The Subways – The Institute Birmingham

On the opening night of their UK tour, promoting their eponymously titled new album, The Subways have a surprise in store from the outset as drummer Josh Morgan is beating the skins again after a recent break due to illness.

With the original triumvirate restored, they waste no time in instigating intense moshpit action by playing old favourite ‘We Don’t Need Money to Have a Good Time’, a nostalgic ode for many in this crowd who would probably yearn for a return to summer nights as a teenager, when you could chill in a park until dusk and beyond.

The Subways as well as marking their new album are keen to reflect on the tenth anniversary of their spunky debut, ‘Young for Eternity’, a much hyped record on release but only created enough ripples in the charts to ensure they build a solid fanbase as opposed to hitting the major leagues. I also believe that because the template for future albums adopted a similar path, it’s hard to differentiate between their material in terms of standard. Four albums of affable pop-rock keeps the core fans entertained but an attempt to diversify might have led to a shift in success and critical acclaim.

However, they charge through songs with such gusto and intensity, the crowd aren’t overly concerned by the set not delivering any leftfield tunes, or rarely mixing up the tempo. It’s a case of sticking to a tried and tested formula: songs with simplistic melodies, banal lyrics but triggers collective bouncing and jostling throughout.

Signature hit ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Queen is played mid-set; a suggestion in the band’s confidence in their newer material is how many of their better known songs are played early. It’s an effective ploy as it ushers in crowd engagement early and this shows no sign of abating.

When it comes to lists such as ‘The Greatest Songs of All Time’ and ‘The Greatest Albums Ever’, The Subways are going to be struggling to make the longlist, but in the category of “throwing a rock ‘n’ roll party”, The Subways are in the upper echelons. After all, it only cost sixteen quid to have a good time. And closing with ‘It’s a Party’ suggests they would be in accordance with that viewpoint.