It’s the middle of the summer holidays. This is usually the time for fun and lots of partying. What better soundtrack to this than some quality pop punk to keep the momentum. All this can be found right here in the middle of Manchester in some small, freakishly warm, compact venue.
The first of tonight’s line up to keep all attendees interested is Leopards from Cheshire. Although they start off stiffly, this band eventually come into their own presenting thick alt rock guitars and atmosphere enhanced by the wonderful vocals of lead vocalist Jenna Clarke. Their use of innovative instrumentation and proggy pop formula a la Minus the Bear definitely underlines them as one’s to watch.
Consisting of former members from This City, Telegraphs and Chaos Days, Eager Teeth from Brighton are a bit of a puzzle at first but by the end of their set, it all begins to make sense. Mixing catchy melodic choruses with a hint of rock n roll swagger provides very good entertainment. As a live band they behave as a tightly wound businessman that goes sadistically unhinged from a frustrating line of work. When the new album drops I for one urge you to buy it and do some endless jamming because I will.
Anticipation isn’t the word when Mixtapes arrive on the stage. Both hardcore fans and curious music lovers alike watch a tight rocket powered energy burst forth in front of them. The same effect of the band on record applies here tonight as everyone’s heads nod and their toes tap as if the songs have triggered a pop pulley which has hooked onto the crowds joints and started pulling them simultaneously. Finishing off their set with a cover of ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ by Wheatus with help from members from Eager Teeth and Set Your Goals helps to accomplish satisfied grin on the faces of all those attending.
It’s all sweat no friction when tonight’s headliners Set Your Goals jump on to the stage kicking things off with an oldie in the form of ‘Goonies Never Say Die!’ The positive fun vibes that have snatched up the atmosphere are truly wonderful to behold and the Californian pop punks know how to take advantage of this. Circle pits ensue during ‘Gaia Bleeds…’ and ‘Echoes’ with heaps of sing alongs to a setlist that mixes all of the band’s strongest songs from all 3 of their full-lengths. The interaction with the crowd presents a relationship between two lifelong friends, a friendship that will last a lifetime. A huge stage invasion for closing number ‘Mutiny!’ is a definite snapshot of one of the best nights of summer 2012 for both band and fan.
Words by Aaron Lohan (@ooran_loohan)