Sunday 22 April 2012

Lostprophets // Live Review including Interview with support band // Modestep

If you don’t recognise the name Modestep, well, where have you been? The four cheeky Londoners have been storming the airwaves with their blend of dubstep and rock. The boys have touched down in Manchester as sole support for Welsh rockers Lostprophets. Est.1987 headed down to the show to catch up with Josh, Tony, Matt and Nick [Modestep] to chat influences, Bieber and turning fan points into tattoos!

Modestep's Josh on stage in Manchester
Hiya guys! So you’ve been on this tour for a few dates now, how’s it all going being on the road with Lostprophets playing these sold out shows?
TONY- Yeah, it’s been going really good; I filled up an entire bag full of sick on the second night [all laugh]…
MATT- He’s been sleeping in his own vomit for the last two days, haven’t you?
T- Unfortunately yes, but that’s how it goes; we’re lads on tour [laughing].

It’s recently been announced that you’re playing Leeds and Reading Festivals this summer. Are you looking forward to it?
JOSH- Yeah! It was the first Festival I went to as a kid, well Reading was. I’m really excited; it’s weird, like seven years ago when I first went and was looking up to all my idols and now we’re playing it…
T- Headlining the dance stage [laughing]
J- We’re not headlining!
T- But, in my head we are!
NICK- Ambitious! Don’t worry about it.

Pre Modestep, you DJ’d separately as well as played in bands. When and why did you decide to combine the two?
T- Yeah, me and Josh are brothers and have been producing music for about twelve years; I was doing electronic stuff, Josh was doing more soul stuff. We thought we’d make dub-step because we love “Rusko” and “Caspa” and thought we would record stuff together. We brought Matt on board because he’s sexy as hell and we got Nick on board because he’s a great guitarist.
J- For us, it was never about are we going to make it live; we were all in rock bands before this, so it was a natural thing to come together.

Ian Watkins, Lostprophets, on stage in Manchester
Where as most bands start in their home country playing gigs you put yourselves out there on YouTube and it’s grown really rapidly worldwide. Do you think there is a shift towards the internet and the whole DIY mentality?  
T- It’s all about the internet. We have to say a massive thank-you to “UKF” because they’ve helped us so much and a massive thank-you to “Dubstep Music” page on Facebook. I think at the end of the day if you work hard, have some good ideas and have some talent then you’ve got the platform to get out there. So yeah, internet done good!
M- Internet is perfect!

Your new single “Show Me A Sign” is out April 29th- we have to ask you about the video, it’s pretty epic. How did you come up with the concept of it; “destroying commercial music”?
J- Me and Tony always come up with the videos and try to direct them. It was basically a diss at XFactor and manufactured bands. But, it was also kind of ironic because we are commercial in a sense.
T- People say we’re a commercial band, so we thought we’d come out there and go “destroy all commercial music”. Not a lot of people have understood that, but let me just say on record that it’s definitely, 100% not Justin Bieber at the end and it’s 100% definitely not Simon Cowell that plays the pig!
M- They’re both lovely people in their own respect
T- I love them; I’d love to work with Justin Bieber, he’s one of my favourite people. [laughing]…in the world!
M- CUT! Finish on that!

You’ve been working on your album since last year and it’s coming out this summer, what can we expect?
M- Not what people think it’s going to be, I think. There are a lot of influences on there, from Pink Floyd to Rage Against The Machine, to all the modern dub-step artists.
T- It’s an eclectic mix of all the music that we like. Josh is kind of a soul, Mo-Town, Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder kind of guy, I was into the whole “Garage” thing; I’m a big fan of Todd Edwards and Tough Jam. I know Nick came from Rage Against The Machine angle and I know that Matt came from a “Led Zeppelin” background, “Panthera”. So, we’ve brought all our ideas together and put it in one album; hopefully people like it…

Modestep tattoo anyone?

You have “fan points” on your website that fans can earn and swap for prizes from you guys. The top one is getting tattooed by Tony- so, before we save up the 100,000 points for that, who decides what the tattoo is of, and Tony, we are hoping you are a qualified tattoo artist?
T- Before I was in Modestep I worked in a tattoo shop for two years and did an apprenticeship and all that, but to be honest with you, the only tattoo I will do on people is the Modestep face logo. They have to get the Modestep face because it’s pretty much all I can do.
J- Unless you like tribal…[laughing]
T- Yeah tribal or a Japanese symbol!

And here's what happened when Modestep and Lostprophets took to the stage...

Modestep brothers Josh and Tony Friend
Modestep have been owning the airwaves of recent months, making Radio 1’s playlist on numerous occasions and performing live around the world: their work hard, no holds barred ethic has got them to this point. Their meteoric rise within the industry may seem like it has come over night but behind the scenes the London quartet have been working, musically hard for over twelve years. Tonight is the culmination of this.

On the face of things the very fact that “Modestep” are branded as dubsetp could alienate fans here to see headliners Lostprophets; however, that is far from the case. Modestep own the stage here in Manchester’s largest of three Academys, and their mash up of heavy dubstep and classic rock anthems wins the crowd over instantaneously. The floor is transformed; one part mosh pit, one part people “two stepping”- perfectly mirroring Modestep’s on stage vision. The live show isn’t purely a DJ set, nor purely a conventional gig. Instead Modestep break it down; anthems such as Madness’ “Ironshirt” are given a new lease of life, remixed and played alongside David Guetta’s infamous “Love Don’t Let Me Go” whilst Modestep’s own hits such as “To The Stars” blend in perfectly. Dubstep is very much the “in” trend at the moment and Modestep manage to set themselves apart from a plethora of other dubstep artists. Their very own “Bite The Hand” and “Feel Good”, played back to back, send the crowd into a frenzy, the bass reverberating through the floor. Adding remixes to Cee Lo Green’s “F**k You” and DJ Fresh’s “Louder” makes the set current but Modestep add a new flavour to tracks that have been played tirelessly commercially. Josh’s impressive vocals shine through as he covers The Verve’s “Bitter Sweet Symphony”. A sample of Dr P’s “Tetris” adds a lighter tone to the set, whilst “Killing In The Name Of” by Rage Against The Machine drives home Modestep’s rock roots. Their live show takes the “Modestep” ethos to the next level, and acclaimed hit and crowd favourite “Sunlight” closes the extraordinary forty-five minute set here tonight. Modestep are a band that excels in the live arena and the only way is up for these four cheeky chappies.

Lostprophets are back with “Weapons”, their new album that is, not actual weapons! Although, by the looks of The Academy, filled to bursting this evening, Lostprophets have brought an army with them. Everyone here knows that tonight's going to be something a little special. Lostprophets are renowned for an impressive live show and tonight was no different; a juggernaut of energy.

Stuart, Lostprophets bassist
Dressed identically from head to toe Lostprophets have a new unified sense. “Bring ‘Em Down”, first single from the new album, asserts the band’s presence here tonight; they are here to incite something in everyone present in the venue. And the crowd's response? They incite a chaotic and engulfing pit as the opening song soars out. The crowd move as one, an army of comrades unflagging through old favourites “Can’t Catch Tomorrow [Good Shoes Won’t You This Time]” and “A Town Called Hypocrisy”. Lostprophets’ songs are already infused with passion, gritty vocals and intricate riffs and only come to life more so during the live set. Playing a selection from throughout their musical career, the older and building “Shinobi Vs. Dragon Ninja ” is placed alongside newer album tracks such as “Jesus Walks”. The iconic “Rooftops” is given a little makeover; the lyrics to Kanye’s Gold Digger playfully introduced and sung over the “Rooftops” melody. Whilst homage is also paid to Guns N’ Roses, their famed “Sweet Child O’ Mine” is belted out confidently by Ian as the introduction to Lostprophets’ own hit “Where We Belong”. Lostprophets are perfectly in tune to what their fans want. Crowd chants of “Godzilla” bring the house down and Lostprophets scrap the set list and play an impromptu, but perfectly delivered version of the song; Jamie’s piercing scream vocals ensure a huge pit erupts from the centre of the crowd. New songs such as “Another Shot” and the infectious “We Bring An Arsenal” hold their own amongst old favourites, capturing the essence of Lostprophets’ ability to write anthemic rock songs. Although only released a matter of weeks prior to the show, every word of the new album is sung back at the band by the entire audience.
Lostprophets on stage in Manchester

More unified than ever, Lostprophets are slick, spontaneous and keep the momentum from beginning to end. Lead singer Ian’s powerful vocals are backed by perfect harmonies on each track, including famed hits “Last Train Home” and “Burn Burn”. The whole crowd, and band, leave tonight completely satisfied, completely exhausted after pouring every inch of energy into one spectacular show. 

Here is where you can still catch Lostprophets on tour - 


23rd Birmingham O2 Academy
24th Aberdeen Music Hall
25th Glasgow O2 Academy
27th Newcastle O2 Academy
28th Cardiff Arena
30th Nottingham Rock City
May 2012
1st Cambridge Corn Exchange
2nd Southampton Guildhall
4th London Brixton Academy
Photo credit: Danny Peart Graphics