Wednesday February 11th saw the 2015 Kerrang tour descend upon The Academy on Dublin’s Middle Abbey Street. This year, the annual event was headlined by Don Broco and We Are The In Crowd. As a huge In Crowd fan in particular, this was one I couldn’t miss and it most certainly did not disappoint.

I joined the festivities in the midst of a vigorous performance by Bury Tomorrow. They’re a band with which I wasn’t hugely familiar beforehand but, hats off to them, I was impressed by what I saw. The metalcore ensemble gave a rioutous performance, at the end of which frontman Dani Winter-Bates admirably announced that he’d be at the merch stand to high five every last person in the venue if needs be. Following this declaration, he leaped from the stage in true rockstar form, no doubt giving the security guards headaches as he was passed across a sea of thrilled spectators.

The audience dispersed temporarily following Bury Tomorrow’s set, allowing me to secure a perfect view of the stage as I eagerly awaited the arrival of We Are The In Crowd. The Poughkeepsie rockers are my ultimate feel good band and one of my all time personal favourites. Their upbeat, energetic and passionate pop punk style never ceases to have an inspirational effect or brighten my mood. In fact, it turns out that the only thing better for putting a smile on one’s face than blasting out an In Crowd track is experiencing them play their material live and in person. And judging by the reaction of those present, it seems I’m far from alone in that belief.

Around about 8.15, the lights went down, sending the reassembled masses into an excited frenzy. The letters W.A.T.I.C. flashed across the stage as the music built up expectantly. Then the lights began flickering faster and faster before being set ablaze as Tay, Jordan, Mike, Rob and Cameron sprinted out to thunderous applause.

The fivesome wasted no time erupting into the irresistibly infectious sing-along anthem, “The Best Thing (That Never Happened)”, sending the fans wild. As Tay belted out the lyrics – proving her vocal talent is every bit as magnificent in reality as it is on record – the gathered faithful blared them back zealously, with everyone seeming to take particular joy in screaming out the “break your fucking jaw” line. At the same time, Cameron, Jordan and Mike bounced around enthusiastically, banging their heads and slamming expertly on their guitars and bass, while Rob pounded away merrily on his drums, looking delighted as he joined the fans in echoing the song’s words. It got the show off to an amazing start.

“Manners” came next, with its affective verses giving Jordan his first opportunity to show off the full extent of his own superb singing voice. The band gave it their all during the heavy, poignant chorus, encouraging everyone to jump up and down and wave their hands in the air. “Never Be What You Want” followed as an always welcome call back to the troupe’s early days. As was more than apparent, its incredibly catchy melody is a guaranteed crowd pleaser.

“Dreaming Out Loud” was a definite highlight. The flawlessly delivered fast riffs, spirited vocals and relentless rhythm were met with a fervent reception. It was somewhere between here, “Exit and Entrances” and “Reflections” that an individual dressed in a shark onesie was plucked out of the audience to get up and join the band. The ecstatic fan seemed quite happy to hang about on stage, taking the opportunity to grab a selfie with Tay and evidently embracing the whole event to the fullest.

As the set continued, the audience were treated to a powerful performance of “Come Back Home”. Its reserved instrumentation is just as stirring heard live, while the moving harmony was beautifully executed. This was followed by a nice collection of In Crowd classics, including, “Lights Out”, “The Worst Thing About Me” and “Both Sides of the Story”, with the light and airy “Kiss Me Again” being another standout piece, generating a lot of warmth. Naturally, it was up to “Rumor Mill” to bring things to a close. The band’s passion and enthusiasm still showed no sign of faltering as they blasted out what is arguably their definitive anthem, allowing the fans one last chance to dance, mosh and sing their hearts out and ensuring that the proceedings ended on as much of a high as they began.

We Are The In Crowd certainly know how to put on a captivating show and seem to revel in doing so. The energy and elation of those in attendance was reflected in the faces and attitude of the band throughout, creating an electric atmosphere that didn’t let up for a second. If you haven’t seen these guys live before, then it’s the best thing that’s never happened to you!

Which isn’t to say that Don Broco didn’t majorly impress when they charged onto the stage in The In Crowd’s wake. These Bedford natives are show men in the truest sense of the word.  Their prodigious stage presence was a spectacle to behold from the instant they burst into alt-rock belter, “Money, Power, Fame”. I don’t think there was a moment that they were still as Rob paced frantically back and forth churning out the forceful vocals, joined by Matt in the chorus. Meanwhile Simon and Tom raced around, banging out the track’s awesomely fierce riffs.

It became quickly obvious that the precedent set by this rousing opener would be upheld throughout the remainder of the set, which saw Don Broco get through a sizable chunk of their back catalogue. Some of the highlights included the lively and vivacious “Actors”, the accessible pop-rock composition “Whole Truth” and the absorbing chorus and catchy hooks of “Back in the Day”, while “Beautiful Morning” brought a fun sense of urgency through its sharp momentum and post-hardcore screecher “Thug Workout” cut deep with its raw vocals and coarse instrumentation.

The band thrilled the crowd during “Priorities” by breaking into the famous Don Broco walk, before finishing up with the piercing riffs and fetching melody of “You Wanna Know”. One devoted fan pointed out that the last time Don Broco had played in Ireland was two years and ten months ago, for which Rob apologised and promised to return a lot sooner next time. Here’s hoping because they’re very much worth checking out.

All in all, the Dublin date for the 2015 Kerrang Tour was a resounding success. The music was outstanding, the performances were sensational and the atmosphere was incredible. Everyone present, whether playing or spectating seemed to have a terrific time, making for a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining night.

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Graduate of NUI Maynooth's Department of English, passionate writer of fiction and creative non-fiction alike. Mad about music, movies and books. If there's anything I enjoy more than listening, watching and reading, it's writing about what I listen to, watch and read! Check me out at davecsimpson.wordpress.com, find me on Twitter @davesimpson1 or drop me a line at dave@puremzine.com