Against The Current are a band that’s flown under my radar for a while. Possibly because of their landing more on the “pop” side of pop punk… but from looking at what they’ve been up to, they should be worth checking out.
Sitting comfortably on the bills for Slam Dunk and When We Were Young, you can’t really accuse them of being only pop. Tonight they’re at SWG3 (the snug TV studio) and we’re going to see if they can bring the punk too.
The opener for tonight is Call Me Amour and they’re impressively impressive. I’ll do anything to avoid naming Lostprophets in any article, but there is the best parts of their music in this band. There’s also a heavy dose of Papa Roach and some Incubus in there too.
Only three songs in and they bring out Mikey from Mallory Knox for a cameo which doesn’t often happen in Glasgow. Call Me Amour pull out every trick to get this crowd warmed up, including performing a whole song from the middle of the pit and it works. By the end of the set the crowd are well defrosted from the minus zero temperatures they’ve come in from.
This is one of the best openers I’ve seen in some while. *As a little post writing note… I’ve just discovered that this band is fronted by Harry Radford who was the frontman of Glasgow legends Yashin… so there’s that! Also ex-Son of Dork member Danny Hall on drums).
The main support is Lolo. After months of complaining about these bands with no bassist and pop masquerading as punk, I think Lolo has let me coin the best phrase for this music. It’s Cheerleader punk. Don’t for a second think that’s a derogatory term… this genre is growing quicker than any other I’ve seen in the last couple of decades and the fans are rabid over it. My ears are still ringing from the shrill singing along from the crowd, who during this act are mostly young girls.
There’s lots of references that verge on plagerism here… lyrics lifted from The Killers, we get a big chunk of Brain Stew by Green Day (although that may be a cheeky live thing), one song sounds exactly like The Middle by Jimmy Eat World, and there’s the cover of that song a about crashing the car into bridge and not caring… I could go on.
But no one cares. This is music you can dance along to. This is like having Taylor Swift in a tiny room with a punkier backing band. I’m sure I’ve said that it’s not my place to say whether this music is good or not… I’m not the target audience. But for what it’s worth… I think I get it now, and even if I can’t completely relate to it, these fans absolutely can.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned previously as to how easy and lazy it is to compare any band with a girl in it to Paramore… but I’m going to break the rules a little bit here. Yeah, there’s some similarities with the vocals, but that’s not why I’m envoking Williams et al.
The comparison comes from the excitement and electricity that is generated by these musicians walking on the stage. When you live in a world where Paramore has almost become a flogged horse, it’s easy to forget how genuinely exciting it was when they first hit the scene. Against The Current are here to remind us of those times.
Thanks to the aforementioned giants of the genre treading water for years, we’ve not had such an exciting band hit a stage in over a decade. This is what it felt like back then and what I can only imagine it felt like seeing Joan Jett or Siouxsie Sioux back before they became massive.
Yes, there’s other incredible bands out there who are fronted by girls… I still won’t shut up about how good Hot Milk are… but Against The Current seem to tap into that niche audience with a little bit more precision. Where Hot Milk have a broad appeal to all those pop punk and emo… ATC is all about the poppy, younger crowd.
I don’t need to be younger or poppy to see how excited these fans are to be here. I’d err on the side of caution when using the term “punk’ with ATC as it may be a bit far removed from their style, but this is as about as punk as a pop gig can get and proves that pop shows now come with teeth and claws. Although I’m not going to regularly load up on Blue WKD and dance my way through shows like this, there’s millions who would…and probably will in the future.
Photos by Catching Light Photography