Live Review: WSTR, Milestones, Where There’s Life and Spoke Too Soon – Opium, Edinburgh – 25/10/2016

Despite debut album ‘Red, Green, or Inbetween’ not set to be released until January, there are no breaks on the WSTR train. Their rapid ascent to the summit of the burgeoning UK pop-punk scene is due to no small amount of hard work, and another eleven-date run beckons. A first visit to Edinburgh awaited the Liverpudlians on night two.

Opium’s cramped, dark, sweaty upstairs has seen countless local acts akin to the first two here, and Spoke Too Soon provide a tuneful injection of punky energy to the initially subdued crowd. Their emo-tinged numbers bring to mind what Fall Out Boy might have sounded like had they been born in central Scotland – and their intelligent guitar interplay makes for a solid opening to the night. (3/5)

Where There’s Life’s live show is a far more complete affair however, their confident performance arguably deserving of the main support slot on the night . Their well-crafted songs are characterised by a clear Edinburgh twang, freshening the familiar blend of pop-punk and post-hardcore. A small but enthusiastic group of fans are present, indicative of an already established presence in the local scene. While A Day To Remember are the first comparison that comes to mind, Where There’s Life may just be a name to remember. (4/5)

Billed as tour special guests, Milestones follow in the footsteps of WSTR in the employing of American accents on homegrown pop-punk . This phenomenon attracts widespread criticism, but the band to whom Milestones seem most indebted to, You Me At Six, haven’t exactly done badly since arguably pioneering the sound. With only released their debut EP in their arsenal and a full-length on the way, Milestones will hope that come this time next year, they will also follow WSTR’s lead in rising to the forefront of the genre in Britain. While their songs are neither as anthemic nor as refined as the headliners’, the potential is certainly there. (3/5)

WSTR emerge from a fire-exit and don’t look altogether surprised to meet a not-quite-full room. It’s easy to forget that this group released their first single scarcely eighteen months ago, given their onstage confidence and assuredly tight performance. Many a fledgling act can only dream of performing to audiences this size, and the riotous greeting to opener ‘Fair Weather’ is evidence of how ardent a fanbase it is.

Three new songs are given outings – the already released ‘Lonely Smiles’ and ‘Footprints’, and the gloriously titled ‘Gobshite’. Both the former are remarkably shouted back at Sammy Clifford with gusto, despite having only appeared online a matter of weeks ago. The long-haired frontman grins from ear to ear, and you sense he knows something only the five lads on stage do – that there is a lot more where they came from on ‘Red, Green or Inbetween’.

The remainder of the relatively short set is comprised of tracks from debut EP ‘Skrwd’, and the closing salvo of ‘Graveyard Shift’ and a rousing ‘South Drive’ is emphatic. Some crowd surfed, some yelled word for word, some kept their distance, newly purchased t-shirt in hand. But all could surely agree that come a year from now – maybe two – WSTR will be gracing venues five times this size. (4/5)

4/5

Words by Peter Stewart (@pstewart0)

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