This Alien Ant Farm article was written by Jack Press, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Ben Kendall.
A lot can happen in fifteen years: bands go supernova and bands implode. For Alien Ant Farm, they elevated themselves to the top of the pile and threw themselves back off, and have begun climbing back up step-by-step in the space between the release of their sophomore record ‘ANThology’ in 2001, and the celebratory tour of it right now in 2016.
Whilst it may be the first night of the ANThology ANTiversary tour, it seems more like a normal night at the Craufurd Arms pub. Only fifteen people gathered in the back room by the time Cardiff alt-rockers The Dirty Youth take to the stage, pumped up with drop-dead enthusiasm – one problem: it literally drops dead on this crowd of zombies. Frontwoman Danni Monroe tries her hardest to be the bird that catches these early worms, and by the end of the set, she’s got a few more people at the front singing along, clapping their hands, and tapping their feet waiting for the next band.
The room becomes considerably more filled for the second of tonight’s supports acts, who unlike The Dirty Youth, were once at the heights Alien Ant Farm were, but fell down the pile too. Playing on their cult status, alt-metal quartet InMe rattle through a career-covering nine-song set, with big-hits ‘Underdose’ and ‘Faster The Chase’ going toe-to-toe with deeper fan-favourites, such as the loudest-sing-along-of-the-night-so-far ‘Firefly’, and equally poignant ‘Safe In A Room’. Whilst the Craufurd has become a home away from home for the Essex legends, tonight it’s more than clear that the crowd gathered, for their mass is here for one colony, and one colony only.
With half an hour to go between InMe and Alien Ant Farm, the crowd finally becomes the sold-out room it was pitched as, as the crowd becomes a tin of sardines tucked in tight. Nostalgia is on tap tonight the minute Alien Ant Farm clamber on stage and break into ‘ANThology’s opener ‘Courage’, which is followed by a word-for-word, sing-along, dance-a-thon ‘Movies’, that sets the tone for tonight’s set.
Frontman Dryden Mitchell is as eccentric now as he was in the video for ‘Smooth Criminal’, albeit a little better dressed. His ramblings roam from apologising to his mum, all the way to admitting he doesn’t quite like the music he’s playing, as if ‘ANThology’ is simply a snapshot of his past that he’d buried at the bottom of the pile that Alien Ant Farm had fallen from. Regardless, he’s vocally on form, every song sounding exactly as it was on the record back in 2001.
In all honesty, you can tell that Alien Ant Farm are professionals, and that they take their live work seriously, as they thank the crowd after nearly every song. While it’s your typical live fodder, it’s said with pure passion as if they seriously didn’t expect the respect they’ve received tonight.
Fan-favourites ‘Wish’ and ‘Summer’ are greeted with furore, whilst deeper cuts such as ‘Attitude’, ‘Stranded’, and ‘Universe’ are appreciated with honour, as if this rare treat is more than the sum of its parts.
Ending proceeds with an encore of ‘Smooth Criminal’ and ‘truANT’ cuts ‘Glow’ and ‘Goodbye’, the many members of this capacity crowd flood out of the room and into the bar where members from all three of tonight’s bands hang and reminisce, as the strong scent of nostalgia fills the room once more.