Did They Pull It Off?
It's relieving to know that the hordes of 12 year olds queued outside the venue are actually here for a totally different event - some would call me a cynic if I was to suggest that they were here to see Charlie from Busted. Let's be honest though, and get this out the way first, everyone is curious about Charlie giving up a multi-million pound job to come and play at some of the country's smaller, more intimate venues without the luxuries of a Wembley Arena dressing room. A lot of people have already made their minds up on this one - but as the 12 year olds enter their teenage club night it leaves an eclectic mix of people left to watch Fighstar and almost everyone is here for the same reason. Curiosity.
The area in front of the stage actually thins out as Fightstar prepare to take to the stage for their 40 minute fight to prove themselves against an audience in doubt. Someone on my left mutters "are these guys for real?". Any band coming up against that on their first tour is going to have to put on the show of their life. Sure they have a polished video, a great sound on CD and some large shiny amps but that's all what money can buy. It's time to see whether they've got the stuff to play live and to see their career-defining tour unfurl in front of a few hundred people in Birmingham.
The pressure is on and Fightstar perform admirably. There are some screaming fans here - the shrill screams from a bunch of 12 year olds do make you raise an eyebrow but that aside Fightstar are a good band, they play together well and they do their genre proud. Don't expect neck-tingling moments of axe work or genre-straddling musical brilliance - but if you're looking for a tight, well-practiced and new band to fit in a box somewhere between your post-hardcore and emo boxes then Fightstar will certainly suit you.
They play well, they have an okay sound but that's it. There is nothing captivating or awe-inspiring about their performance and they seem no better than Hollywood Ending, their support - if anything they don't seem to have the same passion. The only actual musical qualm is that Charlie's voice doesn't seem suited to some of his vocal work where, perhaps, a more brutal voice would be better suited.
You might want to hate Fightstar- but don't. Whilst they're nothing amazing the criticism piling up against them is, mostly, unjust. This is their first real tour and their first real material. Check them out and see for yourselves - you may be surprised.