California-based rockers Alien Ant Farm arrived on the not-so-sunny south coast of England on a bitterly cold evening to play Bournemouth’s Old Fire Station. The show was the penultimate stop of the UK-leg of the ‘Anthology’ tour, named in homage to their highly successful sophomore record.
The Old Fire Station was sold out and packed to the rafters with reminiscing rock fans, with the average age in the 30 – 40 region. Despite there being so many people though, there was no atmosphere whatsoever. Essex-based quartet InMe took to the stage at around eight o’clock to try and rev up the crowd, but they unfortunately failed. This is by no means a reflection of their performance however, as they delved into their extensive back catalogue to produce a half-decent nine track set. Unfortunately for live shows, it is the atmosphere that makes it, and there was just a severe lack of one.
Even when the main attraction made their appearance, there was very little reaction from those in attendance. This was a massive shame because Alien Ant Farm put on a great performance, with the group sounding almost identical to how they sound on a record – an impressive feat for a group that have passed their peak. They made their way through Anthology impeccably, with frontman Dryden Mitchell trying his best to interact with the crowd, but ultimately failing due to the lack of response. He did bring the tone down further for a short while whilst he told how him and his mum are in the middle of an awful fight at the moment, prompting an even more awkward silence from the Bournemouth crowd before playing “her favourite song in the world”, ‘Attitude’.
The popular tracks from the Anthology record, ‘Courage’, ‘Movies’, and the aforementioned ‘Attitude’ managed to evoke some kind of reaction from fans, with some faintly being heard singing along, but that’s as much as they gave until the final song of the encore. Alien Ant Farm released a cover of Michael Jackson’s ‘Smooth Criminal’ on the record, with the single version peaking at number five in the UK singles chart, five places above what the original was able to achieve.
The anthem got everyone bopping up and down, at long last, and singing along at the top of their voices. It may have been too little too late from the crowd, but Alien Ant Farm did themselves proud and showed that even though their best material may be far behind them, their ability to perform live certainly is not.