Stand Atlantic have had nothing short of a very busy time recently!
In just one short year since they announced their signing to Hopeless Records along with the details of debut album Skinny Dipping, the Aussie pop-punkers have taken their infectious anthems and energetic live shows all around the world. Touring with the likes of State Champs, Neck Deep, Waterparks and more, the four have certainly cemented themselves as one of the scenes most significant live bands — and after catching a date of their most recent UK headline tour, off the back of an incredible Reading & Leeds set also, I believe that this spot is more than deserved.
From the moment the doors opened at one of Brighton’s most iconic venues, The Haunt was filled with a diverse and enthusiastic crowd. Support acts — starting with the pop-fueled RØYLS and then the talented and comedic crowd-pleasers, Superlove — were brilliant at getting the ever filling venue involved, dancing and all-round warmed up for the superb Stand Atlantic; something which became clear as soon as the four-piece made their way onto the stage, greeted with cheers, applause and just general crowd craziness that the group always manage to bring out, whether it be a support slot, festival set or in this case headline.
A drum solo led into the opening chant of ‘Bullfrog’ and lead singer Bonnie Fraser could barely even be heard over the loudness of the crowd, with that energy continuing throughout ‘Speak Slow’, ‘Push’ and ‘Skinny Dipping’. Crowd surfers, jumping and your typical pop-punk fingerpointing were all over the now packed out venue, and as the band broke into ‘Clay’ the excitement only grows when Bonnie announces that this is the first time they’ve ever played it live. It went down, much like the rest of the set, brilliantly.
The band’s interaction with the crowd was perfect, and small chats between songs were entertaining, funny and helped to create the friendly energy that makes the shows so special. The line between the band and the crowd was blurred — especially in such a small venue — and as they continued into crowd favourites ‘Sidewinder’ and ‘Chemicals’ it virtually disappeared. Stagediving from both sides and even a Stand Atlantic crowd staple, rowing boat pits, transformed the whole venue and sweaty, chaotic fun seemed to be everywhere you looked.
‘Toothpick’ signalled a break in the energy; a slow and moving track of which every word flooded The Haunt with, metaphorically, pure emotion, and physically, phone torches. Half of the band departed, leaving just Fraser and guitarist Potter alone on the stage, after which the connection between everyone in the room was a really special moment. This continued into the beginning of ‘Burn In The Afterthought’ before the rest of the band returned and, somehow seamlessly, the energy came flooding back in full force, right through ‘Lost My Cool’ and ‘Roses’ up until the band walked off stage — but they were not done yet, and neither was the crowd.
“One more song, one more song!” — if you’ve been to lots of live shows, you’re probably no stranger to this chant — and the same goes for the people playing them, so it was really no surprise when the Australians burst back on stage, armed with two more songs, but it was definitely very welcome. Especially since Alex Costello of ROAM made his way on with them, and who doesn’t love a guest appearance?
The short absence only reinvigorated the crowd more, and for the final two tracks ‘Coffee at Midnight’ and ‘Lavender Bones’ the energy was even more present than ever. Even long after the band had left the stage, the atmosphere was electric. Stand Atlantic are like a lightning rod, and — unlike lightning — the energy of their live show is something I’d be very happy to be struck by, any day.
Photo by Ciara Wilkinson from Stand Atlantic’s performance at Zanzibar in Liverpool on August 29. The full gallery can be viewed here.