REVIEW: Tonight Alive @ Rydges CBD Bar

Unfortunately, things didn’t quite go to plan for Kiama kids Critics – (formerly The Polaroid People) the band’s soundcheck was rushed, leaving a terrible mix for the most part of their set. It probably didn’t help that guitarist Matt Lewis had his amp screwing up constantly, let alone the fact he had a snapped string three-quarters into the set. Still, their new material is sounding promising amidst that mess – perhaps a better time will come to hear it properly.

Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. It feels like The Conspiracy Plan have been the supporting players for far too long of their careers. It’s hard to pinpoint what it is that’s been holding them back, as it’s certainly got nothing to do with the performances themselves. Glenn Haworth is a charming, down-to-earth frontman, surrounded by a trio of similarly enthusiastic and talented musicians. They play upbeat pop-punk that’s not too demanding and quite easy to engage with. They’ve got a fun-loving crowd gathered for them, and Haworth is nice enough to give individual shout-outs to every band that plays. So what’s the problem? Too nice? Too predictable? Who knows? All we can say for now is that it’s a damn shame that The Conspiracy Plan haven’t been given their due yet.

Conversely, the hard slog as support act has more than paid off for Tonight Alive – this evening is their first-ever headline show in Wollongong, after opening up for acts like Fireworks and Amy Meredith in the meantime. They have evolved into a tight, cohesive unit as a band, confident through each movement of the set and determined to uncross even the most folded of arms. Whether it’s their now-customary take on Rufio’s “In My Eyes” sending the crowd into a frenzy, or new tracks like “Starlight” or “Fake It” making their impression, the quintet deliver a set of solid, driving tunes that have developed significantly into their own style. Jenna McDougall is practically irrepressible as a frontwoman, ensuring her audience keeps up with the band and that everyone stays on the same energy level. The rest of the band also works together in a solid, workman-like fashion, with major love thrown to drummer Matt Best, who is South Coast born and bred. A homecoming of sorts certainly didn’t hinder his performance.

In the past, they’ve been hit and miss, but tonight presents itself as a major turning point for the band as they move into the headliner spolight. It’s no longer an issue of comparing the group to other bands – especially when they’ve been working so hard at not being “the next Paramore,” but rather the current Tonight Alive. It’s time to get on board.

Review by: David Young (see his music video blog: Yes! We Got A Video)


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