Proving They Still Know How To Kill The Old Way
From the main stage of Download to the Birmingham Academy, Lostprophets certainly know how to take things to the extremes. Plunging the venue into darkness, it’s the strains of Aiden’s Lost Boys cover ‘Cry Little Sister’ that is left to echo around the room, siphoning out every inch of anticipation from the crowd as the Welsh band seem to take a life time to make it to the stage. With their intro song almost reaching its end, Lostprophets finally emerge, inciting a wave of euphoric cheer from the crowd as this year’s Download headliners kick their back to basics show into gear.
A quick glance at the stage and you would be forgiven for thinking Russell Brand has taken over the vocal duties of Lostprophets as Ian Watkins emerges with a mane of wild black hair, decked out entirely in black and even managing to carry off a coat in the sweltering heat of the Academy. Diving straight into ‘We Still Kill The Old Way’, Watkins immediately lets all know that every show is treated with as much respect and with as much energy as a festival headline slot as the band explode with a raw energy that vibrates across the crowd as the riotous infectiousness of ‘Can’t Catch Tomorrow (Good Shoes Won’t Save You This Time)’ induces a frenzy of dancing that retreats only when Watkins urges everyone to pound the air with their fists. Dutifully doing what they are told, the Birmingham crowd transform into a mass of fists, punching the air in time with drummer Ilan Rubin’s beats that give way to fun fuelled uprising of ‘Town Called Hypocrisy’.
But it’s not all about old tracks tonight for Lostprohets. Having delayed the release of their fourth album countless times now, a fact Watkins takes time to apologise for with a sincerity that is enhanced by Jamie Oliver’s instance that’s its because they want something they are proud of to be released, it seems only fitting that some newer, fresher material is leaked into the set. Announcing that a Lostprophets’ show demands participation even when the song is new, Watkin’s proceeds to teach all lines of ‘Streets Of Nowhere’, suggesting that its like being back at playschool as his lyrics are repeated back at him. Bearing a striking resemblance to earlier Lostprophets’ work with the added bonus of the infectious hooks carried over from the Liberation Transmission era, ‘Streets Of Nowhere’ instantly nestled snugly alongside the rest of the set, receiving a warm welcome from the crowd that is overshadowed only by the arrival of another new track ‘It Not The End Of The World But I Can See It From Here’ that bubbles with a hook laden chorus to capture all.
Finally suffering the effects of the sweat box that is Birmingham Academy, Watkins has to admit defeat. With the coat long discarded it is time for the shirt to also be thrown as the front man leads all in a sing along blast of ‘Rooftops’ in all its anthemic wonder. Continually joking with the crowd and exchanging playful banter with Oliver, Watkins is ever the frontman; praising the Birmingham crowd for the warm reception they always give get before ‘Last Train Home’ detonates with an aggressive edge that simmers threateningly beneath the tracks melodic splendour. Its the visceral carnage of ‘Shinobi Vs. Dragon Ninja’ that sees the Welsh lad's start to drain the vigour from the crowd though leaving only the anger laced thump of ‘Burn Burn’ to bring the intimate gig to a mass of colossal chants and bruised bodies.
The controversial Download choice may have some new songs up their sleeves but they certainly still know how to kill the old way and that’s why Lostprophets won’t loose the faith of their fans however long the next album takes. Patience is after all a virtue … even if you are a Lostprophets' fan.