Considering the stature of tonight’s co-headliners, the double punk threat that is Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers and Frank Iero & The Future Violents, some may suggest that tonight’s openers Mobina Galore (8) may have an uphill battle before themselves this Friday evening. However, even with their namesake being somewhat unknown to the majority of the crowd before them, the Winnipeg two piece don’t only hold their own against the punk titans headlining tonight, they own their appearance with effortless ease.
Despite their minimalist arrangement and instrumentation, content from the then forthcoming Don’t Worry stands as dynamically textured documentations of youth, with the Canadian two piece channeling progressive riot grrl sensibilities alongside their timeless power chord punk tendencies. Even with the majority in attendance primarily being gathered for the upcoming Frank Iero and his backing collective, it’s clear that the devoted in question eventually come to thaw to the group’s finesse. It’s a showcase of Canadian punk ideology and even with the group performing within the stomach of such a large corporate venue such as this, a performance space that’s certainly a contrast to their last show in Bristol at the Stag And Hounds, the group retain their DIY ethos and integrity. Yes, whilst it’s undeniable that the majority of the room have been unknowing of this act prior to this evening, it’s clear that Mobina Galore have made some new firm friendships this evening.
As one look’s around the venue, an odd fact becomes clear. Whilst it’s clear that many of the present individuals are firmly part of the Frank Iero And The Future Violents (7) obsessive, many seem simply too young to be members of the core fandom that surrounded My Chemical Romance at their prime. However, once the group explode with the sonic boom that is Parachute’s ‘World Destroyer’, a debut that entices nothing but mass hysteria among the gathering, it’s easy to see why this band are the subject of such a devoted and zealous following. Flowing between content from Parachutes and this year’s Barriers, Frank Iero and The Future Violents display pummelling and contemporary post hardcore sensibilities that are marred with hedonistic and fervent energy. It’s a take on the post-hardcore genre that truly resonates cult like imagery and sonic symbolism that ultimately makes this band a unifying rallying call for today’s alternative youth. This may not be the most well attended performance at the O2 Academy Bristol of all time, with the upper tiers of the venue being sealed off, but still, the atmosphere for this set is one of ardent and obsessive devotion.
Surprise choice cuts from .Stomachaches. and Keep The Coffins Coming stand as charges of explosive mirth, and whilst material from Barriers does truly showcase the evolution of skill and prowess that the band have undergone over the past several years, it’s content from Parachute’s that causes the most delirious exhilaration amongst the youth gathered. Almost rabid like, the collective’s adoring fans hang on to every syllable and riff courtesy of their icon, with ‘Dear Perocet, I Don’t Think We Should See Each Other Anymore’ and ‘Viva Indifference’ causing the hivemind present to surge with glee. As the group close with the youthful anthem that is ‘Joyriding’, whilst this the venue may be relatively sparsely attended, it’s a set of explosive and ferocious obsession, an atmosphere of devoted intensity, and in all honesty, it’s easy to see why the youth of today are so captivated the musical art of this act.
In comparison to the fervent atmosphere of intense hysteria, the aurora that surrounds Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers (8) is just slightly more refined. But of course, in true vein to the act’s reputation and the reputation of the ever charismatic Laura Jane Grace, it’s still a celebration of riotous punk energy. Whilst it’s simply undeniable that many or the Frank Iero legion have left the venue to camp outside the tour bus of their unifying hero, an act that only heightens the contrast between the amount of punters present at the lofty capacity of the venue, the energy that radiates from Laura Jane Grace And The Devouring Mothers ensures the atmosphere remains consistently buoyant. Performing their debut record Bought To Rot in full, what transpires is an inclusive and intimate set in channeling trauma, storytelling and demonstrating progressive alternative ideologies all through the means of dynamic and mature punk sensibilities.
As Grace and her backing members document the value of friendship though hospitable tracks such as ‘Apocalypse Now (& Later)’, ‘The Apology Song’ and the suitably titled ‘The Friendship Song’, there’s a tangible air of ever so subtle relaxation within the Bristol O2 tonight. Of course, the respective’s group’s art has never been annotated as relaxing, a fact highlighted by a performance of the scathing ‘China Beach’, but this set acts a safe space for it’s inhabitants, an area removed of blistering intensity where it’s occupants can relax, unwind and bask in the sonic treats and tales Grace and company offer. But of course, as the collective swerve through content such as ‘Born In Black’ and ‘Amsterdam Hotel Room’ this is still very much an alternative punk show, an environment birthed from trauma and chaos. An expected treat for fans of Grace and her work are rare airings of her work from her 2008 solo record Heart Burns, tracks that showcase the journey this incredible musician has undergone in the past decade. Ending on the frank ‘Manic Depression’, a tale of the unceasing battle with ones metal health that is performed with authentic relatable honesty, whilst the contrasts between Laura Jane Grace’s set and Frank Iero’s may be greatly significant, this is an evening of positivity evening, a welcoming space for those who refuse to fit into modern conformity.