For what is a first for Music On The Mind, we have a guest review from Calum Fuller! It’s top-notch stuff.
It’s been a full four years since Lostprophets last released an album. You would be forgiven for thinking that they will have fallen off the country’s musical radar as a result of such an unseemly gap in their output. They haven’t, though. They’ve stuck around, and with the repeatedly delayed album The Betrayed seemingly imminent, I was intrigued to see how the 5-piece had evolved in that time. By happy accident, it turned out to be their last gig of the decade, something which provided singer Ian Watkins and guitarist Lee Gaze plenty of comic relief.
The band’s rise to fame was somewhat meteoric after the release of their debut album Fakesoundofprogress saw them catapulted from Pontypridd to every TV studio, radio station and magazine cover in the UK. That rapid rise brought with it the branding ‘emo’ and accusations of selling out, something they’ve never quite managed to shake off.
I arrived at Lincoln’s Engine Shed to find a queue snaking from its entrance on the city’s university campus into the rain-soaked street. Already an atmosphere was building, the anticipation was almost tangible. For all their teen angst and somewhat irritatingly preened hair, the Welsh rockers have a healthy reputation as live performers, and I was far from disappointed by the riff-heavy, anthemic show that we’ve grown accustomed to over the years.
Opening the show were London-based Young Guns, who were well-received by the capacity crowd. Their angular, distorted riffery and high-pitched vocals casted more than cursive nods towards Funeral For A Friend, Saosin and other luminaries.
With the crowd suitably warmed up, following the world’s poorest attempt at a Wall of Death ever – separating the crowd by a mere foot – Lostprophets took to the stage and immediately set about whipping the crowd up into a frenzy with a mix of crowd pleasers and new material. The ensuing chaos caused by Make A Move and A Town Called Hypocrisy ensured that my ankles and face received a hefty twatting from the flailing limbs of the crazed fans around me.
Before I saw them in Birmingham, it’s safe to say I was somewhat underwhelmed by Lostprophets’ output, and to this day, they would struggle to make it onto my Desert Island Discs selections. That’s not the point, though. The fact is, whether you like it or not, Ian Watkins and his pals can work a crowd. The maelstrom of pumping fists induced by Last Train Home, Rooftops and Everyday Combat was impressive, but the reaction to Shinobi vs Dragon Ninja was nothing short of savage. Watkins borrowed Slipknot’s everybody-hit-the-floor tactic, before demanding that everyone launch themselves into the air when the song kicked in. The effect was truly insane, with every single person in the venue moshing blindly into one another, all grinning manically.
Predictably, they rounded the night off with 2003 hit, Burn, Burn, sparking more scenes of wildly windmilling arms and crazed fans singing themselves hoarse. It was an impressive sight. They may not be the most groundbreaking of bands, but Lostprophets sure-as-hell know how to put on a show.