When openers Hundredth (7) take to the stage the room is still mostly empty, possibly due to some confusion with the door times tonight. This turns out to be a real shame as Hundredth prove to be a great choice for an opening band. Their uplifting hardcore songs are made even better thanks to the energy and passion they put in, especially vocalist Chadwick Johnson. Despite being barely full there are still a few dedicated fans down the front singing along with every song and brand new song Demons give a good taste of what to expect next from Hundredth. Despite some unfortunate circumstance the quality of Hundredth’s songs and performance really shone through tonight.
Next up were Being As An Ocean (5), who were clearly the biggest draw for a number of people at this show. Before the band even start playing vocalist Joel Quartuccio was in the crowd and as soon as they kicked into their opening song he was surrounded by fans all screaming the words back to him and fighting to get the mic. Being As An Ocean play incredibly emotional melodic hardcore and this emotion is reflected in Joel’s performance and even more when midway through songs he breaks into a spoken word section and pours his heart out. As first impressions go, Being As An Ocean made a very good one. Unfortunately it soon became apparent that just don’t have many interesting songs, with every song following a very similar pattern of having an intense and often heavy beginning before going into a spoken word section which went on for too long and then building up to a intense finish. Because of this Being As An Ocean soon became very boring, but this didn’t bother the many fans watching. If Being As An Ocean can write some more interesting on their next album they could become a great band but they aren’t quite there yet.
Finally it was time for August Burns Red (8) to play and as soon as they began the pit was open and the fans down the front were screaming every word to set opener Provision. August Burns Red then smashed through a set largely focused on latest album Rescue & Restore whilst still throwing in plenty of older fan favourites. The venue being changed from the Club Academy to Academy 3 certainly helped things tonight as the lack of the barrier made the show even more intimate and lead to plenty of crowd-surfing and stage dives. Despite their music being intense and very technical, August Burns Red show they are a band who love to have fun at the same time and keep the tone light through their set, especially when getting everyone to dance during Internal Cannon. After closing with White Washed, vocalist Jake Luhrs soon emerged back and pulled a young fan onstage to thank him for sticking it out down the front despite the chaotic atmosphere. Finally August Burns Red wrapped things up with fan favourite Composure which saw one last circle pit and wave of crowd surfers. It’s been a while since August Burns Red played Manchester and based on tonight’s reaction it was clear fans were happy to have them back.
Stay tuned to Rocksins.com for an interview with August Burns Red’s Jake Luhrs later this week!