A couple of issues at the box office meant that unfortunately I missed the opening band Cayetana, which was a shame because the muffled sounds coming through the walls into the foyer sounded great.
We did manage to find our way inside just in time for PUP though, who once again proved themselves to be one of the best live bands around at the minute. This is maybe the fourth or fifth time we’ve seen PUP play and they get better and better each time – an impressive achievement when you consider they were pretty bloody impressive the first time around!
The highlight of their set was undoubtedly ‘Sleep In The Heat’ with ‘If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will’ a close second. These were the standout songs mainly due to the audience reaction – if you’d just walked in at at this point you’d be forgiven for thinking you were watching a headline band play their final song. Front to back, side to side, every single person was screaming the words back at the top of their voices. It was something special. The band also told a tale of how things haven’t always gone right for them in Manchester – last time there were technical difficulties and certain times before they’d just not gone down well with the crowd. Evidently the crowd are very much onside, but for a city that considers itself the home of music in the UK, it should probably be ashamed of the fact it took so long to appreciate such an awesome band.
The Menzingers had set themselves a tough task bringing a band like PUP on tour with them. I don’t envy anyone having to follow that every night. Good thing then, that The Menzingers aren’t just any other band. From the second they strolled onstage and played the opening chords of ‘Tellin Lies’ the the closing note of ‘In Remission’ the band had the entire room in the palm of their hand.
What’s interesting about The Menzingers when you compare them to other punk bands playing to similar sized crowds is that in the live arena, they don’t really have much of a show, but that’s because they don’t need one. This band is just four dudes with a bunch of awesome songs. They look like they’re having a great time onstage, and comes with the feeling that they’d look exactly the same if there were just 15 people watching, or if there were an extra 10,000 there.
I don’t know whether they’re a band that consider how a song will be live when they’re writing, but there are certain songs that, while great on record, really come to life when there’s loads of people in a room singing along together. ‘The Obituaries’ is the best example of this. The chorus of “I will fuck this up, I fucking know it!” sounds great on record, but I’ve always felt it could have done with a bit more of a ‘gang vocal’ feel to take it to the next level. Enter 1500 voices screaming it back at the band and it’s beyond anything you could imagine.
Three days later and I’m still feeling that post-gig high. There was something special going on in that room on Friday night. The Menzingers and PUP were the perfect combination, and there seems to be no stopping either band right now.