Angels and Airwaves - Manchester Academy - 10.4.08

Opening the night’sentertainment is probably the UK’s most hyped and promising pop punk band, You Me at Six. Hailing from Surrey the five teenagers are rakingup a nice portfolio of experience playing with big bands on bigger stages every month and this tour is no different.

The bands set at first sound wise is all over the place, which is no fault of theirs at all. The guitars sound is very flat and grainy and are being overhauledby the drums, but eventually this is fixed and into their third song ‘The Gossip’ starts to show the audience their true potential. Singer Max leads the stage with hand claps and an infectiously catchy openingvocal melody to the song which is so easy to repeat, that newcomers to the band can be found singing along.

Next in the set is ‘Save it forthe bedroom’ which has been rotating on MTV2 and Kerrang for a good few months now so there is no surprise when the single chorded intro gets agreat reaction of screams from the crowd.

New material like ‘If I Were in your shoes’ leans towards a rockier root in the same vein as Lostprophets. On record this songs chorus is supplied with a great melody but live its not pulled off as well as it could be as the backing vocals seem quiet weak, something which the band may want towork on.

The band end on another myspace favourite ‘The Rumour’which oozes the bands song writing maturity compared to the other more poppy and simpler of tunes. Its bass lead verse and powerful powerchord fuelled chorus really fill the Academy, and as the song hits its climax the band throw all their all into it with a high energy conclusion to their 6 song set.

You Me at Six may be doing what hundreds of bands across the pond are doing, but trying to build up a name here in the UK before trying to make it in the US market has seemed like mission impossible over the last few years. They are definitely having a good go at thus and perhaps with a few improvements here and there this young band may have what it takes to achieve where others have failed.

Angels and Airwaves are greeted to the stage with cries of ‘We Want Tom’ from this packed academy crowd. No matter how hard front man Tom Delonge tries his Blink182 ghost of the past will always haunt him, his former band is one ofthe main reasons many have come out to see him tonight.

The stage tonight is decorated with flags and an interesting light show to accompany a visual side to the bands performance, maybe this is a bit over the top for a venue the size of the academy but the band seem at home within it.

Opening with ‘Call to Arms’ the band really get into their sound and Tom floats around the stage opting for somestrange dancing which can only be compared with Morrissey but with moreadded hand movements more suited to a contemporary dance piece.

Their latest single ‘Everything is Magic’ is played very early in the nights set. With its Cure themed bass lined accompanied by a glittery guitarline which sounds like it has been copied and pasted from a Blink 182song doesn’t cut it as well as it should live. It doesn’t sound as full as on record, perhaps this has something to do with Tom just singing and leaving his guitar at the side of the stage.

‘Distraction’and ‘The Adventure’ get the band back on track. They sound very full and strong, and the crowd are singing along to every line that MrDelonge delivers. The musicianship is great and each member throws a huge amount of energy into Angel & Airwaves performance.

Halfway through the set, Tom Delonge is left on his own onstage to have a bit of banter with his audience and play an acoustic song or two. Their was a lot of press when Blink 182 broke up about Tom changing, and towards the end of their rein their famous toilet humour banter didstart to die down.

Tonight Tom tries to show his still has a humorous side to him and treats us to a joke or two, before breaking into an acoustic rendition of Blink 182’s ‘Reckless Abandon’ whicharguably has the biggest sing-along of the night. Where Mr Delonge normally tries to get away from his former band in any interviews its nice to see he acknowledges that his former band did mean a lot to the people attending tonight’s show.

‘War’ is the song chosen to end this 15 song set and the crowd love every minute of arguably the fans favourite. The riff which leads this song is highly infectious and will leave many of the audience humming its tune all night. The audience act as backing vocalists to the band and the Academy is a wallof sound as every mouth joins Tom in finishing the bands superb set off in style.

There is no doubt A&A have treated their fans to an exceptional performance tonight in Manchester but to a newcomer the band could easily get bored of what was seen tonight. A&A songstructure is very similar in each song and sometimes very predictable which can seem like 2 hours of 15 songs is more like a few very long tracks.

You can not take away though that Angels and Airwaves are a very professional act and have entertained everyone who has attended the Academy with their tight and expertly delivered rock show.Maybe on their return to the UK bigger venues maybe needed to cater their needs.

Words: Joe Lennox
Photos: Mark Forrer

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