Gig/Concert: The Enemy supported by Twisted Wheel and Kid British
Venue: Brixton Academy, London
Date: 11 April 2009
Headliners: The Enemy
In one word: Magical
The first time I saw The Enemy live was in a tiny record shop in the middle of London in April 2007, where only thirty people turned up. If someone had told me then that The Enemy would have a number 1 album in the UK charts, support Oasis on their next stadium tour, sell out the London Astoria six nights in a row (beating Blur’s record) and then sell out Brixton Academy two nights in a row all in the next two years, quite frankly, I would have laughed. A lot.
Nearly two years to the day, The Enemy are doing just that; they’ve just sold out one of the biggest venues in London for two nights in a row and I was lucky enough to have gained access to the photo pit in such a legendary venue that has hosted many of the biggest names in music.
New Manchester band Kid British were the first band on stage, kicking off with “Elizabeth” and “Lost in London”, and covering Madness classic “Our House” they put on a spectacular show, proving you can mix ska with a bit of indie. Sadly, due to a technical fault, they could not play their new single “Sunny Days” which was a real disappointment.
I was particularly looking forward to seeing Twisted Wheel live. I had seen them support The View, where they even set up their own equipment, and perform at Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Maidstone in the unsigned ‘shed’ where the venue was almost full while a big name act was on the main stage at the same time. I couldn’t believe that I would see them for the third time in just under a year.
Twisted Wheel arrived and launched into new single “We Are Us” which expresses their individuality to other bands.
“You will never stop us,
‘Cause you are you
And we are us”
At the Academy, bands choose their own lighting. An error on my part was that I did not make friends with the lighting manager, as when the band played She’s a Weapon, the lights were blinking ferociously during the chorus. They were almost giving my camera an epileptic fit, making it hard to focus on the subject.
Bottles were thrown and fighting occurred during Twisted Wheel’s set which surprised me. Security acted faster than I first originally thought, although frontman Johnny Brown told the members of the audience involved in the incident to ‘ignore the security and carry on’. However, I was completely oblivious to this. I had made myself comfortable on the photo pit barrier ledge, which means I had the best seat in the house.
It was a very nervous wait for The Enemy to appear on stage. My heart raced after the usual warm up songs of The Specials’ “A Message to You”, “Rudy” and The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony”. The band appeared in silhouettes with the backlit stage when ‘LONDON’ was on the screens up above. The crowd was going wild behind me, but surprisingly again, no crowd surfers or beer throwers in sight, which meant I could get on with my job without smelling like a walking pub.
Tom Clarke stands proudly smiling in front of his microphone with his empire standing in front of him. Starting with new song “The Elephant Song” which comes off their forthcoming second album “Music For The People”, The Enemy have shown that they can write in different styles, and make it sound even better than their first record, the second single off the bands first LP We’ll Live and Die in These Towns, “Had Enough” follows.
By this point in the concert, the mosh pit had changed its attitude from ‘jumpy’ to proper ‘moshing’. After my stint in the comfort of the photo pit for the ‘first three songs, no flash’, I was back on the floor with everyone else and I had at least five crowd surfers almost managing to knock me out. Almost.
“No Time For Tears” had almost every member of the crowd singing the chorus. This Song was particularly special. Tom Clarke introduced Tom as The Enemy’s keyboard player, and the whole venue erupted when the band paused for the final chorus.
After all the knocks to the head from crowd-surfers and everything else, I would say it was definitely worth it and I even found myself saying “I love my job.” The concert in its entirety was excellent, but ask yourself this question: How often is it that all three bands on the line up are excellent? Usually there is one band who generally don’t live up to your expectation, and may ruin your night. Tonight was one of those rare gigs where everyone was on form.
© Lauren Towner
Photos of Kid British, Twisted Wheel and The Enemy at Brixton Academy
(click thumbnails to view full-size images)
Show photo notes: After the gig, whilst sharing my photos via Facebook, a friend asked how I wanted to portray the band. The answer to that is that I didn’t want to take the ‘press’ photos by surrounding Tom Clarke for the entire three songs, I wanted to take photos that showed the band in their finest hour, and at their biggest show to date. – Lauren Towner, Music Vice.