Lostprophets are tonight's headliners having finally released their fourth album, The Betrayed, in January, four years after their previous effort. In those four years, Watkins and co have had various problems with labels and producers which have seen them scrap an entire album's worth of recordings, and a line-up change when drummer, Ilan Rubin, took up the chance to join Nine Inch Nails' touring band. It's been a difficult few years but they're back to hopefully prove that it's all been worthwhile.
Dublin-based Jody Has a Hitlist are opening the show tonight, having also played the previous night's show in their home city. The crowd are chanting for them before they take to the stage; it's amazing to see for a local(-ish) support band, so they're obviously doing something right. Their music is pure emo-pop - they're a lot like Motion City Soundtrack or New Found Glory musically - they tick all the boxes, flailing their guitars and fringes around, screaming a wee bit and singing sugar-sweetly a lot. They're pretty decent musically, if a lot generic, but if they could get some bigger sing-a-long hooks in their choruses they could really take it up another notch. It'd be awful easy to criticize them for looking like emo-cliches but something local bands often don't realise is that if you don't look like a proper band, people won't see you as a proper band, so I'd give them credit for that. It's just a worry that they're riding the crest of a wave that could be on its way out.
Lostprophets come out and kick things off with new album opener, 'If It Wasn't For Hate We'd Be Dead By Now' which serves to set the scene with it's moody stylings, then follow it up with recent single 'It's Not The End Of The World But I Can See It From Here' which sounds eerily like Billy Talent. Throughout the set we're treated to some more tracks from 'The Betrayed' including 'For He's A Jolly Good Felon' and 'Where We Belong'. The newer material is surprisingly dark and heavy; stylistically, My Chemical Romance definitely have a lot to answer for. From their clothes, the lighting effects tonight and even their recent promotional designs, the Lostprophets have gone a little bit Lost Boys.
We're also treated to a unique take on The Prodigy's 'Omen', which sounds a lot like Enter Shikari, and we're teased with a few bars here and there of student-friendly rock bands such as Guns n Roses and The Killers to name two, which was a little bit weird in truth. Lostprophets have enough quality material that they don't need to resort to token covers for cheap pops.
The best bits of the set? Obviously the older hits - 'Rooftops', 'Last Summer', 'Last Train Home' and 'ShinobiVsDragonNinja'. The Lostprophets are generally a band that don't bother with encores but they came back for one last song tonight, with Ian performing 'The Light That Shines Twice As Bright' under a spotlight (ah, symbolism) before chucking the mic and stand to the floor in proper angsty fashion.
Tonight's performance has been re-affirming; proof that there's life in the old dog yet. The trademark Lostprophets hooks are still there and they definitely still have the knack for crafting pop songs. Having said that they were inspired by bands like Faith No More and Refused during the song-writing process for 'The Betrayed', it's actually evident and has been a positive step forward. They may have given themselves a bit of an image-makeover, but there's definitely substance to back up the style, andï¿½ it's great to see a band that have been around for 10 years cranking it up a notch and not just going all soft on us like so many others have.