“Two beers in, already feels like its one of those nights…”
Finally, back in the UK supporting of their sophomore release ‘Bear Your Mind’, Nashville quintet Free Throw found themselves in the tightly packed walls of Birmingham’s The Sunflower Lounge. Armed with energetic riffs, harsh vocals and contagious sing-alongs, Free Throw brought emo back to Birmingham in style.
Opening the night were locals Rubio, who effortlessly wowed audiences with their tight instrumentation and refreshing melodies. The instrumental experiment gone full fledged alt rock outfit pulled off an impressive balance of ambient guitars, grooving bass lines and smooth vocals making them a definite one to watch on the local side of things. If the likes of American Football, TTNG or Coffee Breath are regularly on your playlists, you might just have a new favourite band!
Up next, hailing from New Jersey were indie four piece Dryjacket, bringing more than just incredibly catchy tunes. After talking with a few fans in the audience it’d seem that these guys are building up quite the fanbase, and its clear to see why! Not only is their playing solid and stage presence energetic but they just have an air of excitement all around them. Never dwelling on moments too long and delivering some pretty hilarious stage banter, Dryjacket are sure to have their time in the spotlight soon and personally, I couldn’t be more excited. These guys are a must listen for any self-respecting indie/emo fan.
Finally, after the two support acts were done warming up the crowd it was time for the main event. Opening with the acoustic ‘Open Window’ Free Throw started things slow. As singer Cory Castro began to spill his words into the room the excitement of the crowd grew more and more intense, as they pushed closer and closer to the stage. Finally, the full band entered the mix with an angst filled roar of sound as eager fans promptly screamed the words back, while others frantically finger pointed towards the front of the small room.
It quickly became clear that Free Throw were in their element, knocking out a number of fun, high energy tracks with the raw passion and unfiltered excitement of a band in their prime. It’s difficult to emphasise how much fun the band are live but seeing tracks like ‘Pallet Town’, ‘Randy, I Am the Liquor’ and ‘Weight on my Chest’ being belted out by both band and audience in a tiny room filled with sweaty music lovers is something that can never be replicated through any type of audio or video.
After a set list filled to the brim with tracks from all across the band’s discography, fans still wanted more. Cries for an encore came before the band had a chance to physically leave the stage, to which the group politely acknowledged and enthusiastically began to man their respective instruments. “I guess I’ve only had one beer” smiled Castro, before leading the band into their final two tracks of the night: ‘Such Luck’ and ‘Two Beers in’.
Free Throw have been slowly building themselves up for a while now and I hope that this short UK run is a sign of things to come. ‘Two Beers in’ live is already one of my favourite live musical memories! Seeing crowd surfers and smiling fans recite the song line by line, word by word is just a sight that every fan should see at least once in their life. There’s no question about it, see this band live or miss out on one of the most exciting up-and-coming emo bands of recent times.