Live Review: Tonight Alive – KOKO, London

Editor's Review
  • The energy bounced throughout the beautiful venue, leaving every fan satisfied with the evening’s extraordinary show.


A memorable and momentous show for the Aussie band. A beautiful venue, exuberant crowd, incredible stage presence from the band and powerful vocals from McDougall.

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Tonight Alive make their first night of two shows at KOKO London, one to remember. The Australian band consisting of Jenna McDougall (vocals), Whakaio Taahi (guitar/keys), Jake Hardy (guitar), Cam Adler (bass) and Matt Best (drums), have come far within recent years, managing to sell out all dates of their UK tour and even requiring upgrades from their original venues.

After selling out their original London date, the band decided to add an extra date to commemorate the year mark of the release of the record, The Other Side . For a one-off momentous show, they needed something special…leading to the idea of playing the entire album, The Other Side, in full.

Support came from Chunk! No. Captain Chunk! & The Summer Set.

French band, Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! gave a strong performance to begin the show. Frontman Poncet, gave an energised performance during the set, which included a cover of Smash Mouth’s “Allstar”, warming up the crowd.

The Summer Set came onstage diving straight into “Lightning in a Bottle”and “F*** U Over” before playing a cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Sing”, much to the crowd’s delight. Their set would not be complete without old classics “Chelsea” and “Young”. With an energy filled set, the band ended with “Boomerang”.

The time had arrived for the headliner, Best was onstage first to perform a drum solo before being joined onstage by the other members of Tonight Alive and tears into the first track “The Ocean” much to the excitement of the crowd. “Don’t Wish” was then introduced with the explanation of not being somebody’s second best.

Whilst maintaining the high energy coming from the band, came the second song released from the record, “Lonely Girl”, swiftly leading to “Hell and Back” with echoing “oo’s” at the end of the song.

McDougall then addresses the crowd, thanking  those who had travelled all the way over from various countries, including Australia, USA, Spain, Italy and more! She acknowledges that all fans present have been supporting the band right from the beginning and that the journey was theirs as much as the band’s. She then introduces the title track “The Other Side” which talks about the first time you fall in love.

In the true spirit of pop punk, McDougall encourages the crowd to head bang to next track “The Fire” which was fulfilled throughout the song and the heavy instrumental, leading into “Complexes”, complete with swaying arms.

McDougall dedicates the set to producer, Dave Petrovic, who has played a large role in the journey of Tonight Alive. The next song “Come Home” has only been played live a few times, but this would not have been noticeable with the slick guitar riffs played between Hardy and Taahi . McDougall’s vocal ability is powerful throughout the set but is most evident in “Bathwater”, as she hits notes at the top of her range with ease.

Upon writing the album, she talks about keeping her walls up, but realised it was time to break them down after heartfelt letters from fans telling their story. “The Other Side” is a time capsule telling a story of a certain era in the band. The final two tracks on the record had never been played live previously. Before “Say Please”, McDougall makes an impromptu speech on her nerves prior to the show, explaining that TOS is a time capsule, representing  a particular era in the band. After the live debut of the track, the emotions surfaces as she wipes away a tear while giving a speech on how the track is about ‘learning who you are and figuring that out’ although it can take a long time.

Before the final track, McDougall explains that TOS is not the last change the band will go through as they are currently writing a new record. “You Don’t Owe Me Anything” relays back to the idea of change, and is about letting go of something/someone and certain phases in life.  With Taahi playing the keyboard, he starts a calm vibe before the full band joins in; a triumphant ending to the record’s setlist.

After cheers for an encore from the crowd, the band return onstage, playing their single “The Edge”, recorded for the soundtrack of Spider-Man 2. They ended the set with tracks “Listening” and “What Are You So Scared Of?” while waving a Union Jack flag. A final speech from the adored singer talked of accepting everything happens for a reason, wanting something and working for it, and never live in fear of judgment.

Throughout the concert, the band gave an incredible performance to an enthusiastic crowd. The audience sang along to every song, clapping in time at the right moments, giving the overall gig experience one to remember. The energy bounced throughout the beautiful venue, leaving every fan satisfied with the evening’s extraordinary show. What a journey to be a part of.

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