The band took over O2 Forum Kentish Town last weekend with support from Courage My Love, Holding Absence and Trash Boat.
2018 has been a huge year for Brighton pop-punks As It Is with the release of their career-defining record The Great Depression. To celebrate its release, the band took the album on the road across the UK, culminating in their biggest ever UK headline show in North London at the beginning of December. They brought along some friends to join in on the party.
Kicking things off were Canadian rock trio Courage My Love. Fronted by twin sisters Mercedes and Phoenix Arn-Horn alongside bassist Brandon Lockwood, the band played songs off their 2016 release Synesthesia, which saw them introduce fans to a poppier sound that still maintained the group’s original power. Courage My Love’s on-stage energy is the perfect start for the night and tracks like latest single Remission, of which the band also released a stripped back version, as well as their cover of MGMT’s Electric Feel are just the tip of the iceberg of what these three artists have to offer.
Up next at London’s O2 Forum Kentish Town were Cardiff break-through band Holding Absence. Having been nominated for last year’s Heavy Music Awards as one of the UK’s best Breakthrough Bands, Holding Absence honoured their nomination by showing the crowd in the capital exactly what they’re all about. Tracks like Everything, Saint Cecilia and White Hot off of the band’s previous EP’s had us all the more excited for the March 2019 release of their self-titled debut album via Sharp Tone Records, especially with songs off the new record such as Perish and Like A Shadow.
Closing a stellar round of support are St Albans punks Trash Boat, who released their new album Crown Shyness last July. “This is the first time we get to play the new songs live in the UK.” The band calls as they launch into first track Inside Out, followed by the extremely energetic Tring Quarry. And just before their set comes to an end, vocalist Toby Duncan dedicates Old Soul to his father and grandfather. “But I will carry on because I am my father’s son / I am my mother’s love / And I will earn your name.” He sings before Trash Boat finish their powerful set with Shade and Strangers.
Cue As It Is… Red and black aesthetic, eyeliner piled on, emo mode on, and when the first riffs of The Reaper echo through the Forum everyone knows, these guys mean business. The Reaper is also the perfect showcase that this new record by Brighton punks As It Is is starting a whole new era for them. The crowd knows every word to every song, old or new, and there’s an adoration in the room that seeks its rivals.
With this being the band’s biggest ever headline show in the UK, they truly do themselves justice. Tracks like The Fire, The Dark, The Truth I’ll Never Tell, or The Question, The Answer are just a few of the songs of their brand new record The Great Depression that cement As It Is’ new direction. Not just musically, but also (more so) lyrically, As It Is have been extremely brave on their new album. Playing with various influences, but also taking a stand and talking about mental health issues such as toxic masculinity and self harm, the band are going that extra mile to open up a conversation that is more and more important to have. With that, it is no surprise that it’s not just the fans who get all the feels from this emotional speech from frontman Patty Walters:
“From the bottom of our hearts, you truly do not know how much you mean to us out there. For letting us live our dreams, for letting us be the artists we wanna be. We f*cking love you guys, and we care about you so much. Thank you for talking about mental health, depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide with us. I know it isn’t easy, I know the world isn’t listening, but we’re f*cking listening. This is your home, we are your family.”
But with all the hype about the new tracks, the band didn’t forget about all those other songs that their fans know and love, including Austen, Hey Rachel and Soap. And then they take it way back with Can’t Save Myself off of their 2015 album Never Happy, Ever After.
As the choral intro to The End echoes through the venue, it is clear the evening is slowly coming to an end (duh!). The crowd, still enchanted from that first note, continues to sing their hearts out in a bid to stop the night from being over any time soon.
As the encore with hit singles Dial Tones, The Wounded World and The Stigma (Boys Don’t Cry) sounds through the speakers, As It Is have not only played their biggest ever headline show with a stellar performance, they have also managed to break the venues record for most crowdsurfers during an hour-long set. Throughout their 17 tracks, the venue recorded over three hundred. But that’s not all, throughout the entire night, aka across all four bands, there was six hundred crowd surfers in total, making their way across the barriers and into the securities arms. So here’s a big thank you to the staff of O2 Forum Kentish Town for making sure everyone is safe and having a good time, even if there is a no-crowdsurfing rule, technically.
If you’ve missed out on any of the action, or just can’t wait to do it all again, As It Is are taking their Great Depression tour into some of the smallest venues they’ve ever played this spring.