“We are All The Young, we are All The Young.” The wails from the crowd were fierce and boisterous as the local heroes took to the stage. This was it. This was the moment. The moment music lovers in Stoke-on-Trent had been patiently waiting for since Agent Blue’s explosive album ‘A Stolen Honda Vision’ was released back in 2006. All The Young have come a very long way since those days of Fifth Action Shelter and New Education. Days of Agent Blue and Model Radio filling local venue the Underground every week are very sadly gone, but members of these great bands from yesteryear were at Keele University to support their good friends tonight.
Tonight. Tonight was never going to be just a gig, no; it was always going to be much more than that for everyone there. The fans, eagerly awaiting the release of All The Young’s debut album, ‘Welcome Home’, on 2nd April. The support bands, secretly hoping they could do their heroic peers proud. Even the photographers, one of which admitted to be feeling nervous at the prospect of snapping All The Young on home turf even though he himself was from Liverpool. And the band members themselves, it was clear from the moment they ventured out on stage that they are still very much in love with the city that raised them.
As fans flocked in, The Get Alongs got the night off to a typically hectic start, with Shane Davis on perfect front man form. Entertaining the crowd with his reckless style, which somewhat unbelievably still manages to accommodate his sunglasses, Shane and the lads more than justified their place on the stage. All The Young personally picked the supporting acts for tonight’s gig: after coming home and checking out some local gigs, they had been impressed with The Get Alongs’ style and prowess on stage. And The Get Alongs certainly didn’t let their headlining peers down with tonight’s performance, and neither did second support band of the night, The Control, with their unique up-beat and high tempo riffs impressing all present. As with Shane Davis, The Control front man Joseph Brennan-Hulme was up to his usual tricks, feeding the crowd with awesome presence which blended greatly with the band’s tight set.
And then it was almost time. The minutes seemed like hours as All The Young waited back stage and the fans stood with intense anticipation and beer in hand. The Get Alongs had got the crowd roaring with excitement and now they were read for this night of local brilliance to hit a whole new height. The chants grew louder as the boys took to the stage, with immense pride filling the room. “We are All The Young, we are All The Young.”
Here were four lads from Stoke-on-Trent who already this year have supported the Kaiser Chiefs on tour and played at the incredible SXSW Festival in Texas, and now, with just over one week to go before the release of their debut album, ‘Welcome Home’, All The Young had walked out for their hometown gig to well-earned rapturous applause. The band was on superb form right from the off, giving a performance that proved that this debut album tour was just the beginning of something huge.
Front man Ryan Dooley- clad in trademark sunglasses, and wearing a raincoat that only true rock and roll stars can get away with on stage- provided amazing stage presence, as did his bass playing brother Jack and guitarist Dave Cartwright, and least we forget the brilliance of Will Hearney on drums. The Horizon, personal favourite album track for Ryan, went down a right treat (to use a slight Stoke twang), and is to be the fourth single to be released from the album. The song was also played at the bands acoustic set earlier in the afternoon, which, to the fans at that performance, gave a beautifully intimate slant on the song. During the acoustic set, Ryan had the misfortune of a string breakage during a song. “We’re getting the mistakes out the way now, and then we’ll be sound tonight.” Was the perfect response from Ryan, highlighting not only his calm attitude on stage but his professionalism and wit also. And his statement was more than true to the word. Possibly the band’s biggest crowd pleaser of the night, however, went to The First Time, with the crowd going a little crazy to say the very least. Also high on most people’s favourites was of course Welcome Home, the track which first made All The Young realise that had formed something a bit more special than just another guitar band.
Going into the final stretch of this passionate love-for-all-things-Stoke performance, Ryan pulls from the back of the stage a black T-shirt, on the front of which rests the words ‘The only way is Oatcakes’. One given to each member by Oatcake Day organiser and 6 Towns Radio presenter Terry Bosson’s, Ryan proudly showed off his new shirt in front of his hometown fans.
“This is for the hole in the wall.” He cries, a direct act of pride for his beloved Stoke-on-Trent. Such a reference only goes to show you can take a band out of Stoke, but you can’t take Stoke out of their hearts, with Ryan clearly paying his respects to the last hole in the wall oatcake shop, which is sadly to be closed this very weekend after almost one hundred years of business. All The Young’s strong sense of pride ran deeply through the veins of every person at Keele University as they powered through their set with unmatchable passion. If ever there was a time to see All The Young live, this was it. This was the moment. The moment four local lads dropped in on their beloved hometown ahead of their highly anticipated debut album release, and will set off once more having brought a great sense of pride back into the hearts of music lovers in Stoke-on-Trent.