The Maine (★★★) after fifteen minutes of sound checking that hasn’t quite paid off – frontman John O’Callaghan’s vocals are barely more than a whisper during opening track Run but the crowd don’t seem to mind one bit when they follow up with Right Girl and Misery. It’s a little jarring to hear familiar songs played so very differently to how they sound on the album, but it makes for a more unique experience. Mid set their on-stage banter goes off on a tangent explaining that Sad Songs was inspired by a Newcastle Taxi driver. Which they then play, followed by sophomore album Black & White track Growing Up before closing with Life Like This.
Former The Academy Is frontman William Beckett (★★★★) has managed to make a name for himself as a solo artist with his acoustic guitar and his security blanket the ‘band in a box’ – a laptop full of the EP and albums backing tracks to bring the full band experience to his live shows. After opening his set with Compromising Me he decides a more dramatic intro was required and takes his leave, returning to laughter and applause for his entertaining Real Slim Shady mashup.
Before the set resumes with tracks such as Stuck in Love and Cracks in the Ceiling which invite some brilliant group harmonies from the crowd of Rock City Basement. While William’s vocals are for the most part excellent, the band in a box proves to be an unwelcome distraction when really the man and his guitar would be more enjoyable. The set draws to a close with About a Girl which he introduces as The Academy Is’ most successful song…in Chile, before closing with fan-favourite Benny and Joon.
Kids in Glass Houses (★★★★) are well into their set by the time we get in and the Forum is a jam packed sweaty mess. That’s the trouble when a band announce they’re disbanding – everyone wants to see them one final time. It makes you wonder if people were this passionate all the time less bands would probably call it a day. They fill their set with tracks from across their discography including Give Me What I Want, Peace and Matters at All, and remind us all that they embark on their final UK tour later this year. It’s not going to be a show you want to miss.
With the Basement having already reached reach capacity for The Blackout (we can see Sean Smith climbing all over the bar and we’re not surprised in the slightest) we make our way upstairs for the festival closer, none other than New York alt-rockers Brand New (★★★). When the lights dim a few minutes early the crowd go wild in anticipation before the quartet make their way onto the smoky dark stage for an instrumental jam session.
While the crowd are into tracks from Devil & God and Daisy they’re lost on this writer until four tracks in with The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows. Jesse Lacey sounds like he’s been gargling glass but nostalgia takes over and it lifts the atmosphere of the crowd considerably as they work an exceptional 20 minute early 2000s flashback that includes Sic Transit Gloria, Okay I Believe You but My Tommy Gun Don’t and Seventy Times 7 before returning to newer material and making the best decision ever by closing with the epic singalong that is Soco Amaretto Lime.