On arriving at the little, unknown venue on Whitechapel Road, I didn’t set my expectations too highly for the show headlined by the newly formed, Illinois band. When the doors opened, we were led into a small backroom of the club with a stage at one end and a bar at the other. With a handful of people there already, I got a drink and waited for the music to begin.
Brand new, pop-punk/screamo band Home Advantage played their first ever gig, kicking off proceedings. They gave an energetic and passionate performance, introducing us to their original songs with a certain punk element thrown in. The London based group state both emo and punk bands as their influences and the songs they’ve posted online certainly feature elements of both. Check them out here: https://www.facebook.com/homeadvantage
Whatever Happened To P-Rock? regulars, The Famous Class came next with their pop-punk sound, which Kerrang! described as “Like All Time Low and Paramore and Blink 182 in a hot tub together on a warm summer’s day…Naked!”. Complete with a new French guitarist, the London boys treated us to an array of tracks from their two EPs, including some interesting cover versions, even Rick-rolling us with a rendition of Never Gonna Give You Up! Definitely ones to watch this year, as they work with some bigger names, https://www.facebook.com/thefamousclass
Hertfordshire five-piece Paige followed with some pop-rock tunes that got us warmed up for MEST. Lead vocalist and bassist Lewis got the crowd clapping and jumping, which with the small number in attendance wasn’t a simple task but these guys have been around long enough to know how to involve those that had actually just come for the headline act. As a result, Paige rocked the stage and gave an electric performance showing why they’ve already embarked on several successful UK and European tours. Their new album is out very soon, this spring, so give it a listen! https://www.facebook.com/paigeofficial
Lead support band were Hearts Under Fire, four Surrey girls with some serious oomph! With gorgeous femininity, a host of beautiful body art and witty remarks between songs, these girls pack some serious punk. As someone who generally thinks that women aren’t the best at rocking out and letting loose in front of an audience (I can hear the feminists tutting already!), I was pleasantly surprised by them. I realise I’d probably pre-judged them wrongly before they’d even started playing their seriously fierce tunes. As well as giving away 100 free copies of their new single, they also stuck around after and gave out free badges and stickers! Not your average girlband but I really think these girls will be huge very soon. https://www.facebook.com/heartsunderfire
When it was MEST time, the crowd suddenly got a lot bigger. During the half an hour before they arrived, I was pushed to the front and as an experienced small gig goer, I knew what I was in for. Sure enough, as soon as Tony Lovato stepped onto the stage and took to the microphone, cheers ran through the room and I was pushed into a girl in front of me. I remained in this position for the remainder of the hour they played and it was only at the very start that I managed to get a few shots of the band members, getting ready to play.
With a completely new band, it was clear that everyone had turned up for Tony and the frontman certainly didn’t disappoint. The 300+ adoring eyes were fixed on him, as he sang their classic hits such as Drawing Board, 2000 Miles, Jaded (which I’m pretty sure is EVERYONE’s favourite) and Last Kiss. They also previewed some new material, which with a new fresh band behind him, should be a new step for the frontman, who hadn’t visited the UK in seven years. In between playing, he casually sipped Jack Daniels straight from the bottle before offering it to crowd members, telling them how much he’d missed visiting the country and how he’d be back soon enough.
After removing his shirt, displaying his tattooed torso, the band ended with Rooftops. Tony jumped onto the outstretched arms, who carefully passed him around before returning him to the stage and saying his goodbyes. After just over an hour of being wedged between four people, my feet ached and I just wanted a shower but I can honestly say that my low expectations at the beginning of the gig were surpassed. MEST are still the awesome pop-punk band they’ve always been and their new material looks set to be awesome!