Live Review: Tonight Alive @ Amsterdam Melkweg – 16.8.2014

Last night, Australian pop-punk quintet Tonight Alive played the second show on their brief European summer tour, at the Melkweg in Amsterdam. The show serves as part of a short summer tour, taking in solo shows in Holland and festival shows at Belgium’s Pukkelpop and England’s Reading & Leeds Festivals. Support last night came from Cambridge quintet Mallory Knox, as both bands played to a wholly undersold Oude Zaal on a breezy Saturday night.

Mikey Chapman-fronted Mallory Knox took to the stage just after 8pm, playing a 30-minute set comprising of songs from their debut album Signals, as well as their upcoming record Asymmetry. New single Ghost in the Mirror proved one of the standout tracks in the set, as the whole band displayed huge bundles of energy whilst interacting with the excitable, 300-strong crowd. Closing on the anthemic Lighthouse, Mallory Knox proved that they had all the capabilities of becoming a massive band in the near future. They knew exactly how to keep the crowd bouncing and singing along, preparing them perfectly for what was about to come. Don’t be surprised if you hear much more of Mallory Knox in the future.

Tonight Alive followed a short 30 minutes later, opening their 13-song set with The Edge, taken from the soundtrack of The Amazing Spiderman 2. The song kicks off with Whakaio Taahi’s signature riff, before a classic pop-punk verse leads into a big, gloomy chorus in which Jenna McDougall exclaims “I need you to save me, I’m too close to breaking”. As the lights faded out, eardrum-shattering screams erupted throughout the venue from the moment McDougall introduced The Ocean. Opening with a similar riff to The Edge, jangly chords and tribal-esque drums in the verses make way for another big chorus which saw the whole band jumping and running around stage like an excited child in a playground. The crowd, whom consisted largely of teenage girls, engaged with every single song as they sang back every single word, much to the shock of McDougall who, at one point, almost squealed in happiness. Don’t Wish slowed the pace down a bit with a slow, guitar-led intro before the verse sped up proceedings for another classic pop-punk chorus. Hell and Back followed a similar lead with a tapped drum intro and lovelorn lyrics, something which is present in many of the bands’ lyrics. Its chorus made for the first hands-in-the-air moment of the evening, before Bathwater portrayed a darker side of the band in its gloomy chorus. Towards the end of the song, the intensity in the vocals builds up before breaking down bit-by-bit as each instrument fades out simultaneously.

Older cut Wasting Away was the first big moment of the night, with its memorable chorus of “and so the sky becomes a dream, I never dreamt because I’m too busy waiting for nothing, and wasting away” seeing the crowd start the first, albeit small, moshpit of the evening. As the song built up, McDougall held the microphone out to the crowd as they sang every word back to her, as she looked back in bewilderment. What Are You So Scared Of? followed with the same winning pop-punk formula seen many times before, as the band swiftly left the stage at its close. A few seconds later, McDougall re-emerged on stage with an acoustic guitar, as she told the crowd that she was about to play an acoustic version of fan favourite Amelia, something which they had only done once before. Garnering what was probably the strongest crowd reaction of the night thus far, Amelia’s sweet guitar chords made way for the rest of the band as they launched into The Other Side, from their 2013 album of the same name. Strummed guitars and hand-clap drums made way for a slower chorus, with following track Listening picking up the pace.

With the show nearing its end a mere 10 songs in, the band showed no signs of stopping as they engaged in crowd interaction for the whole duration of the show. Complexes saw another big sing-a-long, before penultimate track The Fire featured another small moshpit. By the time final track Lonely Girl, complete with a killer riff and epic chorus, came to an end, the show was over after a disappointingly short 50 minutes. It was an energetic and powerful show by all means, but did seem way too short considering that the band had roughly 40 songs at their disposal (including their fantastic cover of Mumford & Sons’ Little Lion Man). As the band left the stage to cheers, chants of “we want more” and “encore! encore!” were eventually drowned out by the sounds of Paul Simon’s classic Graceland album being played through the PA.

With a new album due in 2015, it’s definitely expected that Tonight Alive will come back and hopefully sell out a bigger venue that the tonight’s show, for which 450 tickets sadly went unsold. Tonight, the band (yet again accompanied by Mallory Knox) plays the Dynamo in Eindhoven before ending their tour with Main Stage sets at both Reading & Leeds Festivals next weekend.

For more pictures from this show, click here