Live Reviews

2024/03/12 – South Arcade – o2 Academy 3, Birmingham

Review & Photos: G. Rossington.

Clearly staggered against the main room show tonight we are faced with an unusually early entry show on a weekday with doors opening at 18:30. Unfortunately, due to a mad race against the clock during rush-hour, we missed the first support act Tropic Gold, and made it for the last song on second support Beren Olivia.

By the time access was granted, the room was already 2/3 full and excitement was buzzing. South Arcade were gearing up backstage to play their second headline show in the second city, and what is impressive tonight, is the rigid 15 minute turn around time between acts (the venue curfew is 10pm).

At a little after the scheduled start time of 8:15, drummer Cody Leigh Johns is the first to run on stage and jump behind the kit, swiftly followed by guitarist Harry Winks and bassist Ollie Green. As they take position and launch in to opening track ‘Silverlight’, singer Harmony Cavelle arrives and kicks off a tight 45 minute set of pop-punk infused hits that fit somewhere between The Pretty Reckless, early Paramore and No Doubt.

The performance is arresting and full of energy as Harmony takes us on a never-ending jaunt across the stage, occasionally reaching out in to the front rows, high-kicking and jumping with sheer enjoyment. Harry Winks is a showman in the making pulling off slick licks and power poses throughout. Bassist Ollie is not far behind in the showmanship poses, but faultless throughout is the powerhouse of the beat, Cody.

It seems like he is only a tour away from twirling sticks in the air just to catch it and carry on the beat.

Recent single ‘Nepo Baby’ is second in the set and sees the audience in full vocal assault almost trying to outdo the band themselves. But with having only released a series of exceptional singles to date, it is astonishing to see how loved the band already are. ‘New Fever’, ‘Change Your Mind’ and ‘Danger’ are performed with such verocity and sound meatier than their audio counterparts.

Over the last year, Harmony Cavelle and Company have made themselves a reputation for their cover of Katy Perry’s ‘I Kissed A Girl’ being lively and encouraging anthemic singalongs wherever they’ve played. We do get that tonight, however, we also get a bonus cover to boot. A surprise cover of Avril Lavigne’s ‘Sk8er Boi’ is a welcome interlude half way through the set tonight and appears to be enjoyed by the audience.

There are three unreleased tracks in the set which are warmly received too. ‘Riptide’ explodes in to a punk-pop fury and sees some in the crowd mosh to their hearts’ content. ‘At The Lights’ is their “calm” moment as Cavelle tells us, but the track is far from calm. The final “newie” is ‘Worth It’ which has Hamrony telling everyone that “Me and Ollie are going to try and get through this one without breaking down”. It is the calmer of the newer tracks, but still packs a huge punch.

Single ‘Bigger Than Anything Ever’ causes a great reaction from the intimate room and sees the band rocking out in formidable style, but it is former single ‘Unaware’ that causes the last big uproar of the main set. Well, that is the “main set” according to what’s on the printed setlist, instead, the band choose to play through without walking off stage to come back on again.

The final song of tonight is ‘Sound of An Empty Room’ which is greeted again by a mass singalong and some cheeky moshing in parts, proving it was far from being the sound of an empty room. Whatever comes next for these Oxfordshire rockers remains to be seen, but with any luck, a full EP or an Album would be great, alongside more live dates and Summer Festival appearances.


Editor & Photographer. Eclectic music tastes and fan of a good beat. Can usually be found at a Gig across the Country or at a Festival in the Summer - More than likely with a camera surgically attached to me.