Four Year Strong / Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! / Boston Manor / Homebound
Manchester Academy 2 – 15/02/17
Supporting Four Year Strong on their 10 Year Anniversary tour of their debut album ‘Rise or Die trying’ was Homebound, Boston Manor and Chunk No Captain Chunk!
First on was Homebound (6) the four lads seemed quite young and kicked off the gig with the kind of pop punk you would expect to see supporting FYS. The crowd enjoyed them, people at the barrier were bobbing their heads in appreciation to the heavy drum beat. They started the gig nicely, but to put it into a cliché, they were the calm before the storm and the crowd was on the same level.
Next up were Boston Manor (7) when these guys got into it the energy of the crowd began to rise rapidly, it quickly became clear the night was going to build into craziness. The crowd was clapping rhythmically to be part of the action, helping to build up ‘Shade’. There were constant fist bumps in the air and members of the crowd at the front were singing along. The real head banging began with Boston Manor and before expecting the it security guards had their work cut out for them as the crowd surfing began and three people were pulled over the barrier. Their final song was ‘Trapped Nerve’, the combination of the fast drum beat and the nimble guitar riff left the crowd on a high ready for the next act.
The final support was the French pop punk band Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! (9) it was immediately clear that some of the crowd had gotten lucky that they were supporting. They open-ended up with ‘Playing Dead’ the first song on their latest album ‘Get Lost Find Yourself’. The front of the room were singing along word for word along with front man Bert. The energy in the room was at high that was only going to get bigger and bigger. Hands were in the air and heads were banging, the crowd loved them. They played their cover of Smash Mouth’s ‘All Star’, and who doesn’t love a good punk cover of a pop song? But seeing it live got everyone even more excited, throughout their set there was constant people being pulled over the barrier. They got the crowd as pumped as they could possibly be for what was coming next.
Everyone knew what was in store for them and I’m willing to bet most of the room have been fans of the band for a long time. This wasn’t just a regular Four Year Strong (9) gig, it was the ten year anniversary tour for their first album ‘Rise or Die Trying’. It was going to be a night of true heavy American pop punk and we all knew it. The stage was blacked out as they walked on, the crowd was braced for it, the sound of church bells and sirens filled the room as ‘The Take Over’ intro began. The drums began, the guitar followed and the lights came on as ‘Start The Take Over’ was shouted through the mic. The crowd erupted.
‘Prepare to Be Digitally Manipulated’ followed, it was hard to concentrate on getting the shot and resist singing along and dancing myself. The crowed had waited for this and the energy in the room was at a high, crowd surfing got more intense and so did peoples head banging. Running through the album the next song was ‘Abandon Ship Or Abandon All Hope’, the room sung along to the entire song, even more emphasis on the catchy chorus.
As soon as the three songs were finished I packed up my camera and ran through the Academy to the back of the gig. With a new perspective of the room it was immediately clear that this was a sold out show. From the first song there was constantly crowd surfers being pulled over the barrier, the photographers battled to get the shots whilst avoiding limbs and shoves coming from over the barrier. But from being stood at the back of the venue I could see just how crazy the crowd really were. There was a consistency of bodies in the air along with fists and metal hands. Every word was sung by the audience with extreme enthusiasm. People at the back of the room were dancing and head banging just as hard as people at the front, the whole room was there to feel some classic pop punk and that’s exactly what they did.
They played ‘Rise or Die Trying’ album in its order, allowing the crowd to be constantly excited as they knew what was coming by the end of each song. They played a few fan favourites from ‘Enemy of The World’ when they had finished the majority of ‘Rise or Die Trying’. The riff for ‘Find My Way Back’ started and Dan and Alan’s classic American vocals flooded the room, and the crowd loved it. They also played ‘What The Hell Is A Gigawatt’, this was just as heavy live as you would expect it to be. Dan was jumping around the stage and the audience was doing the same. Everyone danced to the fast drums and heavy fender riffs.
The last two songs were ‘Go Down in History’ off their latest album and ‘It Must Really Suck to be Four Year Strong Right Now’ from ‘Enemy of The World’. The crowd thought it was over but without even leaving the stage they made it clear we were getting an encore after all. Dan announced it was their final song and I’m willing to bet the rest of the room was hoping for the same song I was. Four Year Strong don’t disappoint anyone. ‘This one is called Wasting Time’ was shouted through the mic and you can guarantee almost everyone soul in that room lost it completely. Everyone sung along as loud as they could, especially for the chorus that is engrained in every fans brain. Dan got the audience to clap to build back up to the chorus and the moment was filled with sentiment. The whole room was jumping, despite it being the final song everyone danced as hard as they could to finish off the gig with a bang!
Review & Photography: Holly Elizabeth Photography