside of Komedia had become a shrine for the youth of the city. In an elongated queue stood the fans of tonight’s performers,Lower Than Atlantis.
As the doors finally opened, everyone piled in with many heading straight for the merchandise before entering one of Bath’s finest auditoriums. Not only has Komedia been a cinema within the city, it has also hosted nights for top comedians like Mel & Sue and bands such as Reef.
First up on stage were The Faim, a young 4-piece band from Australia who are supporting Lower Than Atlantis during their UK tour as well as a few dates back in Oz. The start of the set began with an ear-piercing rumble of bass that pulsated through the crowd as the lights dimmed and the band got on stage. A lively and energetic bunch of guys for a support band, with singer Josh Raven giving his all from the offset with his smooth and silky vocals much like that of Patrick Stump. This guy had charisma and he certainly made his presence known in a short space of time. With some cracking drums and harmonious backing vocals, Josh enticed the crowd to raise their hands and jump as he bowed over them. By the end of the set, the room had become crammed with more fans waiting for the next support act, even filling up the gangways down to the front of the stage.
After a few technical hitches, the stage was ready for the next support band, Milk Teeth; a local band based in Stroud who hit the crowd up with some thrashy skate punk tunes. Led by front man and guitarist Billy Hutton, these guys knew how to party. Stating that it was written into his contract to get the crowd warmed up, it didn’t take long for the crowd to pull together and get shifted in between plenty of interaction. The sound became more raucous with some torrential drumming and power chords as their set drew to a close. Milk Teeth definitely made their mark and a band to keep your eyes peeled for.
Whilst the stage was cleared in preparation for Lower Than Atlantis, the crowd got tighter as they watched the techs on stage tune up and check sound levels. There was the feeling of anticipation amongst the security staff by the stage as they filled cups of water and placed them strategically under the crowd barrier. A few more security guards rocked up and after a lot of hollering in each others ears whilst the crowd sang along to A-Ha’s ‘Take on Me’, they stood in a regimental line to construct a human barrier that was ready for carnage.
The room turned dark, then the back of the stage was lit with a curtain of white light that draped over the dry ice. Eddy Thrower took the stage and placed himself behind his drum kit and pummelled the kick drum that detonated a succession of strobe lights. As the lights turned ice cold, the rest of the band got on stage and seized hold of their guitars. The scene was set for the rest of the night as singer and guitarist Mike Duce took centre stage and stood on one of the platforms as the crowd applauded. First track was ‘Had Enough’, also track one on their Top 10 album Safe in Sound which instantly got the crowd rocking. With the mass of the crowd being formed by young blood, it was perceptible that the night was about to get even more vivacious.
Duce had a crack at getting the crowd to clear a circle in which he would shortly join and become the focal point for worshipping fans. As he flogged his guitar, the crowd turned into a saturnalia of utter frenziness before he returned to the stage, telling the crowd how much he ‘fucking loved’ them all.
After a couple more tracks from their latest album, Duce invited the crowd to sing a verse of ‘Happy Birthday’ to a guy on the merchandise stand who willingly made his way through them to be presented with a birthday cake. Everyone cheered and the set continued with Duce uniting with the crowd once more to sing an acoustic version of ‘Another Sad Song’. Everyone sat down around him like kids at a school assembly and watched, many taking the opportunity to capture this intimate yet unique performance on a parade of mobile phones. This was what the night was all about and any fans dream.
As the night livened back up with some rip-roaring tunes, the circle that had been created in the middle of the crowd had now become a pit of fervent perspiring youths.
In between copious amounts of crowd surfing, Duce swigged from a can and spoke of his appreciation for 11 years of support before hurling the can into the crowd. The set was over after an hour and the evening had reached its peak. But as they left the stage with the crowd chanting ‘2 more songs’, the band were back on stage in a flash.
Finishing the encore with ‘Here we go’, drummer Eddy Thrower wrapped up with a penetrating drum solo as Duce reappeared with this guitar at the rear of the auditorium, stood on a narrow wall above the sound desk. Everyone turned and watched, holding their phones in the air as he walked around the perimeter. He then launched himself into the embracing hands of the hungry pack of fans that were beneath him. He was the bait, and they had well and truly caught him.
A final hysterical moment saw the band performing a couple of verses of Electric Sixes ‘Gay Bar’ as Duce firmly gripped his guitar whilst being passed over heads in the crowd back onto the stage. He was on top form tonight. In fact, the whole damn band were. Tonight wasn’t just about watching and listening to a rock band from Hertfordshire. This was about a band that not only oozed in musical genius, but showed devotion to their fans by giving them a night to remember.
Review and Photography by Emma Painter
Pacific Curd Photography