Birmingham welcomed Issues like an old friend. The band have only graced the UK with their presence twice, returning for an entirely sold out UK/EU stint supporting Of Mice & Men. In the short time since their first appearance last September, Issues have made quite a hefty mark on the music scene drawing in a number of fans to their infectious pop-induced metalcore sound. From hearing a few awaiting the show to start, it is clear that a lot of the crowd are there for Issues, even though they are only the support for the night and the screams as they take to the stage only seem to confirm that.
Their setlist is split impeccably between the few new tracks from their debut, self-titled album – released earlier this year on Rise Records – and beloved older tracks from their EP Black Diamonds. “Princeton Ave” is introduced solely by Tyler singing the hook ‘what is a man…’ a cappella with the crowd singing the rest back without any help. One thing Issues does well is making music you can dance to, weaved amongst heavy riffs is the catch of synth and incredible mixing on the part of their DJ Ty ‘Scout’ Acord. It’s what makes Issues so unique and keeps the crowd moving even through some of the heavier songs.
“The Settlement” comes on a more sombre note as it’s introduced with the question ‘who here has parents who have divorced?’ by screamer Michael Bohn. It is met with an overwhelming response as scores of kids in the crowd raise their hands, along with a few of the members on stage. Issues are unashamedly who they are and they reflect that in their songs, it’s what makes them so accessible to their audience – having something that is relatable makes people pay attention.
Closing the set is the bands standalone single “Hooligans” which pulled a great response. Issues’ hooligans amongst the crowd lived up to their name as they channeled the energy they’d built throughout the set, releasing it all in one last burst as they moved erratically to their anthem. When performing, Issues never disappoint but for a while they have been touring with an incredibly similar set list. An addition of new tracks paired with the legions of fans Issues already have behind them, they’re going to be unstoppable.
Photos and review by Kelly Hamilton