Tonight’s triple headline billing of Hoobastank, P.O.D. and Alien Ant Farm is one that is swept up in a sea of nostalgia. Whilst all three have continued to make music past their commercial peak, it’s clear for the many that are in attendance tonight are hear to get their fix of nostalgic alt rock.
Throughout the night their is a smattering of hits and fan favourites from the past. Alien Ant Farm set the standard from the start opening with ‘Wish’ and ‘Movies’. Whilst it maybe easier for them to deliver hit after hit, they use their hour-long set to showcase material from their latest release – ‘Always and Forever’. Songs such as ‘Yellow Pages’ and ‘Let ’em Know’ have a strong favourable pop-rock approach that slots in well alongside older tracks ‘These Days’ and ‘Attitude’. I’ve always thought the bands cover of ‘Smooth Criminal’ hindered their career and although it rounds off tonight’s set, Alien Ant Farm show they’re more than a “one hit wonder”. They’re a band that have a range of catchy rock songs that shouldn’t be ignored. (3.5/5)
Whatever you may think or remember of “nu-metal”, San Diego’s P.O.D. always seemed to be on the more “radio-friendly” side of the genre with their strong Christian values etc. However tonight they come off as heavier and edgier incorporating elements of hardcore, dancehall and punk along the way. Frontman Sonny Sandoval has a commanding presence and has this packed out crowd thrive off his relentless energy. Whilst Marcos Curiel leads the bands musical charge with a swelling riffs and roaring chords. Early airings of ‘Murdered Love’ and ‘Lost In Forever’ allow the five-piece to flex their alt rock chops before ‘Will You’ and ‘Set It Off’ delivers a nostalgic one-two punch of nu-metal. As their energetic set progresses P.O.D.’s sound varies. From the ska-tinged ‘Roots In Stereo’ and ‘Panic & Run’ to the hardcore punk onslaught that is ‘Revolucion’. Whilst its the sincere radio hits ‘Youth of The Nation’ and the soaring ‘Alive’ that get the biggest response of the night. After all this years, the blaring riffs on the latter sound larger-than-life and easily win you over. (3.5/5)
Returning to the UK for their first full tour in over 10 years, California’s Hoobastank don’t waste any time and deliver ‘Crawling In The Dark’ from the start. It’s clear for many that their return is long overdue. Throughout they deliver an array of strong alt rock numbers; with ‘Just One’, ‘Running Away’ and ‘Born To Lead’ showing the quartet’s knack for producing anthemic choruses that demand a response. Performance-wise guitarist Dan Estrin, drummer Chris Hesse and bassist Jesse Charlene hold their own with a tight, dense tone however Doug Robb’s vocals weren’t loud enough and get lost in the mix.
Nevertheless older tracks such as ‘Pieces’, ‘Same Direction’ and ‘Remember Me’ keep the momentum blending alternative metal with distinctive hooks along the way. Before ending the night with an almighty blast of intense hard rock in the form of ‘Out of Control’, the quartet deliver their “mega-hit” ‘The Reason’. Sure it’s cheesy with its ballad-like tone but this doesn’t stop everyone in attendance singing it word-for-word. (3/5)
Whilst some may see all three bands tonight as nostalgic, they all prove they can produce a strong show and pull in a big crowd. All three show they are clearly capable of being “relevant” and have developed their style since their “glory days”.
Words by Sean Reid (@SeanReid86) Photos by Connie Taylor Photography and taken at Koko, Camden, London – 07/05/2015.