McFly are one of those bands that will constantly keep you guessing. They’ve done surf rock. They’ve done baroque pop. Hell, they’ve even done EDM! And yet, amongst it all, they’ve always been a pop punk/power pop band at heart. On their 7th studio album Power to Play, which was released in June and went straight to #2 in the UK album charts, they prove that they are more than just “a boy band”, by releasing arguably their heaviest and strongest album to date. Hot off of its release, the band wasted no time in announcing a massive UK tour with support from none other than Derbyshire-based trio LostAlone. Their London pit stop was at none other than the legendary Alexandra Palace – a venue that (as guitarist Danny Jones proclaimed on the night) they have NEVER played before. Despite headlining Wembley Arena 6 times (!!!) in their 20-year career, Ally Pally has, unbelievably, not been touched before by the London boys. That is, until tonight.
When it came time for LostAlone to take to the stage, the band took everybody in the venue by surprise instantly. As they tore through their set opener Enduring the Dream, taken from their latest album The Warring Twenties which I reviewed here, it’s clear to see that the group are destined for the bigger venues. And even though it was only a year ago since they released a new reunion album, they already have a brand new single out which they debuted tonight, titled I’m a Fire That You Can’t Put Out. The whole track oozes that classic LostAlone sound that fans know and love, mixing the pop-punk sound of bands like Creeper and Fearless Vampire Killers with an impeccable vocal delivery that sounds as if Gerard Way himself recorded it. And it goes down a treat for the Ally Pally crowd – by the last chorus, people were already singing the lyrics “Scream it loud, scream it loud / I’m a fire that you can’t put out” back to them.
Frontman Steven Battelle knew how to control the crowd too; whether it was through song, through motion, or through command, the audience were always in the palm of his hand. As they introduced their track Unleash the Sands of All Time, for example, Steven told the crowd that “we don’t really like moshpits, but we like movement.” He instead asked the crowd to sway from side to side, and they did exactly as he asked. The ease of getting the crowd to do whatever they wanted them to do was especially clear to see when they were halfway through their final track The Last Drop of Forever, as Steven got different sections of the crowd to sing back a separate line from the chorus which, when complete, formed a beautiful makeshift choir. They left the stage shortly afterward to rapturous applause and, I’m sure, a fair few new fans too.
Queen’s iconic Bohemian Rhapsody and Bon Jovi’s anthemic Livin’ on a Prayer rang out across the Palace in succession, to help the audience tune their vocal cords – then, the lights went low and The Village People’s hit YMCA played out, as a massive black curtain dropped to the ground, and the McFly boys walked onto the stage. Opening their set with Power to Play’s lead single Where Did All the Guitars Go? and then into the equally exciting Land of the Bees, the quartet wasted no time in getting adjusted or settling in – it was all hands on deck from here on out. Yet it wasn’t all seriousness; the banter they all shared onstage was hilarious too – like when vocalist/guitarist Tom Fletcher’s voice broke in the middle of their acoustic track Not Alone, which he laughed off for the rest of the song. Shortly after it ended and the applause rang out, he was laughing to himself once again before saying “Puberty finally kicked in, nice one Tom” to himself. And as their drummer Harry Judd took the mic to introduce Honey I’m Home, he exclaimed joyfully “Tom wrote this next song about me!” before Tom replied with “Harry I’m Home… We had to change it, ’cause it was too obvious” directing a cheeky smile and a little wink at the drummer.
It’s safe to say that their set was also full of some pretty unexpected surprises too. The audience shared a collective scream as Danny announced that “Mr. Rou Reynolds from the band Enter Shikari” would be joining them for Corrupted – a guest appearance that I would NEVER have seen coming in a million years, but one that I was certainly all here for! He helped deliver a brilliant performance of the track, complete with some of his renowned Shikari snarls. Steven from LostAlone joined the boys for Shine On, as he was a co-writer on the track and a few others from their new album, and the energy that all of them possessed during the playthrough was infectious and a great sight to see. It made me, and I’m sure everyone else, want to see them play more. But perhaps the biggest and most shocking surprise of them all came just as the encore started – joining McFly in playing their track Forever’s Not Enough, as well as HIS own track Hold Back the River, none other than James Bay appeared from the sidelines, complete with his trademark fedora hat, and pulled out an absolute blinder of a show for the London crowd. When the boys said that playing this venue was truly special to them, they really weren’t fucking kidding.
They finished their mammoth set with everybody’s favourite, the classic Five Colours In Her Hair from their 2004 debut album Room on the 3rd Floor. Having seen them already play this live before (at Slam Dunk Festival, of all places) it went just as hard live tonight. They really amp up the distortion on this one and fuse surf-rock dance vibes with pop-punk bounciness perfectly. When the last chord rang out, confetti flooded the venue with, you guessed it, 5 different colours, and the lighting grids behind them spelled out MCFLY in massive white letters. The band took turns individually thanking the crowd and snapping a picture or 5 for their socials (OK, no more puns now!) before heading out, leaving the crowd in the capable hands of Argent as their song God Gave Rock & Roll to You blared out across the speakers. And as the crowd filtered out one by one, it was clear to see that everybody had a damn good time, and they didn’t want the night to end just yet. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the fun has to stop; the two bands are still extensively touring the UK together for the rest of this month, and if you want a little more LostAlone in your life, they have just announced a March 2024 UK tour that is definitely NOT to miss!
Review – Joe Richardson
LostAlone Photo Credit: Jodi Cunningham
LostAlone 2024 headline dates:
Mar 07: St Albans The Horn
Mar 08: London The Lower Third
Mar 09: Brighton Patterns
Mar 10: Bournemouth Bear Cave
Mar 12: Exeter Phoenix
Mar 13: Plymouth The Junction
Mar 14: Cardiff The Globe
Mar 15: Milton Keynes MK11 Kiln Farm
Mar 17: Birmingham The Asylum
Mar 18: Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Mar 19: Leeds Oporto
Mar 20: Manchester Deaf Institute
Tickets are on sale here: https://lostalone.com/shows/