In 2010, armed with a completely different lineup, Emarosa graced the stages of many O2 venues across the country. The next six years were marred with controversy surrounding their ex-lead singer, the band pretty much dropping off the face of the scene only to return in 2013 with a total rebrand. New sound, new lineup and the strongest vocalist to date, to mark a fresh start for the band. Flash forward to 2016 and finally Emarosa were able to return and though they were playing in smaller venues, to slightly smaller crowds, those who gathered inside Sound Control to see the upgraded Emarosa are much more passionate for the band than they ever were.
London based alternative-pop trio Sykes take to the stage armed with infectious synth melodies. Their opening number is akin to a Pvris song and sparked the idea of a cover until it bursts into its own. Their aesthetic seems to exude happiness and light, their set is a colourful array of beautiful tracks, LED’s and versatile vocals. The most energy comes from vocalist Julia Sykes, who often breaks away from the keyboard she’s stationed behind to interact with the crowd. They’re a joy to hear live and a sure way to bring out the good vibes in everyone.
One thing to note about the crowd is that everyone is much more spaced out than at a regular show, there’s no barrier but nobody is stepping up to the stage. It gives a more impersonal feel, though not through lack of trying to make it a more intimate experience.
Emarosa takes to the stage and changes all of that. Though singing can be heard, vocalist Bradley Walden is nowhere to be found. He appears from the crowd, bringing everyone together, commandeering them. As if leading a battalion everyone quickly follows him as he gets on stage and they stand as close as possible cheering on as if he were their fearless leader. The show instantly becomes a little more intimate than before and the stage presence of the members, working in synchronicity with one another as they power through ‘People Like Me, We Just Don’t Play’, ‘Blue’ and even an old track ‘Set It Off Like Napalm.’
“I really wasn’t thrilled to be playing any of the old stuff,” Walden admits after Napalm, a chaotic mess of a track that seems rushed in a desperate effort to get to the end of it, perhaps because these were tracks he had no involvement in. “We owed it to you guys, if you’re gonna wait six years then you’re going get to hear the old stuff.” It’s a sweet sentiment, clearly welcomed by those of the crowd who have been longtime fans.
The overall set is a true experience, with high energy from start to finish. There’s back flips, throwing bassists across the stage and riding the shoulders of fans throughout the crowd. It’s not the typical thing that you would expect from any show, really and that is what makes it so special. Which is why it’s a shame that the turnout isn’t as huge as the band clearly deserves, their new sound is eclectic and precise, it’s loud and meaningful and put that with a live show that is simply out of this world and you have the makings for something truly memorable.
Closing out the set is the first single ‘Cloud 9’ from their newest release ‘131’, 14 songs have been blown through to get to the grand finale but you can’t help but feel like you want more. 14 songs clearly isn’t enough to showcase everything that Emarosa, now, have to offer but it does leave plenty of room for them to shock and thrill us next time. With the most humble of gratitudes, the band end on an ultimate high and honestly, if you weren’t there to catch this? You really missed out.