Saturday 18th of April saw the highly anticipated arrival of Lower than Atlantis to Belfast’s Bar Sub.
With masses of fervent fans forming a queue hours before the band was set to arrive there is an air of excitement before we have even entered the venue.
Despite the show being sold out well in advance many fans turned up at the hope of catching even a glimpse of their idols. The band who released their fourth self-titled in October last year has been steadily influencing the music scene with a growing fan base and drive.
Opening the night was Dublin foursome Only Rivals supporting LTA on their Irish dates the quartet do not waste any time getting stuck into their set. With Bar Sub creating the feeling of being a part of an exclusive underground club discovering the hottest new thing it is the perfect setting to find Only Rivals performing. Lead singer Stephen Arkin’s tongue in cheek humour helps stir a somewhat uninterested crowd and with guitarist Jay determined to get the crowd excited they eventually begin to engage. After the success of last year supporting the likes of New Found Glory, All Time Low and Tonight Alive the Only Rivals boys have been garnering quite a lot of attention while building an ardent legion of fans. Concluding their set with the track ‘Borders’ taken from their debut E.P the songs soaring chorus and catchy lyrics prove to be their strongest song of the night and it feels like the band have just warmed up as they leave.
As the temperature in Bar Sub continued to rise things got even hotter as Lower than Atlantis arrived on stage. The chorale chants of LTA from the over eager crowd quickly turned to high pitched screams of delight as the band emerged to the Star Wars theme tune. Wasting no time the band propelled themselves into their first song of the night ‘Criminals’ as a wave of excitement moved effortlessly through the crowd. The authority and attitude of lead singer Mike Duce along with the tracks angst ridden lyrics is the perfect song to introduce the audience to LTA’s infamous antics.
Having sold out most venues on this tour it is a genuine indication of how far Lower than Atlantis have come since their formation in 2007. With their previous album ‘World Record’ not making the impact predicted their self-titled new album has been able to recapture the zeal that has been missing. There is an honest harmony and synchronicity between players with each of them appearing elated to be performing together after everything they have been through as a band.
The overtly pop sounding ‘Emily’ with its infectious melodies has a distinctly summer feel and has the crowd echoing back the lyrics word for word. Singer Duce proves extremely charismatic with his cheeky and somewhat arrogant attitude with members of the crowd amusing him with their rousing banter. Songs such as ‘Ain’t No Friend’ and ’English Kids in America’ display Duce’s indomitable and distinctive vocals and whilst powerful in a venue of this size wouldn’t go a miss in a stadium sized venue. There is a quiet self-assurance that emanates throughout the set from a band who is sitting on their prime giving of a very cool but confident vibe.
With their new album dominating the majority of the set it was an interesting change of pace for the band to return to their visceral punk roots with songs such as ‘Marilyn’s Mansion’ .Serving as a reminder for some of the older fans in the crowd and as an introduction to the newer ones of how far the band has come having evolved both musically and in their performance. Reviving their old punk spirit Duce thrilled members of the audience by encouraging the crowd to form two sides and run around like dick heads.
The stifling heat of the venue caused singer Duce to proclaim that this has been the hottest show of the tour so far. Slowing down the set to play a song about heartbreak the singer was hassled to play the now notorious ‘Wonderwall’ pretending not to be interested the singer continued to serenade the crowd with ‘Another Sad Song’ before launching into a verse of the Oasis classic. The audience was more than ecstatic at the singer’s willingness to engage personally with fans.
Finishing the already remarkable set with their catchiest and most popular song to date ‘Here We Go’ the crowd was jumping from beginning to end. After premiering as Zane Lowe’s hottest record in the world right now there is simply no denying the power of this song. The undeniably catchy and colossal chorus ensures that for day’s maybe even weeks after you have left Bar Sub you will find yourself humming this tune and is an incredible end to a seamless evening. Aine Cronin-McCartney, GiggingNI.com