The Story So Far and Citizen, 02 Institute, Birmingham

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Sunday’s are usually a quiet night for some.

But not for fans of The Story So Far, who took to Birmingham’s o2 Institute for an evening of fully fledged pop-punk.

The highly anticipated line-up consisted of All Get Out and (much to the delight of fans) Citizen, creating an evening that flowed seamlessly with plenty of energy.

Citizen

After All Get Out opening the show and setting a high bar, it was clear that fans were ready for Citizen to grace the stage. The emo quintet took to the stage to a large round of cheers and applause, kicking in to their first song “Roam the Room”. Within moments they had the crowd moving, with lyrics being screamed back to frontman Mat Kerekes.

Citizen are renowned for their tone-filled riffs (courtesy of bassist Eric Hamm) and memorable lyrics, and this came across in their 35-minute set. Regardless of the relatively short amount of time they had, the band still took this to their full advantage – playing songs that covered the best of their discography, with their carefully developed latest album “As You Please” creating half of the set list.

Whilst only being three songs in to their set, the crowd showed they were restless for more. As the bassline for ‘Fever Days’ got the crowd roaring, it really showed how Citizen had advanced over the course of their discography. Personally, ‘Fever Days’ almost sums up what Citizen consists of – large, beefy bass tones, gritty vocals and catchy hooks. Kerekes had no issue letting the audience scream some of the lyrics back to him, and his confidence was not misplaced. A small smirk appeared on his face as he continued – it was clear that the audience were entranced by their performance and they weren’t letting go any time soon. As ‘Fever Days’ finished, it flowed perfectly in to the choir sample of ‘In the Middle of It All’.

Now, it wouldn’t have been a full Citizen set if the band hadn’t included their most notorious track ‘The Night I Drove Alone’. With the hauntingly notable lyrics, it was no wonder that this song gained the most reaction. As the room sang in unison “and I should have crashed the car, the night I drove alone”, there were shivers. As the song kicked in, kids had their arms around their friends, basking in the moment – a real moment to behold.

As their set concluded, Citizen played the one and only song off of “Everybody is Going to Heaven” throughout their whole set, ‘Numb Yourself’, before finishing off with ‘Jet’ from the latest album. The crowd had been hanging on to their every word, and it was obvious that they wanted more. Here’s hoping that Citizen come back for a headline UK tour in the near future.

The Story So Far

With Citizen leaving the crowd excited, it was time for The Story So Far to take to the stage. Since the release of their new album “Proper Dose” having left fans excited for these run of shows, of course the band were going to get a large reception as they entered. The first noticeable thing as the band entered was front man Parker Cannon wearing a large trench coat, a questionable decision but an interesting one nonetheless. Hitting straight in to their first song of the night ‘Nerve’, the audience showed they were ready to give as much of their energy to The Story So Far as they did to Citizen. Although Cannon was not one for energetically bouncing around the stage (potentially explaining the large coat), his singing more than made up for it – sounding exactly how he did on record, if not better. And what Cannon lacked in movement, the crowd more than made up for it, with crowd surfers slowly making their way over the barrier.

The Story So Far’s set list was almost a fans dream come true, mingling in enough old songs to please the fans who had been there from the start, in amongst the new to please everyone. Within the first three songs, the band had played ‘Nerve’ from their self-titled, ‘Proper Dose’ from the newest album, and ‘Things I Can’t Change’ from their 2013 album “What You Don’t See”, yet they worked so well together. It was unique to watch a band successfully put together a set list that not only contained some of their best songs from their discography, but to pull it together so effortlessly and flawlessly was really something else.

Throughout the evening, the crowd needed no encouragement to continue moving throughout the evening, as band and fans seemed to enjoy every moment. Older songs such as ‘The Glass’, ‘Roam’, and ‘Empty Space’ were performed as polished as newer songs such as ‘Out of It’, ‘Let it Go’ and ‘Keep This Up’. The main set came to a close with ‘Quicksand’, sending the crowd in to one last frenzy before they asked for more. As the band entered for one more song, it confused a few people that their choice of encore was ‘Clairvoyant’, one of the bands more slower songs. Regardless, it still had the fans singing along, putting a subtle close on a high-paced night.

The night was a visionary of how a band should mature in terms of their sound and performance – although it was expected that a pop-punk band should be rushing about the stage manically, The Story So Far proved that this was not necessarily the case. Playing the main room of the Birmingham Institute, focusing more on their sound rather than who could move around the most, all the while keeping their audience engaged.

Short person who hails from the South but living in the North. I drink too much caffeine, spend too much money on gigs and I enjoy taking photos!

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