Lostprophets | Pop review

Brixton Academy, London

The singer wears a Chanel watch and dates TV presenters, his bandmates have the angular facial planes of male models, and you can bet they look good on the dancefloor. But Pontypridd's Lostprophets should not be judged solely on their catwalk-ready looks, or for having an audience so young that some left early to be up for school the next day (one row of boys in the balcony filed out at 10.30pm). Their prettiness alone hasn't given them two top-three ­albums: they are actually skilled ­balancers of grumpy emo thrashing and pop melodies. They sound like Rage Against the Machine might if they were less angry, and Welsh.

Rage of a different kind is the source of their grinding ­industrial noise. Though in their 30s, ­Lostprophets have not lost touch with the ­petulance and self-disgust that drives teenage emo fans, and this gig was a venting session for both band and crowd. When frock-coated frontman Ian Watkins dredged up ragged screams from the pit of his stomach, the fans screamed back; when he roared the punchy choruses to It's Not the End of the World and Where We Belong (both from new album The Betrayed), they roared with him.

In the hermetic world of hard rock, Watkins is Heathcliff and Jim Morrison combined, but you don't need to be a fan to find him watchable; without him, the gig would have been top-heavy with power riffs and battering-ram ­drumming. That said, Lee Gaze's ­aggressive ­guitar worked beautifully on a cover of the Prodigy's Omen, ­taking the song ­somewhere even more ­ominous than its authors did. He was also ­versatile enough to produce sweet, soft-rock peals on the swaying love song Rooftops, sending the message that it's OK for emo boys to be soppy, as long as they writhe with angst the rest of the time.

Contributor

Caroline Sullivan

The GuardianTramp

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