Sunday, 1 May 2016

The Treatment - Birmingham Review

Despite having the seen The Treatment four times prior to this Friday's gig in Birmingham, the band's show at the Asylum 2 was the first headline show of theirs that I have seen, and it was worth the six year wait. I first saw the band at the Cambridge Rock Festival back in 2010, before the band's debut album was released, but I have told that story here before so I will not bore anyone with it again! Since then, I have seen the band at the High Voltage Festival in 2011, supporting Slash in Nottingham in 2013, and supporting W.A.S.P. (also in Nottingham) last year. With the band's third album Generation Me just over a month old, the are band are currently trekking around the UK on their first headline tour with the current line-up. The new band members seem to have given the band a bit of a shot in the arm, and the now-solidified line-up has gelled together really well. Joining the band on their tour are the Scottish three-piece rockers The Amorettes, who I had seen previously supporting Europe and Black Star Riders last year. This show was originally meant to take place at the Oobleck, a strange venue in Digbeth where I had seen At the Gates previously, but the closure of that venue led to the show being moved to the Asylum 2, a new venue for me that is not too far north of Snow Hill station. It was not the nicest venue I have ever been in, but the sound throughout the evening was pretty good and, by the time The Treatment came onstage, there was a decent-sized crowd in attendance.

The relatively local four-piece rock band Stone Broken opened the show, and they made a pretty strong impression throughout. Their sound is firmly rooted in the post-grunge rock of bands like Alter Bridge, and their songs all contained pretty big riffs and some enjoyable choruses. The star of the show for me however was lead guitarist Chris Davis who lit up every song with an incendiary solo that showed some real quality. Overall, I enjoyed Stone Broken's set and they made their half an hour or so on stage count. I shall probably make an effort to check them out in the future.

The Amorettes had the luxury of playing to a slightly bigger crowd by the point they went on stage, but I felt it took the crowd quite a bit of time to warm up to their set. While their songs are not very original at all, they are an entertaining live act, and seeing them on a smaller stage showed that their stage craft is strong. The band manage to create an excellent energy when playing live, and I think it was this that finally won around many of the people in attendance. The cheers gradually increased as the set moved on, and by the end I think they had made many new fans. The band have just recorded a new album, so I look forward to hearing what that is like when it gets released.

It is clear that The Treatment have a decent amount of fans in Birmingham, and by the time they came on stage there was a good-sized crowd in attendance. The band opened with a couple of new numbers, with the first song Let it Begin being a real highlight. It is one of the best songs the band have ever written, and the energy that the main riff creates is unreal. Frontman Mitchel Emms is constantly growing into his new role, and he already seems to know how to work a crowd. The Asylum 2 is a small place, with a slow stage, but he made sure he was seen a lot throughout the evening, and really engaged with everyone in the audience. The new songs from Generation Me dominated the set, which was great to see, but there were some older numbers thrown in to great effect too. I Bleed Rock + Roll always goes down well live, as did the real oldie The Doctor later in the set. Another highlight was the title track of the new album, which has an excellent chorus made for the live performance, and the Grey brothers on guitar made for a formidable partnership. The excellent power pop of Backseat Heartbeat was the last of the new songs to be played, but it went down a storm as the crowd helped the band to sing the anthemic chorus. The main set came to an end with the oldie Shake the Mountain, which still sounds as good now as it did at the CRF back in 2011! Due to the design of the venue, leaving the stage for an encore break and coming back was not really an option, so after some large cheers the band went straight into Get the Party On which was extended to feature a lengthy guitar solo and some crowd participation vocal sections. Even the two ladies behind the bar were dancing at this point! The setlist was:

Let it Begin
Cry Tough
Running with the Dogs
The Devil
I Bleed Rock + Roll
We are Beautiful
Bloodsucker
Generation Me
The Doctor
Backseat Heartbeat
Drink, F**k, Fight
Emergency
Shake the Mountain
Get the Party On

Overall, this was an excellent gig from a young rock band that have all it takes to really make it. While this is unlikely to happen now three albums in, they are still putting on high-energy shows that will surely be enjoyed by fans for years to come. After the show the whole band came out to the merchandise desk to sign CDs and take pictures with the fans which is always great to see. I got my copy of Generation Me signed, which is always a bonus!

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