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Live: AS IT IS // O2 Forum Kentish Town, London

“Thank you for letting us be who we are”, Brighton’s quartet, As It Is round up ‘The Great Depression Tour’ with their biggest headline show to date at London’s Forum.

One thing’s for sure, the black eyeliner is back in fashion.

Reminiscent of the noughties emo revival scene, As It Is break the societal stigma surrounding mental illness in the only way they know, through the power of music.

Preceded by a whirlwind of changes in the band’s line-up as well as their personal lives, As It Is released their third album The Great Depression earlier in the Summer. A brutally honest and conceptual body of work that truly opened a new chapter for the band. Tackling heavy themes and confronting the social behaviours that dominate in the modern world of consumerism and conformity, As It Is issued a bold statement of their vision that was heard by many.

Taking to the stage for their biggest headliner to date, the group lit a new spark in the hearts and minds of the crowd filling up O2 Forum Kentish Town last Saturday night. True to their darkly-tinged aesthetic glam and with some pyro effects added to the mix, As It Is elevated their live performance to the next level.

Bringing forth their vivid passion and palpable energy, the ominous tones of The Reaper opened the set as we geared up for the thrilling ride ahead. From the fast-paced dynamics and emotional chorus in The Handwritten Letter to the dirty riffs and rough vocals in The Fire, The Dark, the band’s musical transition pierced right through. “Welcome to The Great Depression”, Patty Walters greeted us with clear enthusiasm in his voice that echoed throughout the room.

Spinning some of the fan favourites, No Way Out channelled melancholic feelings into the explosive soundscape, whilst Hey Rachel burst into a massive singalong from the very first note. Elsewhere in the set, the acoustic The Question, The Answer set up a more emotional and pensive mood which continued with sentimental hooks in Still Remembering.

After announcing their first hometown show in five years, the band dropped an old school As It Is bomb in the form of Can’t Save Myself which beautifully reflected the topics they openly talk about on their latest record. Seeing a few bodies fly here and there, the crowdsurfing actions were fully on by this stage.

Taking a minute to address the audience, Patty said: “Thank you for letting us be who we are. Thank you for letting us live our dream. Thank you for talking about mental health. Sometimes it feels like nobody is listening but we’re fucking listening.” With the lyrics of The End. – “Nobody’s listening” – rounding off the main set, it was a truly grandiose moment that proved the magnitude of what As It Is represent and stand for.

Pouring every ounce of energy into their set, the encore came from their absolute banger Dial Tones, hard-hitting The Wounded World and thought-provoking The Stigma (Boys Don’t Cry) which brought along the final angry punch alongside a firework display.

In a digital culture where we are being constantly reminded what’s socially acceptable and what’s not, we still seek comfort in music. As It Is are a band who allowed themselves to feel broken and lost just so they could come back stronger. Defending their values, they continue the open discourse that challenges us all to reflect on our lives. And despite the dismal undertones that accompanied us throughout, they delivered a proper rock show that will be remembered for a longer while.

Photos: Kasia Osowiecka