On the back of their recently released seventh studio album “Confuse & Conquer”, Portland hardcore legends Poison Idea have graced these shores as part of their European tour. Part of this mammoth trek meant a stop off at the Star & Garter for their first Manchester show in over 20 years, guaranteeing a near-sold out and sweaty night for all packed into the upstairs of the small venue.

Opening up the night were Denim & Leather, and far from the NWOBHM band that their name might at first glance suggest, the vocalist came across like a angrier version of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis, looking like he had been possessed by the music the way he twitched and shuddered with every insinuated lyric or change of tempo. Not much info about them online but if you see them added to any bill, check them out as they’re a really impressive band.

Next up were Night Stalker from Leeds, who played a short and fast set of straight-up hardcore and provided a perfect link between the openers and the headliners. No nonsense noise that sounded really tight and proved another great choice. Another band to check out if you ever get the chance.

The time soon came for the headliners and after a short check of the setlist they opened up and the action barely stopped for over an hour, bar the odd bit of banter with the crowd. With a new album to promote there were obviously a few new songs thrown in and they blended well into a set otherwise crammed with classics. Unsurprisingly, the best reception was saved for the tracks from their seminal album “Feel the Darkness”, with ‘Plastic Bomb’, ‘The Badge’, ‘Just to Get Away’ and ‘Taken By Surprise’ all opening up pits at the front and sounding as viscous as they did all those years ago. The already busy room for the support acts got even busier and the occasional pits just added to the sweaty atmosphere. Everything about the show was spot on, with the band sounding as ferocious and abrasive as ever and feeding off the energy of the crowd in front of them. References were made to their previous appearance in the city, which caused some issues with other bands, but there was nothing other than good feelings coming from both sides of the stage. It being so long since most of the crowd had seen the band, it was always going to be a special night but I don’t think any of the crowd expected this. Just hope it’s not too long before we see them back again.

Poison Idea – Facebook page
Night Stalker – Bandcamp page
Denim & Leather – Bandcamp page

Band Photo by Jason Charles.