Following the recent release of their 10th studio album Circles, SoCal rockers, P.O.D teamed up with fellow Californian’s Alien Ant Farm for a co-headlining tour across the pond. The Full Circle Tour began with a string of dates across Europe before bringing them to the UK for a further 11 shows. Saturday night was London’s turn. The lucky venue for this nostalgic throwback for fans was the O2 Forum Kentish Town.
An explosive and humorous performance
The night started with special guests ’68 warming up the crowd. I’ve been lucky enough to see these in the US a few times so I was already well acquainted with their set style; although for many others in the room, the Atlanta Noise Punk duo may not have been a familiar experience. Arriving on stage looking dressed up for a lavish performance at The Ritz, some confused faces splashed the crowd. But vocalist/guitarist Josh Scogin and drummer Nikko Yamada soon gained the audience’s trust with an explosive and humorous performance that kept the room amused.
Their punchy set list spanned across both studio albums, In Humor and Sadness and Two Parts Viper. Well aware the crowd wouldn’t know their songs, Josh kept their attention with the jokes; such as how they resembled Britney Spears during her crazy stage. I have seen a few duo bands now and although their sound styles are pretty similar, ’68 are way above the rest as they choreograph their live sets with excellence. If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend you gives these guys a chance.
Taking it back to the nineties
The crowd was getting restless and there was a growing buzz in the air. It was time for all the nostalgia feels as Alien Ant Farm hit the stage. Kicking off with “Bad Morning” and “What I Feel Is Mine” from their 4th album Up In the Attic, they immediately threw the room back to the early nineties and released the crowd’s inner teenage fan girls. The opening notes of “Movies” was met with a huge cheer and vocalist Dryden Mitchell had the help of the elated fans singing along to every word.
My time in the photo pit was now up so I headed to the side and packed away my camera. Inciting the night’s nostalgia, Dryden talked about the good old days of MTV; when it actually played music videos instead of these lame reality TV series. I certainly remember those days; the hours I spent with my friends just blasting out the tunes and waiting patiently for that ONE song to come up.
A packed out venue
As the start of “These Days” kicked in, I squeezed my way to the back of the crowd. The venue had completely packed out so this had totally ruined my plan of getting a good view. I now found myself behind a wall of bodies not being able to see a thing. But the lack of view was not spoiling it for some. There were still pockets of friends jumping and dancing around, reminiscing to the soundtrack of their youth.
Pulling a few heartstrings, Dryden dedicated the next song “Attitude” to his mum as well as the late Chester Bennington. Chester once said this was his favourite AAF track. Touching a lot of hearts, a warm cheer echoed around the room. As the song ended, guitarist Terry Corso faded out with a riff from Linkin Park’s own, “In The End.”
The nostalgic set list continued to fire out tracks from earlier albums Anthology, Truant and Up In the Attic; such as “Never Meant,” “Courage” and “Sticks and Stones.”
Setting the crowd off one more time, the last song seemed to be the song everyone had been waiting for. With a flood of phones now lighting the room, “Smooth Criminal” ended their set with a bang. Quite literally… there was a confetti canon, I LOVE a confetti canon.
The crowd was sent into a frenzy
With the crowd already pumped, it was now P.O.D’s time to turn the place upside down. A huge roar greeted the band and they jumped straight into the instantly recognizable intro from “Boom.” Teasing with the crowd, they held the riff and built up the suspense. Vocalist Sonny Sandoval then bounced on stage and with a blast of CO2. The song dropped and the crowd were sent into a frenzy. It’s been 18 years since its release, I never get bored witnessing this played live. Continuing the energy, they followed up with more old classics “Rock the Party (Off the Hook)” & “Will You.”
Over the past few years I have seen P.O.D live many times. Whether it’s to a room full of thousands or a low key acoustic set, their love and passion for being on stage just shines out. This show was no exception, the energy beaming from the stage was contagious.
Again my time was up in the photo pit. As “Panic Attack” kicks in, I worm my way through the lively crowd and this time manage to find the perfect spot. Next up we heard some tunes from the new album Circles. “Rockin’ With the Best,” “Soundboy Killa,” “Always Southern California” and title track “Circles.” These newer songs kept the room bouncing just as much as the classics.
The energy in the room was still escalating and there were now a few bodies surfing along the crowd. As security collected them at the barriers, Sonny was making an effort to reach out and grab hands with every single one of them. This was a touching thing to see and it just emphasizes the respect and gratitude that P.O.D show towards their fans. Going old school again they then threw out “Satellite,” and “Southtown.”
Before the next song, Sonny invited all the kids to the stage. From the friends and family that were watching from aside, a young boy walked on stage and placed himself in front of the drum kit before those distinct drum beats of “Youth of the Nation” fill the room. Being alone did not phase this kid one bit, he rocked and sung along to every single word. Afterwards he was joined by Sonny’s Son for an amusing little dance off that I’m sure warmed the hearts of everyone in the room.
Open it up
It was now the crowd’s turn to do their bit. Along with guitarist Marcos Curiel, Sonny challenged them to open up the biggest mosh pit of the night. A huge chunk of the floor was now open, they blasted out a few verses of “Without Jah, Nothin’,” which sent the room into chaos. This was probably the most lively I’ve seen the crowd at a P.O.D show. After the carnage, a sea of phones lit up the room as the delicate notes of “Beautiful” brought some peace to the crowd.
Up next was their latest single “Listening for the Silence.” Ending the set in style, “Alive” created another explosion in the crowd before “Who’s In This House” closed the night.
With several shows still to go, the guys head out across the UK to continue their epic tour. I hope we see them back in London again soon.