Walking out from the rare occasion of enjoying the warmth the London underground offers, we stepped into a cold chilly night in London. In front of us were the bright lights of KOKO, and tonight’s entertainment was sure to warm up the crowds that gathered outside. Headline act was Aussie punk rock band Tonight Alive and let me tell you…we were in for a very energy filled evening.
Just as we made our way into the building walking on were our first support act Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! Besides having one of those types of names you’ll either love or hate, the French metalcore band made sure you wouldn’t forget it by the end of the night. C!NCC! displayed a blend of metalcore and pop punk influences, insuring that fans of the genre would remember that bizarre name. Most especially every person at KOKO.
After the crowd had caught their breath, out came our second support act of the night who were Arizona pop rock band The Summer Set. If you’re unfamiliar with the band then let me confirm one thing…yes, their songs are as cheery as their band name suggests. They grew strong reactions from the crowd song after song and it was a nice touch that they identified local talent when covering Ed Sheeran’s catchy beat Sing. The Summer Set will be a name more people would be familiar with in the not so distant future.
Now onto our main attraction. The lights had dimmed, the phone theft warning screen had rolled up to the rafters and the on-stage lights began to flicker and before you knew it, running on were Tonight Alive. The five-piece band opened up with electrifying guitar lead Spidey 2 theme The Edge, a great introduction of a portrayal of what these guys are capable of.
Lead singer Jenna McDougal over spilled with charisma. Her energy and commitment to each song was second to none, generating a similar up-beat devotion from every person in the crowd. Her vocal range was as impressive as the entire bands possibility of hitting any guitar riff at any moment. You won’t find many stage gimmicks during this show, as the band playing their second studio album The Other Side had every lyric sang back to them from the their rather energetic fan base.
The gig took a change of pace when the band left the stage and Jenna demonstrated another one of her musical talents when adopting an acoustic guitar. Slower tempo versions of Let It Land and Amelia were greeted with as much enthusiasm as when the band returned to play the more guitar shredding, heavy hitting track Listening.
To think that Tonight Alive are still relatively new to the punk rock scene would be hard to believe after witnessing this album show. Before playing title track of their debut album What Are You So Scared Of? Jenna’s speech about ‘discovering who you are and not letting people judge you for being yourself’ is the perfect set up for a song that asks the same question. The conviction Jenna puts into each and every lyric makes you believe that this is a song written from true experiences.
Tonight Alive ended the night with the lung busting track The Other Side, much like The Edge, Hell and Back and Listening, they simply have the band laying it all out to show how electrifying they can be.
Tonight Alive’s KOKO show was just the icing on the cake for this punk rock band. It showed a band that aren’t afraid to show the world their true selves. A band that give it their all each and every night. A band that reflect their lead vocalists words, being the only way they know how, attracting true fans that are there to keep their loyalty as they continue to watch Tonight Alive evolve.
Words and photography by Matthew Rathbone