Having missed the openers tonight, I rush hastily into The Astoria so as not to miss a note of the musical phenomenon that is Taking Back Sunday. It’s a couple of years since they were at this venue last so everyone’s on the edge of their seats, wondering how their sound will go down. Boy, do they live up to any expectations. TBS grab hold of The Astoria with trademark attitude and finesse. They begin with ‘What’s It Feel Like To Be A Ghost?’, the hip swinging opener of latest album ‘Louder Now’. Front-man Adam Lazzara’s microphone swinging is a little more tentative than usual, owing to the fact that he pretty much knocked out bassist Matt Rubano last time they were in London at Give It A Name. He clearly wants to avoid a repeat performance, but this doesn’t deter Matt from running around like a little kid on stage tonight.

As their performance gains speed, so does the height of Adam’s mic and he’s soon back on full mic swinging form. The band is punchy, totally holding the crowd in their sound for the duration of the show. Midway through the set Adam is on his knees and it’s fairly clear from their reaction that the whole audience is right there with him. It is a little heavy on the new material tonight but that’s a good thing in Taking Back Sunday’s case as heavily melodic, riffed-up tracks from ‘Louder Now’ are blasted out, much to the crowd’s delight. Having said that, nothing can really equal the glee of everyone present tonight as TBS launch into old favourites such as ‘You’re So Last Summer’ and the triumphant ‘Cute Without The E’.

The encore comes in the form of Adam with an acoustic guitar and harmonica attached. He struts on stage and begins ‘Divine Intervention’ only to falter rather spectacularly and have the crowd help him out. Then he goes into an explanation of the chord progression and you have the feeling that he’s just reminding himself to make sure he doesn’t mess up again. The band returns to back him up for the finale of ‘A Decade Under The Influence’, leaving us in no doubt that Taking Back Sunday are back and have every confidence in what they’re doing. And they have every reason to be confident.

Released: Wed 31st May 2006