By DJ Astrocreep

The Menzingers 2024 tour posterA cab across Manchester to avoid busy post football trains means I arrive at the venue for tonight’s musical shenanigans with plenty of spare time. A quick couple of pints in the neighbouring student guild gets me in the right mood and all set up for a night of alternative rock and punk action. 

First up are Gladie, and there is a fair few down early to see them. Sounding like similar alternative rock acts Modern Baseball or Mom Jeans, that have a vibe that veers between introspection and more uptempo punkier sounds. There’s a very awkward moment as front woman Augusta Koch snaps a string during the opening track, leading to a few minutes delay while she has to restring for the next song, though the set otherwise goes without a hitch. There are plenty of harmonies and such, with a lot to like about the five-piece.

There’s a decent smattering of applause for them from the now half full room as they finish their set, which is scant reward for an enjoyable set.

Our main support is an act by the name of Prince Daddy And The Hyena, which is certainly one of the memorable names I’ve caught live this year. I’m quite torn on my thoughts about them, as musically, they’re probably closer to my usual taste than Gladie before them, but there seems to be something about lead singer Gregory’s vocals that grates on me. His melodic end is quite good, but the occasional screech he does is like nails on a chalkboard for me and instantly off-putting.

Everything else is good, the band are fairly tight, just the screeching is actually vexing. A quick blast of the intro to Blink 182’s ‘Dumpweed’ gets the crowd quickly worked up, followed by loud booing as they stop. It’s overall not a bad set, but for the aforementioned screams.

On to our headliners and they are straight at it, after the crowd gives a loud singalong of set precursor ‘Walk Of Life’. Its noticeable from the very off that the atmosphere feels incredibly positive and uplifting, akin to Devin Townsend in that spirit. Lots of singing along and the band are clearly enjoying it as much as we all are. Considering it’s the last night of the tour, there are no signs of any weariness or flagging and the band are quite quick to acknowledge how much they appreciate the audience, with the love clearly reciprocated.

It repeatedly strikes me how the lyrics can be quite so melancholic, yet such massive, anthemic songs that so many want to sing along to quite so much. Whether it’s an almost cathartic release, there such an energy emanating from every part of the room for the entire set. The band are tight as hell, and the sheer outpouring of everything just envelops you, carrying you with it however willing or not you are.

From openers ‘Hope Is A Dangerous Little Thing’ and ‘I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore’, everyone is right up for it. Loudly singing, clapping along, high spirited mosh pits, the entire venue feels absolutely electric. Even on newer songs like ‘Ultraviolet’ there are still people pogoing with the fantastic energy continuing to spill out.

‘Come On Heartache’ and ’America (You’re Freaking Me Out)’ are another of high points among a very high level of performance from their 21 song set. A crowd choice for the start of the encore gives us ‘Gates’ before the last song ‘Casey’ rings out.

A highly compelling performance.

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