Worst Acts to See Live

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The Pretty Reckless

Imagine it. It’s 2o14. You’re 15 an about to see your then favourite band, Fall Out Boy, at one of your first big arena concerts. You’re near enough shaking with excitement, but you’ve got to get through the two opening acts first. The first is great; New Politics, good ol’ pop-punk wrapped up in a modern day wrapper. The next act? Not so much.

If you’re kind of familiar with The Pretty Reckless, the oncoming music tidal wave that’s about to hit you; the lead singer is that girl from The Grinch, right? The lights go down, the set begins without warning, and you watch in confused curiosity as a woman takes to the centre of the stage in a single spotlight. She moans into a microphone for about 10 minutes. Yup, no music in the background, just a spotlight and weird moaning (extra bonus points; you’re at this concert with your mum, and feel MASSIVELY uncomfortable).

People actually start to jeer and get up to get a drink at the bar, knowing that this set isn’t something to stick around for. You stay on, and are greeted with a set consisting of further moaning, the occasional discernible word, and a backing track of heavy, off-beat drums and the occasional guitar twang. Your seating block is near empty by the end of the set from the sheer amount of people who left out of pure second-hand embarrassment. The Pretty Reckless leave the stage without saying much, and you spend the next 20 mins sat thinking what the hell did I just witness. 6 years on, it’s still easily the weirdest and worst set that I’ve ever had to suffer through. – Alice Fortt

The Vaccines

The Vaccines are a British indie band who have gathered a lot of rep over the span of their career. With four studio albums under their belt, they have quite the range of impressive and catchy tracks. Unfortunately, their music did not live up to its standards at their live performance at Southampton’s Guildhall last year.

Opening with ‘Your Love Is My Favourite Band’, the crowd were visibly and audibly excited. This energy was replicated on stage by the band, but unfortunately this is as successful as the night got.

As each song began, they all seemed to blend into one in my head. Perhaps this was due to the fact I’m not entirely familiar with every single song of theirs, but none really stood out. Unlike most other gigs I attend, there was no sudden moment of happiness – I’m experiencing the wonder of live music in the most happy, communal space. Instead, the audience around me weren’t very respectful as they spent all evening drunkenly pushing past me from the bar area.

However unenjoyable the main set was, it was the encore which I was most excited for. My favourite track of theirs is ‘Nightclub’, and it seems like it was many others’ too, judging by the noise and excitement from the audience at the opening guitar riffs. Unfortunately, the noise of the audience completely drowned out lead singer, Justin Young’s, vocals and all I could hear were screams with the occasional drum beat. It was one of the most underwhelming moments I’ve ever had at a gig, and no fault of the band at all. I was simply just stood in the wrong place of the room, surrounded by too many people, to hear its quality.

I’m sure The Vaccines put on an amazing show, with their plethora of catchy tunes and their clear passionate energy on stage, but unfortunately my experience was dampened by other gig-goers. – Georgie Holmes

Pale Waves

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with what Pale Waves sound like live. In fact, Heather Baron-Gracie sounds incredible in person and I would never take that away from her. However, seeing them live made me realise just how similar all their songs sound. To say the very least, I was disappointed but not surprised considering I reviewed their album, My Mind Makes Noises, for The Edge. Of course this argument can also be made for The 1975, but that is an article for another day.

I used to work for Southampton O2 Guildhall and got free staff tickets to watch the band live. I was excited since I had got on the hype train about them, but they disappointed me massively. Their opening acts – Swimming Girls and King Nun – set up the night to be electrifying… only for it to fall flat. The opening acts were WAY better than Pale Waves. The opening acts were able to get people to bounce along and spark the energy, whereas Pale Waves, not so much. The opening acts were making use of the whole stage, crafting their stage presence – Pale Waves just stood still, that’s what made it disappointing. They have the talent… but not the persona to engage everyone in a crowd.

Admittedly, I stayed for ‘Heavenly’ to be played and then left… at 8.45pm. The concert finished at 9pm anyway so it’s not like I missed much. – Jo Lisney

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records editor 2020/21 !! 3rd year film and english student. can be often found arguing about costuming in the avenue cafe or crying into a beefy novel in hartley

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Live Editor 2019/20 & second year English student. Can usually be found procrastinating my degree at a gig, or trying (and failing) to complete my Goodreads challenge

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Buzzing like a busy bee as the live editor 2020/21. You will often find me asleep when I should be doing my English degree. Oops!

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