Taking Back Sunday made a triumphant return to London last week, and Rock Sound's new Deputy Editor David McLaughlin was there.
Wednesday, February 26
The last time Taking Back Sunday frontman Adam Lazzara graced a stage in London, headlining Slam Dunk 2012, he wasn’t quite himself. With his movements clearly inhibited – the result of a leg injury sustained after a tree fell on him (a bloody tree!) – it made for an oddly restrained performance. Tonight, he appears to be under no such duress and back to his old snake-hipped, mic-swinging best.
It’s a good thing too, because following Lonely The Brave is no mean feat. Just when you start to wonder when the Cambridge five-piece might begin to feel like just another band, they go and pull out all the stops and floor you all over again, same as they did the first time. As ever, there’s not much in the way of interaction, greetings or salutation, just soulful songs, played and sung from a place of sincerity that might grate in the hands of other, lesser bands. Instead, ‘Backroads’ is haunting, harrowing and heavy of heart, and ‘Islands’ is a rattle gun rallying call, while everyone in the room remains rapt for the duration.
Lucky then that Taking Back Sunday have an equally explosive arsenal of hits in their catalogue to call upon. Imagine the luxury of a song as essentially perfect as ‘A Decade Under The Influence’ as your starting point and then still having higher heights to hit afterward? Incredibly, that’s where Taking Back Sunday find themselves in 2014. Which really didn’t seem possible at that somewhat lacklustre Slam Dunk show. But it’s testament to a band reenergised, having found something of their old spark on upcoming sixth album, ‘Happiness Is’. That’s abundantly clear when lead single ‘Flicker, Fade’, slots sweetly between ‘Timberwolves At New Jersey’ and ‘Bonus Mosh Pt. II’.
With every shimmy, slink and slide, Adam drives fans young and not-so-young-anymore bonkers, and even if he occasionally strains to hit some of the notes, they’re right there and ready to fill in. The crowd hits their obvious but energetic peak at set closer ‘Cute Without The ‘E’ (Cut From The Team)’ and then rises once more for one final flurry on ‘MakeDamnSure’.
For a band that appeared to be running out of steam only a short time ago, a comeback of this kind is much more than anything anyone could have hoped for.