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ISSUES - O2 Academy Birmingham 14.10.2019

After the release of their new album ‘Beautiful Oblivion’ just over a week or so ago, ISSUES have come over to the UK and Europe to show off the new material that they have been cooking up for us. Tonight they stop off at Birmingham’s O2 Academy 3, and bring along Glaswegian mob LOTUS EATER.

LOTUS EATER have been creating a serious buzz over the last few months, having toured with Blood Youth earlier in the year and popping up at countless festivals since, it’s no surprise that their hard work is being rewarded. There are plenty that have travelled down early to see them tonight as the room is almost at full capacity by the time their set comes around. The heavy quintet come stomping onto stage with brutal opener ‘The Fear’ which sets the tone for what is to come.

It’s fair to say that LOTUS EATER definitely aren’t for the feint hearted, as they make through songs such as ‘Freak’, ‘Jawless’ & ‘Yuck’ there isn’t a single moment to rest, the pits can only be described as carnage. No one is able to match LOTUS EATER at what they do right now, you’ll struggle to find another band who put on such an intense, intimidating and yet enjoyable show. It’s exciting to see what heights they can reach.

After a long changeover between sets, ISSUES finally arrive to give the over excited crowd what they came to see. They open with 'Beautiful Oblivions' opener ‘Here’s To You’ and the crowd sing along to every word despite the album only being released just a week ago.

There’s an old favourite early on in the set with ‘Never Lose Your Flames’ which has the whole room bouncing along in unison. During next song ‘Hero’ most of the bands equipment cut out and we are left only hearing the sound of Josh Manuel’s drums, but the crowd help keep the song alive by singing along anyway, the small intimate size of the O2 Academy 3 make it quite a special moment in hindsight, as you can see how much the band appreciate it just by the look on their faces. It’s ironic that one of the highlights of the night is due to a sound problem!

The set has a really nice balance of old and new material, as well as a nice contrast of heavier songs and some more catchy Pop driven ones. ‘Stingray Affliction’ sees arguably the biggest mosh pit of the night open up, whereas catchier song ‘Flexin’ has probably the happiest mosh pit you will ever see, with everybody literally grooving along to funk master Skyler Acord’s bass.

We already know from the new albums lead single ‘Tapping Out’ that guitarist AJ Rebollo has taken over a lot of the heavier vocal duties, but Tyler Carter does more than his fair share throughout the set too. It was definitely a controversial decision when ISSUES decided to part ways with Michael Bohn, a decision that could have really divided the fan base, but I truly believe that ISSUES have come out stronger for it, especially musically. A lot of Michaels parts seemed kind of forced on 'Headspace' to me, now everything just seems to flow better, both live and on the new album.

The main set comes to an end with ‘Slow Me Down’ before the band head off stage for the encore. The wait for the encore is longer than usual as AJ is having trouble with guitar, so Sky and Josh decide to head out and keep the crowd entertained by jamming along to the White Stripes ‘Seven Nation Army’. With ISSUES’ issues finally sorted (pardon the pun) they finally bring an end to the night with old favourite ‘Mad At Myself’ with the voices of the crowd singing along just as loudly as Tyler Carter for this one.

ISSUES have put on a phenomenal performance tonight, and with a fantastic new album out, it’s definitely an exciting time for this band. They are ‘made to last!’

Review - Sam Robinson

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