The Rise Of The Runaways tour was already set up to be a special night before doors had even opened on Camden’s Electric Ballroom, with it being the first show on the UK leg of the tour. It had already made its way through mainland Europe, but also is the biggest headline show that Crown The Empire has played to date. Sharing the night with Rise Records label mates Alive Like Me and Dangerkids, as well as the ever-talented, fan favourites Set It Off who secured the main support slot for the door, there was no doubt that the evening was going to be an inspirational one for both fans and bands alike.
Alive Like Me opened things up, and with already a considerable and growing fanbase within the United Kingdom, they were received incredibly well. The alt rockers who hail from Oregon confessed it was their first time touring in Europe, but with the release of their debut album Only Forever that came out out in October last year and their honest, youthful exuberance, there’s no shortage of ability when it comes to the quartet. Performing in exactly the kind of way that goes down a treat with British audiences, the band are not unlike Rise Records alumni Sleeping With Sirens, or the very similar Pierce The Veil.
Dangerkids pack one hell of a punch, and that was clear right from when they headed out on to the stage to perform as the second opener. Another American offering, the Ohio rockers have a few attributes that won’t have you forgetting them soon including a female drummer by the name Katie Cole — and she can certainly play, with her performance on Thursday evening putting every other drummer playing that night to shame. Much like Alive Like Me, the band only had six songs to win over the audience so there was no doubt that they did everything in their power to make it count. They slayed tracks such as their newest single ‘We’re All In Danger’, and fan favourite ‘Paper Thin’, energising the audience in preparation for the final bands on the line-up.
Despite being classed as main support, Set It Off might as well have been a co-headliner with the amount of fans who filled up the Electric Ballroom in sole support of the Florida quintet. The band’s most recent album Duality has really opened them up for greater things with their theatrical pop rock sound that doesn’t really seem to fit anywhere — but that’s what makes them so incredible. Singer Cody Carson and his perfected dance moves are enough to have an audience transfixed, but things are made all the more special with such a unique presentation of music. If you haven’t heard these guys before, think early Panic! At The Disco with an infusion of chart pop. It’s an interesting combination, but it has proved it worth with the amount of die-hard fans they have. The set list impressed, with the inspirational ‘Dream Catcher’ gaining more than a few screams, the pop punk sounding ‘Ancient History’ and perhaps one of their most well-known tracks, ‘Why Worry’. All in all, they may have been warming up for Crown The Empire, but Set It Off managed to strike it out and win the crowd over all on their own.
With the tour inspired by their second, and most recent album Resistance: Rise of the Runaways, it’s no surprise that the Texan post-hardcore outfit planned their setlist around the powerful concept of the album. Kicking off with ‘Oh, Catastrophe’, the crowd thrived to what was on offer with little complaint. The six piece navigated through most of the songs on the new album with ease including lead single ‘Machines’, and they finished the main part of their set with ‘Millennia’, a track that sealed the deal for many of the audience members. There was something in the air that confirmed Crown The Empire were maybe nervous to be performing to such a large audience in such an iconic venue, but they certainly played to the best of their ability, giving fans an impressive, thoughtful yet intense show that had some in a noticeable daze when leaving the venue.
The curfew was set quite late, allowing Crown The Empire to really give their audience a magical experience as they re-entered the stage for their encore of ‘Makeshift Chemistry’ from their first record, The Fallout. As far as first shows on a tour leg go, the band aced it in terms of both performance and audience reaction, setting the bar high for the rest of the tour that continues on through the week. While the bands are all unique in their own right rather than following one particular sound, it gives fans a chance to dabble in an array of genres and ultimately, that’s a better deal.
Photos by Nicola Cane.