27 min read

Review & Photography by Manny Manson for MPM

A chance to cover a guilty pleasure had me heading to Nottingham instead of Wolverhampton. McFLY aren’t everybody’s cup of tea but by judging at the huge queue waiting outside the venue when I arrive, there are a mighty few who like there’s with milk and two sugars.

On the undercard tonight are LostAlone, a British rock band that brought a unique blend of alternative rock, post-hardcore, and melodic elements to the music scene. Formed in Derby, England, in 2005, the band consisted of Steven Battelle (vocals and guitar), Alan Williamson (bass), and Mark Gibson (drums). Steven Battelle was not only the frontman but also the primary songwriter for the band.

The trio quickly gained attention with their energetic and dynamic live performances. LostAlone‘s music often featured intricate guitar work, powerful vocals, and a mix of heavy and melodic elements that set them apart in the rock genre. They were known for their ability to seamlessly blend aggression with more anthemic and emotional moments within their songs.

Their debut album, “Say No to the World,” was released in 2007, it showcased their early sound and established them as a promising act in the alternative rock scene. The album featured tracks like “Unleash the Sands of All Time” and “Elysium,” which hinted at the band’s diverse musical influences.

In 2014, LostAlone released “Shapes Of Screams,” an album that marked a shift towards a heavier and more intense sound. Songs like “G.U.I.L.T.Y.” and “Crusaders” from this album showcased their evolution while maintaining the melodic elements that defined their style.

Unfortunately, despite their musical prowess and dedicated fanbase, LostAlone announced their disbandment in 2014 after the release of “Shapes Of Screams.” Steven Battelle continued his musical journey as a solo artist, ensuring that the legacy of LostAlone lived on through his continued work.

A new studio album, “The Warring Twenties,” was released in 2022, this signalled a reformation of the band. The six-year hiatus having done nothing to change their signature sound, which has been welcomed back by fans and critics alike. Tracks like “Enduring The Dream” and “The Last Drop Of Forever” demonstrated their continued commitment to delivering powerful and emotionally charged music.

LostAlone are a band appreciated for their authenticity, dynamic performances, and the emotional depth embedded in their music. The combination of Steven Battelle’s compelling vocals and the band’s ability to craft intricate, genre-blurring compositions leave a lasting impact on those who have discovered their unique sound.

Now what do they sound like live, has the energy left them or has it put lead in their proverbial pencils? Tonight, they are appearing on the undercard for Pop Rock Giants ‘McFly’ so has the race for early doors uncovered yet another Gem?

LostAlone, wow! What a way to kick off the night! They started things off with a bang, opening with “Enduring The Dream” from their latest album, ‘The Warring Twenties’ (2022). The energy in the room was charged right from the start, and you could feel the anticipation building throughout the set.

They seamlessly transitioned into “G.U.I.L.T.Y.” from ‘Shapes Of Screams’ (2014), and let me tell you, the crowd loved it, High kicking from Battelle as he unleashed his main spring, flying across the stage. The melodic sounds mixed with the raw energy of their performance created a totally immersive experience. The venue, vibrating with the intensity of their music.

“Hostages (Destiny)” from ‘Shapes Of Screams’ (2014) was another standout moment. The way the band played with dynamics, going from hauntingly beautiful verses to explosive choruses, was a testament to their musical prowess. The crowd was hooked, and so was I.

Taking it back to their earlier days, they threw in “Genevieve” from ‘Say No To the World’ (2007). A nostalgic trip for some long-time fans, and the newer ones got to experience the evolution of LostAlone’s sound. The band effortlessly moved through different eras of their discography, showcasing their versatility in this short 40-minute set.

“Crusaders” another from ‘Shapes Of Screams’ (2014) had everyone headbanging and singing along. The heavy guitar riffs and intense vocals echoed through the venue, creating an atmosphere of controlled chaos. LostAlone know how to command a stage, and they had the audience in the palm of their hands.

Then came the new single, “I’m A Fire That You Can’t Put Out” released in October 2023, showcasing the band’s ability to stay relevant while staying true to their signature sound. The crowd’s response to these tracks was incredible, you’d have thought they were the headliners such was the response, with fans already knowing every word despite the relatively recent releases.

And as if that wasn’t enough, they closed the set with “The Last Drop Of Forever” from ‘The Warring Twenties’ (2022). It was a powerful way to wrap up the performance, leaving everyone in awe of what they had just witnessed, and ready for the headliners, having set the bar and the energy levels.

LostAlone have delivered a set that was a perfect blend of nostalgia and freshness. Their melodic sounds, combined with the raw intensity of their performance, have no doubt left the audience hungry for more. If this is the future of LostAlone, count me in for the ride!

Now, let’s talk McFly. But first, let me catch my breath!

McFly, the British pop-rock band that burst onto the scene in the early 2000s, area powerhouse of infectious melodies, youthful energy, and catchy tunes. Formed in 2003, the band quickly became a sensation, capturing the hearts of fans with their undeniable charm and musical talent.

The core members of McFly include Tom Fletcher (vocals/guitar), Danny Jones (vocals/guitar), Dougie Poynter (bass guitar/backing vocals), and Harry Judd (drums). The band’s chemistry and camaraderie have played a crucial role in their success, creating a dynamic that resonates both on and off the stage.

McFly‘s debut album, “Room on the 3rd Floor” (2004), immediately catapulted them into the limelight. Fuelled by hits like “5 Colours in Her Hair” and “Obviously,” the album showcased the band’s ability to blend pop sensibilities with rock influences. The infectious energy of their music and relatable lyrics endeared them to a wide audience, particularly among teenagers and young adults.

The band continued their streak of success with subsequent albums, including “Wonderland” (2005), “Motion in the Ocean” (2006), and “Radio:ACTIVE” (2008). McFly’s song writing, often a collaborative effort within the band, explored themes of love, adolescence, and the rollercoaster of emotions that accompany growing up.

In 2010, McFly took a creative turn with “Above the Noise,” incorporating electronic and dance elements into their sound. The album featured tracks like “Shine a Light,” a collaboration with Taio Cruz, showcasing the band’s willingness to experiment with their musical style.

Beyond their studio albums, McFly‘s live performances became a hallmark of their career. The band’s concerts were known for their high energy, engaging stage presence, and a genuine connection with their audience.

McFly‘s influence extends beyond their music; they have become cultural icons in the UK. In addition to their musical endeavours, individual band members have pursued diverse interests, including writing, acting, and television appearances.

After a brief hiatus, McFly reunited in 2019, much to the excitement of their loyal fanbase. The band released their sixth studio album, “Young Dumb Thrills,” in 2020, signalling a triumphant return to the music scene. In June 2023 they released their seventh studio album, “Power To Play,” this was released after the band had left a series of cryptic messages on their socials.

The first single from the album was released back in March entitled “Where Did All The Guitars Go” a kick out at guitar music is no longer featured in Radio songs. This was followed by “God of Rock & Roll” in the April, and the third single “Honey I’m Home” being announced on The One Show, on June 8th The day before actual album release.

As they continue to evolve and capture the hearts of new generations, McFly remain a shining example of British pop-rock excellence. With a career marked by chart-topping hits, infectious melodies, and a genuine love for their craft, McFly continues to be a beloved and enduring force in the world of music.

Now can McFly deliver a knock-out punch, I suspect they will, and despite my age, I have to admit I’m genuinely excited to catch this young band doing what they do best, and that’s play live.

As always, he transition between LostAlone and McFly ‘s stage setting was, yet again, seamless, thanks to the Rock City’s crew’s well practiced lightning-fast set change. The anticipation in the sold-out venue is now at fever pitch as we wait, the familiar songs play, only for the crowd to erupt into cheers as ‘YMCA ‘ is accompanied on the house PA, with the lights dropping , this is McFly’s ring walk music, and a song that they covered, the video being full of their typical lampoonery, setting the stage for their epic entrance.

McFly, aka Tom Fletcher, Danny Jones, Dougie Poynter, and Harry Judd, stand on the stage soaking up the fan’s adulation, the noise is more akin to a football stadium than a 2k cap venue. Grabbing the moment, the boys kick off their set with “Where Did All The Guitars Go” from the latest album ‘Power To Play(2023). The atmosphere, already charged with electric excitement, is off the scale as the fans lose themselves in the band, who are grinning, as they launch into their well-rehearsed performance.

“Land of Bees,” another from the new album, keeps the energy high, and the crowd cheering. The band have set the tone for a night of musical celebration, and the crowd want to party hard. “One For The Radio” from 2008’s ‘Radio:ACTIVE,’ brings some on-stage antics, showcasing the band’s playful side and getting the audience even more engaged, with Tom reaching into the crowd, he has them all beaming like Cheshire cats as he does so.

The guitar sound and vocals in “God Of Rock & Roll”(2023) have the crowd singing along, not that they need encouraged, and “Friday Night” from ‘Motion in the Ocean(2006) brings more thundering bass from spinning top Dougie in his trademark dungarees, topless Harry Judd’s fast feet and percussive drum beats, creating a rhythmic frenzy in the venue. The energy escalates with “Corrupted,” from 2008, the crowd’s enthusiasm is infectious as they bounce as one, united in their love for the band. Draped over the barrier there are flags from Mexico, The USA, and Belgium to name a few, when asked several of the crowd have seen more than one show and some are down for the second night in Nottingham such is their devotion.

“Lies” from ‘Radio:ACTIVE, yet again showcases the vocals. Both Danny and Tom have shared lead and their voices have been on point every time. The energy in the venue is infectious, I find I’m smiling like an idiot, just like the rest of the crowd, who are now singing along quite happily at the tops of their voices. “Route 55”(2023)with its bouncy vibe has the crowd’s energy reaching new heights, as they get behind the band, and “I’m Fine”(2023) bring a different vibe with its unique, almost Beatles-esque style, Harry has the Ringo drum groove down to a tee. The breakdown see’s it take on a more raucous edge.

“Too Close For Comfort” from ‘Wonderland’ (2005) again has the crowd singing in unison, and “Everybody Knows” from 2008’s Radio:ACTIVE, maintaines the high energy with McFly‘s signature sound. A lucky fan gets to play the cowbell on this one. I can’t confirm this visibly as from my vantage point I cannot see the band as I’m crushed into a corner behind a really animated section of fans, I reside to an occasional glimpse but can hear everything as the sound is really good. “Star Girl”(2006) bringst a vibrant vibe, and “Happiness” (2020) adds more stunning song-writing to the set.

“Obviously” from ‘Room on the 3rd Floor” (2004) has the band and the crowd on fire, leading into the acoustic version of “Not Alone,” from the same album, features Tom and Danny power through this one on acoustics. The crowd’s reaction was filled with admiration for the stripped-back performance. The banger that is “All About You” continues, again this is a stripped-back version, the crowd don’t care as they sing along, at times drowning out the boys on stage, the duo’s musical chemistry is evident as the beam as they deliver this classic.

“Shine On” from the new album, has previously seen Steve Battelle joining the band on stage, creating a magical moment that the crowd loved. Steve has been helpful in being part of the song writing team for this new album. The set closer, “Red” from ‘The Lost Songs’ (2020), leave the audience cheering for more. With Danny making an appearance in amongst the fans certainly being a high point of the set, even if it was the set closer.

Returning for the encore, McFly open with “Forever’s Not Enough,” from the new album(2023) has the crowd singing at the top of their voices, creating a light and joyous atmosphere. “Honey I’m Home,” the 3rd single from the new album, continues the riotous party atmosphere, with the energy of the room nearing its peak.

The final song of the night, “Five Colours In Her Hair,” has the atmosphere off the scale. The crowd and the band’s interaction creates a memorable moment, with everyone singing along to the “duh duh duh’s” and dancing along like loons. For a moment, the roof was metaphorically lifted from Rock City, as McFly deliver another unforgettable performance.

As the band leave the stage, the cheers for more were overwhelming. The promise of another night on Wednesday for the final show of the tour leave fans buzzing with excitement. The energy, the music, and the connection between the bands and the crowd make it a night to remember.

As for myself, as I walk back to my car I’m singing “Its All About You” crazy I know as I usually cover far heavier and darker bands, but tonight has been refreshing, yes, by comparison the band may be clean cut! But they are certainly very talented and definitely entertaining, this has to rate up there as a contender for gig of the year. What more can I say?

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