With Confidence are one of the sunniest bands alive from one of the hottest countries on earth so of course there was nowhere that they would rather be on a Wednesday night in September than Birmingham.
The last time With Confidence toured the UK it was alongside Mayday Parade exactly a year ago so, after a gratifying welcome back to the stage at the beginning of the year to a run on the last ever Warped Tour it was about time they came back to us.
Since 2012 the Sydney pop-punkers have toured with the very best but now they’re leading the charge with an impressive roster of support acts.
Anavae vocalist, Rebecca Need-Menear, took to the stage and almost immediately thanked tonight’s crowd for getting to the venue early adding that “not a lot of people check out the opening band”.
She’s right of course and it’s one of many crying shames amongst gig goers. If ever there was a prime example of why you should always get to the venue for doors its Anavae.
Immediate comparisons to the likes of PVRIS, Greywind and Halsey come to mind but the duo are harboring a party trick that has set them apart from their London contemporaries.
At the end of a strong, if un-risky, set both Rebecca and guitarist/keyboardist Jamie Finch turn their attentions to some additional drum Tom’s and bash out a speedy drum track the likes of which you’d more readily expect on a Slaves stage.
Whilst there might be plenty comparisons to make for Anavae, the FFO list following Story Untold around is as long as a classic pop-punk playlist.
There’s a lot of bands who would shy away from that but few make it work for them quite like Story Untold do. A monster mash-up of big name pop-punk tracks from Green Day to Good Charlotte, Paramore to Fall Out Boy, quickly let’s everyone know “yep, were like those guys, and we love it”.
For all the similarities nothing is more stark than the uncanny resemblance between vocalist Janick Thibault and All Time Low front man Alex Gaskarth.
Everything down to the headwear highlights the resemblance including the fact that alex is very good at leading a crowd through a good time and so is Janick. A frenzied reaction from the crowd suggests they’ve picked up on it too and it seems likely that A4 posters, carefully torn from magazines, may already be up on many a bedroom wall.
So far tonight’s show has been a display of pure fun (with a sprinkle of nostalgia) but there’s no avoiding the fact that whilst our headliners are more fun than most, they’ve had a turbulent year.
In November of 2017 With Confidence suddenly and quickly announced that guitarist Luke Rockets was no longer with the band amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
Sadly, they’re far from being the only band that has dealt with allegations of this kind but they managed to handle the controversy with marked dignity.
Uninterested in powering through the social media fire, following Rockets dismissal With Confidence went on hiatus. They worked on new music and learnt how to be a band in their new formation without forcing their blossoming fan base to pretend that nothing had happened.
To balance out the dark cloud they were sitting on their comeback show in Anaheim on March 19th was in aid of Hope For The Day, a charity that aims to prevent suicide “through outreach and mental health education.”
Tonight they take to the stage in Birmingham a stronger band with a group of fans who are as enthusiastic as ever, safe in the knowledge that they have been proactively looked out for.
With a year like that behind them they could be forgiven for any sign of trepidation in connecting with their fans but thankfully not a trace can be seen.
Tonight’s show is full of endearing crowd interaction as ever, with high fives dished out from the second the band step on the stage to vocalist Jayden Seeley taking one small step backwards to make way for a barrage of crowd surfers landing alongside him.
Older tracks like London Lights and Voldemort inevitably got the biggest screams with the young audience absolutely living for their fun-loving nature and upbeat optimism.
On August 10th With Confidence released their second studio album, Love and Loathing, and lead single That Something also triggered a screeching response from the Birmingham fans.
The new material leans slightly to a more indie spectrum that always goes down well on a UK tour but is otherwise a continuation of the emo-pop-punk style With Confidence have championed. It’s still nice to see them with one toe out of their musical comfort zone. Besides, it’s not like they haven’t made huge strides personally.
Line ups like tonight’s are rare to come by and whilst this level of fun is just what we have come to expect from With Confidence, it’s incredibly heartwarming to see it in such full force now we know what it’s like to have so nearly lost it forever.
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