Without a care in the world, a full range of fans flooded the venue on this particular sold-out night. They pushed their way into the front and in anticipation of the bands performing. For a person like myself who hasn’t been confronted regularly with this particular genre, I just have to think outside of the box and see if they really did interest me.
The first band to come onto the stage was The Wonder Years. I was wondering if they were appealing, as many fans were getting over-excited for the band. Harsh as it may seem, all the band can do was acrobatic jumps and make their girls go wild. With songs that sound monotone, I wasn’t particularly impressed by their performance and their set did seem to drag on.
After a brief set change, I was being swamped by squeals and even a poster amongst the sea of rabid girls. I was a little stumped for a moment, I thought I was either in the wrong concert or possibly the wrong night? Framing Hanley introduced themselves by blasting their incredibly popular song, a cover Lil Wayne’s Lollipop, through the system. Their take on the song received a whopping fifty million views on YouTube and still counting as we speak. It seemed that the lead singer Kenneth Nixon was more concerned about his microphone was not working than the crowd. It was quite a shame that he did not acknowledge the crowd despite the sound difficulties. The audience gave their all singing, some even wrecking their throats just to be heard but, not one word muttered from other band members for back-up. Especially when it came to the latest single ‘Stupid Girl’. As their set continued the main attraction was, unfortunately, no the music but watching Nixon getting ‘mad’ over the sound issues with the microphone. However, their girl fans seemed to be happy with what they were seeing/hearing, especiallysongs ‘The Fold’, ’23 Days’ and last track ‘Hear Me Now’.
Next up onto the stage was another new band for me, Four Year Strong. In spite of not being aware of their music, they wasted little time to get the place jumping with their first track on the night ‘Tonight We Feel Alive (On A Saturday)’. They performed their hit-setting track ‘It Must Suck Being Four Years Strong Right Now’ that whipped Manchester even further into a frenzy. The lead members Dan O’Connor and Alan Day, with beards that you can comb through nicely, performed their crushing songs note perfect. Their set was intense for all ages and it even got the adults nodding their heads, albeit a little gingerly! Four Year Strong appealed to the whole room, intense energy, less acrobatic jumping and getting the place to respond to each song played such as ‘Maniac (R.O.D)’, ‘What The Hell Is A Gigawatt’ and new single ‘Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die’. A memorable set by Four Year Strong which blew the previous two acts clear out of the water.
Now, all that is left for the show was the finale from the pop-punk rocksters Good Charlotte. Everyone seemed to be a bit mellow when the orchestral introduction from their current album “Cardiology” began. Within a split second, the crowd exploded into life! They launched the set with hit tune ‘Anthem’, and then bombarded their fan’s with ‘Boys and Girls’, ‘My Bloody Valentine’, ‘Silver Screen Romance’ and ‘Riot Girl’. This created a gradual tone to their set, as if there was an explosion waiting to happen and that explosion was their new single from their Cardiology record ‘It’s Like Her Birthday’ which took the place onto a new level. The pace was kept with hits ‘Keep Your Hands off My Girl’, ‘Predictable’, ‘The Young And Hopeless’ and ‘The River’. With the night ending on ‘Festival Song’ and the crowd thriller ‘Lifestyles Of The Rich and Famous’, the show ended on a high note with Good Charlotte getting as many crowdsurfers as they can, with surprisingly as many girls as lads going over the barricade!
The night ended with a positive note but we felt as though the brothers Benji and Joel Madden seemed a bit disconnected with their audience. Of course, they did a few jumps, played with some “ways of English culture” and who is better – Manchester United or Manchester City banter. For most of the time it still felt as if all they had to communicate with the audience was oh’s and yeah’s. It wasn’t quite the energetic feel you would get from a blood-rushing gig in any given genre and their interaction didn’t flow through with them.
It was the same with their support acts, we wanted to be thrilled, but little energy was fed through to the crowd. Four Year Strong were the only band that gave it their all, never letting the level drop and had the two-way energy feed with the crowd. If we are too harsh in our analysis, then maybe it is the way both artist and audience feed off from what they are given. So, on this occasion, it was not the best but not the worst gig.