The Bronx, Fucked Up, Rolo Tomassi
Charlie Ralph 10/03/2009
Punk is no longer a necessary genre. Yes, it's ethics are just as relevant today as they were at punk's birth, but musically punk is a tired and beaten animal, worn over time by more current trends like Nu-Metal hijacking its ideals and replacing the music with something awful. But in the packed Manchester Academy 2 tonight, when The Bronx's lead singer Matt Caughtran forces the crowd into silence, and the band kick into Heart Attack American, you would think that punk was more alive than ever.
Of course, before that furious finalé there was some truly awe-inspiring support. Not quite harnessing the anger, but definitely scoring major points for sheer passion and musical ability, Rolo Tomassi open the evening to a quickly filling venue. While many people, as is usual for a Tomassi performance, stand confused and stare at lead singer Eva Spence, by the end of their set they seem to have won over a fair amount of the crowd, and their merch stand was certainly heaving with people at the end of the night. Following them was Fucked Up, which was simultaneously the biggest mistake, and best decision of the tour. They were by far the best band of the night, their backline performing surprisingly well, and frontman Father Damian obviously stealing the show, jumping into the front row topless regularly and stomping over the audience, booming down the microphone half the time, and letting the hardcore members of the crowd sing the rest.
So when Fucked Up left the stage, it would always be a challenge for The Bronx. They had to follow probably the best live band touring at the moment. But thankfully when the American headliners did take to the stage, they were met with a rapturous response, and did the best they could. They thrashed out the hits left, right, and centre. Opening with new album highlight Ship High In Transit, then leading soon into crowd favourites like Shitty Future. Just like Damian, Matt from The Bronx spent the majority of the gig in the crowd, either being carried around as if on a throne, or sprawling on the floor screaming, which all took the show up a notch. They saved their biggest songs for the end, playing History's Stranglers, Knifeman (which inspired a massive stage invasion) and the aforementioned incredible Heart Attack American, they definitely lived up to their punk sensibilities.
But as was suspected, they simply failed to live up to the performance before them. But that was always going to happen, and it's hard to criticise a band for not playing better than the best. But this tour was most definitely the best in the country in a long time, and everyone left the venue with a massive smile on their face that was sure to live on for weeks. This proves more than anything that whether or not it has a place in today's world, there'll always be a place for punk in people's hearts.