Gigs are a lot quieter now than they ever were in the past aren’t they!?
I’m not talking about the volume of the guitar here, Christ knows that the council put an end to the ability for an axe-man to cause tinnitus years ago, I’m talking about the volume of the crowd. When was the last time you saw a request from a front-person to ‘make some noise’ that wasn’t met with a small pocket of a crowd cheering whilst the rest checked their Instagram feed or moaned that the noise was interrupting their live streaming?
When, exactly, did the noise stop, and when did gigs become passive events?
Questions for another day these ones surely, but whatever the reasons, Stand Atlantic have the antidote; these guys had Think Tank jumping tonight.
Debates about how many times they’ve played Newcastle not withstanding (an onstage discussion concludes with ‘either 2 or 3’) what Stand Atlantic brought tonight was excitement, passion and an understanding of their crowd. They played music for the people by music of the people, and their result was the production of a noisy, engaged, crowd.
Centred around frontwoman Bonnie Fraser, Stand Atlantic’s live sound (fleshed out by additional touring musicians to their traditional three-piece) is loud, raw and vicious. Owning the stage with fierce vocal deliveries and moves, as well as humourous between track conversations, Fraser is the focal point of the show as well as its conductor controlling the energy of the band and the crowd. Optimistic, controlled and strong Fraser’s performance is natural and pitch perfect and clearly she’s becoming a pro at building crowd excitement and managing the emotions of an audience. A moment of gently managing an over-keen stage diver is particularly praise-worthy.
Heavily driven by recent album, 2018’s pop/punk ‘Skinny Dipping’, tonight’s sound is driven by its combination of rock/emo guitar riffs, and pounding drums. Slightly harder in sound than it’s recorded counterparts, the rock/punk/pop combination is clearly agreeable to the crowd as they move, dance and pogo along with the tunes, particularly on recent single, and set highlight ‘Skinny Dipping’. Supported by several of the band spinning in circles whilst playing guitar solos (a seemingly impossible to pull off task almost as impressive as the Grace Jones hula-hoop trick) ‘Skinny’ is raw, edgy and moving. ‘Sidewinder’ and ‘Coffee at Midnight’ add further impact and energy to the set; both resulting in further crowd interactions and sing-alongs.
Tonight Stand Atlantic’s ability to give an audience what they wanted, and more, seemingly created the type of result that the band were looking for; noise, interaction and engagement. There’s others that could learn from this.