We’re now only a few weeks away from the release of Tonight Alive’s ‘Limitless’ and, four songs in, the only thing we can be sure of it that there’s change afoot. Tonight at The Forum in London, any concerns about the five-piece forgetting their roots are shut down within seconds of the band taking to the stage. It’s where it all makes sense.
From the opening euphoria of ‘To Be Free’, Tonight Alive are simply marvelous. Taking the affirmations and positivity that they’ve always held close and twisting them into something grander and more pointed, Jenna’s cry of “Welcome to the Limitless era” couldn’t be more accurate.
Milk Teeth are also a band undergoing a change. Live they’ve always been very good but tonight, they’re outstanding. Gone is the apprehensive friction of ‘Vile Child’ and in its place, a playful showmanship rages. Unafraid to make a bid for the spotlight, the entire band shines. The relentless opening of ‘Brain Food’, ‘Burger Drop’ and ‘Brickwork’ turns head while a powerfully quiet run of ‘Kabuki’ and ‘Swear Jar’ takes hearts. “You can go from a really, really bad place to a much better place,” Becky Blomfield promises. “You can pull through.” Charismatic, engaging and with a sound dwarfing the 1400 capacity room they find themselves in, tonight’s the biggest show the band have ever played but you wouldn’t know it. Taking their backroom snarls and cutting it with arena-ready attitude, this is the best Milk Teeth have ever been. And they’re only getting started.
Sydney aside, London is the only place in the world that feels like a hometown show for Tonight Alive and this evening, they’re given a heroes welcome. From the strobe-laced opening of ‘To Be Free’, through the rumbling fire of ‘Hell and Back’ until the closing shudder ‘Lonely Girl’, the crowd is totally with the band. It’s a connection that’s reflected perfectly.
All four of the tracks released from ‘Limitless’ are aired tonight and instantly, you can see where Tonight Alive are going. They give the band a whole new dynamic as their soaring optimism is flecked with rainbow joy. The likes of ‘Human Interaction’, ‘How Does It Feel?’ and ‘Drive’ come with a newfound excitement that lifts their entire set into a new space. As Matt sits between pillars of light, the rest of band bound about the stage wanting to see each and every face before them. It’s carnival jubilance throughout.
Despite the new shape of Tonight Alive, the older material still fits in. ‘Wasting Away’ still packs a punch while ‘Amelia’ is as gut-wrenchingly powerful as ever. “If this song resonates with you, it’s yours,” the band offer. Later on in the evening Jenna shares something she’s learnt recently. “ It doesn’t matter who you are or what you are or who you want to be or what you want to be doing, if you don’t feel your life has purpose, you’re fucking lying to yourself. Every life is meaningful.” It’s a message the entire room pays attention to. Tonight Alive have always been about big statements of positive change but with ‘Limitless’, they finally have the grand theatre to create the space it deserves. From a cover of ‘When You Say Nothing At All’ to Cam, Whakaoi and Jake standing shoulder to shoulder, shredding on their guitars, tonight is wonderfully chaotic but the band hold it together with wide-eyed confidence. Change has never felt so good.