The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

support Sherwood + Kill The Arcade
author AP date 16/05/08 venue University, Southampton, UK

With the recent tours that have visited Southampton University's Garden Court and the somewhat disappointing turn-out for those gigs in mind, I have no idea what to expect of tonight's event, featuring The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus on their first ever UK tour. But as I purchase my ticket some hours before the show and learn there are only about thirty of them left, I find my expectations increase considerably. After all, half a show's its audience. I find myself even more bemused at the sigh of an enormous queue outside the venue which, it must be pointed out, is the queue for the under eighteen year-olds. Well, at least the turn-out scrapes the floor with those past performances, I think to myself, as I queue behind the other three eighteen year olds in our separate queue.

Kill The Arcade

Tasked with warming up the crowd tonight are Kill The Arcade, a band hailing from Berkshire, UK. I've had no previous acquaintance with the band, and frankly I was under the impression that there'd only be two bands playing tonight. Our student union has snuck another one of its musical protectorates to ride on bigger names to gain some press. While this is a welcome practice, I wish they'd inform of such additions to give me the chance to check the band out in advance. But whine aside, Kill The Arcade deliver a modest fusion of pop punk and indie to little enthusiasm from the crowd's part; their set bettered somewhat by the excellent sound quality this venue is known to promise. That's about all there is to say about it though, because the band redefines the word uneventful with their dispassionate mulling of one identical, stereotypical indie track after the other. There's a glimpse of hope here and there with a catchy tune or a snappy chorus but not enough to raise an eyebrow. Quite frankly, kill the arcade (fire) is exactly what this band does.



Supporting The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus tonight are Sherwood, also a pop punk slash indie fusion group, from California. This enthusiastic quintet picks up on the preceding act's flaws and failures and fine-tunes them to an enjoyable, groovy ol' time that has the crowd moshing - yes, moshing in the best something-core fashion. And unlike Kill The Arcade, these boys know a thing or two about involving the crowd. There's coordinated clapping, jumping and singing along and while these can be a generic and tired method to stimulate a crowd, it works surprisingly well here. There's something about the upbeat melodies that begs for attention, and a bit of swaying about, tapping one foot against the ground perhaps, or rocking the head back and forth ever so slightly seems like the best way to satisfy it. It's a very proper show save for the occasional moshpit here and there; the band knows it, we know it, and it works for everyone's benefit. I couldn't imagine a better band for support tonight.


The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus take considerably longer to set up but as we soon come to see, it's well worth the wait. Before entering, the band stations a camera crew on stage left, apparently in an effort to film their first ever UK trek for personal memories, though I learn from the band that such footage just might surface on the band's website some time in the future as I have a casual chat later with Joey and Ronnie, the band's bassist and vocalist. The band soon enters, introducing themselves before blasting into "Waiting" to a bewildered crowd.

The moshpit emerges almost immediately and is only intensified by the following tracks, "False Pretense" and "In Faith's Hands", both of which carry the characteristics of a good scene-pit-destroyer. It seems the band is far more popular over here than I would have believed, because damn near everybody in the room flawlessly reciprocates Ronnie's passionate lyrics throughout the band's eleven-song set. To prevent the tempo from slowing now, the boys follow up with "Damn Regret", another one of their high-energy pop punk meets post-hardcore party starters. Then it's time for some more melancholic material with "Seventeen Ain't So Sweet" and "Justify", before calming to a solo mini-performance by one of the guitarists that neatly flows into "Guardian Angel". These anthems inspire members of the crowd to lift others up, sending several crowd surfers toward the stage while some choose to sit on their loved one's shoulders waving their hands.

Then pandemonium breaks loose as Ronnie announces the next song's going to be "Face Down", briefly speaking of its history before, its meaning to him. For once, it must be noted here, the moshpit is not littered with karate-dancing retards out to bash others to hospital condition and generally ruin everybody else's time, which might explain why it's so popular tonight. A friendly pit in which I manage to lose my shoe for a while, and in which the removal of other clothing garments isn't spared. It's then time for an impressive, faithful cover of Foo Fighters' "My Hero", another song that seems to please the audience to ecstatic joy. Contrary to what I expected though, the band finishes off with "Grim Goodbye", leaving me wondering what exactly could be the purpose of leaving such an amazing song as "Misery Loves Its Company" out of tonight's set. Oh well, that's not enough to ruin the fun, or anything for that matter. An excellent UK debut from The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.



  • 01. Waiting
  • 02. False Pretense
  • 03. In Faith's Hands
  • 04. Damn Regret
  • 05. Seventeen Ain't So Sweet
  • 06. Justify
  • 07. Special
  • 08. Guardian Angel
  • 09. Face Down
  • 10. My Hero (Foo Fighters cover)
  • 11. Grim Goodbye

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