Friday the 13th may be notoriously unlucky but not for the music scene in Watford this April. The superstitious evening
usaw the born and bred alt-rockers, Lower Than Atlantis, grace the town for a glorious return to their home turf in Watford’s biggest venue.
The first band took to the stage as fans filtered into the crowd. This tour has seen the Australian quartet, The Faim, embark on their UK live debut. Despite having the daunting task of opening the show, the Aussies left a lasting impact on the Hertfordshire crowd, well demonstrating the scope of their talent, and I look forward to seeing them ascend the bill to a headline slot shortly.
Next to the stage were Milk Teeth, who underwent a line-up reshuffle, with lead vocalist Becky Blomfield unfortunately leaving the tour to take some time for her mental health. The band and fans alike were sure to outpour their heartfelt support and understanding during her absence. In spite of the setback, Milk Teeth preserved with Billy Hutton, usually more at home behind the strings, assuming centre stage to ensure that show went on. With only a day to prepare the set-list, Rhys Griffiths, the bands guitar tech also stepped up to play an ambitious set to an attentive crowd.
Onto the main event, Lower Than Atlantis barrelled onto the stage full throttle, plunging straight into ‘Had Enough’, the boisterous opening track on their latest album, Safe In Sound. With the crowd suitably riled, the tempo was high as they steamed through tracks, with a setlist weaved with songs from their last two albums for the first part of the performance; similarly, punchy tunes, much to the crowd’s appreciation. With ‘Emily’ audibly receiving plenty of adulation, as any song endearingly laden with dog puns written in tribute to a pet should do.
As promised, the band delved deep back into the archives and pulled out the titular track to their debut album ‘Far Q’, much to the bewilderment to fans joining the bands journey post 2010 but certainly appreciated by the crowd members who have watched this local act from conception. From the heady energy of their post-hardcore track, Mike Duce, lead vocalist, grabbed an acoustic guitar and headed into the pit, which parted upon his request, to play some “fucking emotional shit”. Although, the intimate moment was bought to an abrupt anti-climactic conclusion, with what only can be described as a diva moment. Duce threw out some choice words into the crowd and declared that we had “ruined it for ourselves” as he was lifted back over the barriers. It wasn’t clear what had triggered this response, but it was followed by disgruntled shouts and a distinct lull in the momentum of the show. Following the animosity, a sense of hostility and disappointment was felt as the band transitioned into ‘Love Someone Else’ with the crowd far less engaged than previously.
The band attempted to make up for the gap in the set and combat the diminished enthusiasm by initiating an impromptu drinking game, demanding fans neck their pints as they did the same. With the spirits of the room lifted by binge drinking, they continued to relentlessly charge through the setlist and the chastised crowd didn’t pout for too long. Despite pitching the tour as playing tracks from all 5 albums, their breakout album World Record was neglected, after ‘Another Sad Song’ was dramatically stricken from the setlist, ‘Beech Like The Tree’ remained the stand alone appearance off the album.
The encore rounded the show off on a high, with ‘English Kids In America’ a quintessential summer rock anthem and an undeniable crowd pleaser, followed by ‘Here We Go’ and with that, the eventful show drew to a close. Fans channelled out of the venue, usually more accustomed to hosting orchestras, hopefully re-establishing Watford as a gig-worthy town and encouraging more artists to embark upon it.By Kat Ferris