P.O.D. and Alien Ant Farm at the O2 Academy Bristol - Live Music Review

Posted on: 2019-02-28

Our rating:

The band leaves the stage and the crowds begin to make their way home, everyone with big grins on their faces from a thoroughly entertaining evening of great music.

When I found out I was able to review this gig I was hit by a wave of nostalgia and taken back 15 years to a time when I was still at school and forming my musical tastes and opinions. I immediately started listening though the back catalogue of hits from P.O.D. and Alien Ant Farm to get me in the mood. I had been aware that both bands had been releasing new projects again in recent years and was reminded about how many I knew and how catchy they were! Hits from the new album, Circles, like Soundboy Killa, Rockin’ With The Best had me nodding my head and wanting to get up out of my seat at my desk at work. Along with these heavier tunes, you hear the other side of the band with songs like Circles and Fly Away which are just as catchy but demonstrate the number of genres this band draw from.


I was fortunate enough to be able to sit with Marcos Curiel, the guitarist and supporting vocals for P.O.D. before the show. Speaking on behalf of the band, Marcos states how much fun they’re having so far on the tour so far, at what is essentially the halfway point for them, and how it’s like a big group of friends traveling around in a caravan. Alien Ant Farm and P.O.D. have toured together multiple times in the past so the guys all know the ropes for a successful tour around Europe. This time around their support ’68 are a new addition, but Marcos explains they’ve been friends with Josh (Scogin) since back when he was in Norma Jean & The Chariot and how they saw him perform as ’68 back in 2015 and the conversation got around to keeping them in mind for a tour in the future and the rest is history. I ask him what sort of an age group the shows have been attracting. Is it, like myself, the generation who were listening the them in the early 2000s or is it more of the newer generation who’re getting into their new stuff? To answer this, when he comes on stage, he asks the question “how many of you have seen us before?” vs “and how many of you is this your first time?” the response is as he said in the interview, a lot more of new fans than of old fans, all loving the new music as well as the old. We go on to discuss everything from how the band come up with the songs by jamming it out, influences, what sort of things he’s listening to now along with attending Drake & Post Malone concerts with his Son. It’s clear from the way that he speaks that he clearly loves what it is that he does and the music he produces, and it really does show when you see him up on that stage playing off the crowd’s energy and enjoyment.

Alien Ant Farm

On to the concert, and we start with the raw sounding in your face music of ’68, a two piece from Atlanta, Georgia. It always astounds me that so much sound can be made by one guitar, one drumkit and a set of lungs. They proceed to warm up the contingent of early supporters who have made the journey down early with powerful girthy guitar licks, thumping drums and rasping vocals. Highlight of the performance for me was either Josh using the vibrations of the amplifier to produce sound from the guitar or the gradual disassembly of the drum kit during the last song so that Michael was left with just his snare drum by the end. Next up we are treated to Alien Ant Farm performing their signature hard rock sound and catchy lyrics. They swiftly move through hit after hit including Wish, Movies and Courage before performing a Bad Brains cover. After this, Dryden lovingly devotes the song Goodbye to both his Mother (her favourite AAF song) and the late Chester Bennington. Of course, no Alien Ant Farm performance would be complete without their chart topping hit Smooth Criminal, a Michael Jackson cover which never fails to get the crowd singing and moving along.

Alien Ant Farm

Finally, P.O.D. take to the stage and kick things off immediately with Boom. The crowd is nice and warmed up by this and before long a mosh pit has formed in the centre of the tightly packed main area of the 02 Academy. The band flies through songs like Rock The Party (Off The Hook), Always Southern California and Rockin’ With The Best. Some of us older fans get songs like Satellite and Youth Of The Nation thrown in which of course go down very well. The crowd are loving it, and the band playing with great energy. From my spot on the stairwell I get a good view of both and it’s always nice to see a group of people mutually enjoying something together. The penultimate song, my personal favourite, is Alive. This gets the biggest reaction from the crowd and the pit grows larger until it nearly stretches form the stage to the sound decks. One last song to finish which is Listening For The Silence and we’re done. The band leaves the stage and the crowds begin to make their way home, everyone with big grins on their faces from a thoroughly entertaining evening of great music.

Article by:

Alex Cowen

Biomedical Simulation Technician at University of Bristol, plays rugby and attends a lot of gigs.