This live review of The Enemy was written by Suzanne Oswald, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Zoe Anderson
With a powerful performance in front of a sold out Glasgow Garage, The Enemy prove why their fans have stuck by them all these years, as they show off new material from their recently released fourth album ‘It’s Automatic’, alongside the indie rock anthems that made them so popular in the first place.
It must be mentioned that The Enemy have very good pre-gig game, and know exactly how to warm up their audience. They have chosen two excellent local bands to support them tonight in Tijuana Bibles and Brownbear. Hitting the stage at 7.15pm, Tijuana Bibles play in front of a small crowd, but they have a notable swagger about them, creating an impressively fresh bluesy rock sound with their wailing guitar riffs and distorted bassline. Next up is Brownbear who make brilliant pop rock songs, big enough to get anyone on their feet. Most impressive is the upbeat ‘Dead or Alive’ with its funky guitar licks and driving percussion behind Matt Hickman’s husky vocals. These are definitely two bands to look out for.
The Enemy then take to stage with the crowd suitably pumped following a playlist full of indie favourites such as Catfish and the Bottlemen and The Courteeners, before finishing with a huge ‘Baba O’Riley’ singalong. They kick things off with ‘It’s Automatic’, a song from their fourth album, which is of the same name. The new album saw the band shift the goal posts to a certain extent. While it is not completely original in style, it has a more cohesive and refined sound than previous offerings, with a clear consideration over the production. While at times this can seem overdone on the album, it translates well into the live environment, giving the band a bigger stadium-ready sound.
Of the new material, ‘Everybody Needs Someone’ also gets an early play tonight. It must be noted that Tom Clarke’s voice no longer contains the spitting anger which was so prevalent in previous records, particularly the first, with the angst now being replaced by a more uplifting sound. Clarke’s lyrics were often full of social commentary about the tedium of modern life but now deal with the merits of being in love. While the lyrics can still be a bit ham-fisted at times, no one can deny his ability to deliver a big chorus, as seen here and later on in ‘Magic’ and ‘Don’t Let Nothing Get In Your Way’, arguably the best new song on show.
The new material gets a great reception tonight, but it has to be said that the most popular songs of the night are the old ones. As soon as they launch into ‘Technodanceaphobic’, from debut album ‘We’ll Live and Die in These Towns’, chaos ensues; beers are thrown, mosh pits open up and crowd-surfers appear. ‘Be Somebody’ and ‘Saturday’ are equally impressive with their terrace-style chanting.
The highlight of the night however is ‘Your Song’. The words ‘Now this song is about you’ resonate around the venue long after the end of the track, and once again at the end of the night when everyone is leaving the venue. It’s a song held close by The Enemy’s dedicated fanbase, and it’s hard not to get swept up in the surrounding euphoria.
From this point onwards, the chanting continues with the crowd bellowing the words back through ‘Aggro’, ‘Happy Birthday Jane’ and finally ‘You’re Not Alone’. The Enemy have always had something of a cult following in Glasgow, and it’s easy to see why on this evidence. The scenes in the crowd lead Tom Clarke to admit that they look forward to playing Glasgow more than anywhere else; ‘I wish we could play here every night’, he declares.
It’s fair to say that The Enemy have had a difficult journey since the release of their hugely successful debut album in 2007. They came at a time when a truckload of indie bands arrived on the scene and somehow got a bit lost in the crowd following quite an unfair battering from critics. However, while the venues have got smaller, their passion and energy show no sign of giving up.