LIVE REVIEW: BETTER THAN NEVER @ O2 ACADEMY OXFORD – 13.08.16

Local shows have always been something I love being a part of. Tonight was one of those occasions where I have the honour of catching some rad bands along with seeing one of my main local bands perform their first headline show at the O2.  

First to grace the stage were hard rock four piece, Silk Road. It’s been a while since I’ve had the pleasure of working with this band but it was safe to say they killed the opening set with some rad riffs, and one of the more energetic drummers I’d seen in a while. After their second to last song, there was a slight mishap with a damaged drum skin, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t a few laughs about it. During the quick drum change the band included some jokes about sausages, but the jokes were those awful ones that still manage to make everyone in the room laugh. As soon as everything was ready to go there was a short silence that was followed by “You can’t really take drummers anywhere” There set came to a close with cheers from the crowd.

Following Silk Road were two piece band Cherokii, unaware of what to expect they entered the stage with their vocalist wearing a sombrero which was later thrown into the crowd, and their drummer entering with a traditional indian head piece.Their set was full of energy with the drummer coming towards the front of the stage with a drum and doing what he does best. Cherokii made sure they had some great crowd involvement, even if it included “When I think of shit I think of you” No denial that it cracked up some of the crowd in laughter. Their set was solid with banter and such energy that I’m sure I had a work out by just trying to keep up with where they were moving to on the stage. As soon as their last song came to a close the crowd cheered.

The third and final support act were Reading based Alternative Rock band Elasea, The five piece were definitely something to expect big things from. Elasea transitioned between their tracks so professionally that was something I hadn’t expected from an up and coming band, it’s been a while since I’ve seen a set this polished especially from a local band. Their set included catchy songs, which I’m certain that I saw a few fans singing along and even though I hadn’t heard the band before tonight I was too. Elasea included co-vocals with their vocalist and bassist, it was perfect for the tracks they were playing, I certainly wasn’t expecting the way the collaboration worked but it was beautiful. They ended their set with a huge amount of energy, and cheers from the crowd. Elasea are a band I’m sure will take the country by storm, if you get the chance to see them I would definitely suggest taking the opportunity to do so. 

Last up on the stage were headliners Better Than Never, I don’t think I could count how many times I’ve worked with them in the last three years but seeing them headline a show is something to be proud of. I always have high hopes for the band but I know that they never disappoint. 

The boys started their set with so much energy with four out of five members jumping around the stage in true pop punk style. With each song following the next so smoothly. Suddenly James managed to find a plaster on his water bottle (even writing this I still gag a little) which was shortly followed by one of the many within the room “EAT IT” Better Than Never, never have a set short of banter or energy which is one of the many things I love about working with this band. 

Will decided to start the thank you’s “I’d like to give a shout to my parents who fucked off to France this weekend” with a response of laughter a few seconds later James responded with “And I’d like to give a shout out to my parents who can’t afford to go to France this weekend” All you could here after the sentence came to a close was a room filled with laughter. Their show was full of mosh pits, which is something I’m more than used to witnessing when Better Than Never perform. Their set involved a personal favourite “Back of the line kid” With both James and Will collaborating on vocals through their set while being accompanied with great riffs, baselines and drum beats. 

It wouldn’t be a pop-punk show if you didn’t include a little cover of Fall Out Boy too, within a few beats and strums of the guitar and bass, you knew this was going to be one hell of a cover. “Am I more than you bargained for you….” the crowd were singing along in every part of the room and it was incredible. By the time their final song was due both Will and James jumped into the photo pit and stood by the crowd allowing the fans to be just as involved with their set. Better Than Never’s headline set seemed to go by a lot quicker than I had anticipated but for the first time of headline an O2 Academy I thoroughly impressed, if the show proved anything it was that these boys were destined to be performing on bigger stages. 

Written by Heather Lowe

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