Live Review: Razorlight / Afflecks Palace – o2 Academy, Birmingham 14.04.2023 Plus Gallery

Entering the o2 Academy’s main room mid way through Afflecks Palace opening set, it’s clear to see that they are struggling to grab this crowds attention. It’s a Friday night in Birmingham and this rowdy lot are ready for a night out on this town, this is simply their warm up. The 3,000 strong room talks over them for their whole set though this doesn’t stop them from trying their best. Whilst they seem to confident in their abilities, there’s not a lot worth listening stopping your conversation for until their last song; slightly different to the rest of their setlist in it’s energy and vibe, it feels as though they could have done themselves a favour by making the rest of their tracks with the same substance.

The crowd is mixed tonight – an uneven blend of twenty-something year olds after the nostalgic hits and the middle aged who want some classic indie rock. Drinks are being thrown around and dropped before the band even arrive on stage and as the lights dim, a beer is thrown to the stage, hitting a member of security in the face. ‘In The Morning‘ and ‘Stumble & Fall‘ are quickly identify themselves as favourites, making it clear that the a solid 80% of the crowd are here for the ’04 and ’06 hits. Our fourth song if the night ‘Keep The Right Profile‘ doesn’t quite receive the same reception as the first 3 but ‘Golden Touch‘ is quick to warm everyone back up. There’s not a single person in the room who isn’t singing the chorus back to Razorlight as the band cuts the music and let us fill in the gaps. Looking around the venue, the middle of the crowd seem to be surprisingly well behaved given the chaos going on on the outskirts.

Wire To Wire‘ brings a slightly different vibe to the night, treating us to some tame Led Zeppelin-ish sounds before throwing us straight back into the indie rock they’re known for with ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Lies‘. ‘Los Angeles Waltz‘ brings anyone who had stopped paying attention back to the room and joining in which seems to be a common trend for this show; as the evening moves on and the room continues to drink, those who’re here for a fun night out on the town talk over a solid chunk of the show, only joining in for the songs they’ve known and loved since 2004. In return, there’s minimal crowd interaction from the 4 piece. They storm their way through this 19 tune setlist with no messing around and whilst doing every song justice. ‘Who Needs Love‘ brings out the best dad (& mum) dancing with those who have enough room to do so and the rest seem to settle for a gentle 2 step. Grown men throw their arms around each other has they hear the first note of ‘Before I Fall To Pieces‘, knowing exactly what they’re in for for the next 3 and a half minutes and it swiftly becomes the top song of the night soon to be joined by ‘Somewhere Else‘.

Somewhere Else‘ ends and Razorlight exit the stage but the lights don’t rise. Instead, we’re given an unexpected interval and it seems like they’re going to make us wait for them for as long as the people are willing to cheer. Coming back on to stage, front man Johnny Borrell let’s us know that they’re going to preform a little number called ‘Don’t Go Back To Dalston‘ which proves to be a massive hit with this Brummy bunch, a surprisingly loud audience sings every word back to the stage and Razorlight seem to lap up every second that they can. It’s a shame that they seem to lose the crowd once again with ‘Good Night‘ seeing as this is the encore but nothing keeps these gig-goers quiet for long and carnage erupts as the final song of the night arrives. ‘America‘, much as Spotify would suggest, is the undeniable favourite, causing beers to fly in all directions and the volume to be turned up to 11. As the venue spills out on to the streets, the crowd are still singing along to some of their favourites from the night and I think it’s safe to say there’s going to be some sore heads tomorrow.

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