Live Review: Alien Ant Farm, Rock City (08/01/16)

Much like a fine wine ANThology has matured well with age, in a live context at least. For Rock City’s first show of 2016 Nu-Metallers Alien Ant Farm brought a strong support line-up and a solid rock show to Nottingham, much to the delight of the varied and passionate crowd. The show was originally booked for Rescue Rooms but had to be moved due to the great volumes of demand for the show. Opening the show were Welsh Rock quintet The Dirty Youth. Despite being greeted with a sparse crowd The Dirty Youth pulled no punches and it paid off. The band appeared at their most comfortable on the larger stage and it improved their performance greatly.

Having not played on the Rock City stage in over a decade, InMe returned to the surroundings with an explosive showing. Opening with ‘Saccharine Acardia’ InMe established Rock City as their stomping ground for the next fifty minutes. The band may have been booked due to their rabid popularity at the time of ANThology’s release, this was evident in the reaction to the band playing songs from their first two albums. ‘Underdose’ had the growing crowd jumping and singing along to the impassioned choruses. Despite this, the band’s newer material stands out as a positive evolution. For a band that have too often been relegated to the stage in the basement at this venue, they were ready to reclaim the main room of the greatest venue in the country as theirs. Performing more magnificently than ever before InMe, undeniably, stole the show.


Alien Ant Farm had a tough act to follow, but they weren’t going to take that lying down. Walking out to thunderous applause the band broke straight into the opener to ANThology ‘Courage’. The band were playing through ANThology in order for this show. Perhaps this was a way to capitalise on some nostalgia as we move towards the album’s fifteenth anniversary. Regardless of the motives, the band were prepared to make this a very fun show. A minimalist stage set allowed for a focus on the music alone. Having fifteen years of experience playing these songs the band were able to bring the album to life in the live setting. Intuitive guitar licks cut through what were otherwise muddied guitar sounds, adding layers that completed the songs well. The expansive drum kit provided an array of percussive nuggets hidden throughout each piece only to be caught by the most astute, while the rest of the crowd were truly lost in the moment at a very fun Rock show.

“Intuitive guitar licks cut through what were otherwise muddied guitar sounds”

“Thank you all for coming down so early! What time is it? Oh man, I thought Rock didn’t even start until 11pm?” Notes singer Dryden Mitchell. An intuitive observation for a town in which Rock and Roll far too often does have a bedtime, a bedtime that is 10pm sharp. Alien Ant Farm were successfully able to take an album that was released fifteen years ago and turn it into a very fun night for the busy Rock City crowd, this was evidenced by how quickly the seventy five minute set passed, filled with dancing and cheering. Closed off by an easily telegraphed encore, the band re-joined the stage for three last songs. It was clear this was building to a climax with the song that saw the band gain their fame fifteen years ago. The crowd erupted as Alien Ant Farm broke into the riff for ‘Smooth Criminal’. Mitchell dove straight into the crowd and remained there for the rest of the song. Alien Ant Farm rejoiced as they left the stage having just conquered Nottingham.

Liam Fleming

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Image: USAG- Humphreys via Flickr


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