Fightstar @ The Ritz
First thing I have to mention, just to get it out the way, is that Charlie Simpson was the bloke from Busted, and yes there is talk of them getting back together, but for the moment, he’s the frontman of a well known alternative rock band called Fightstar. Right, that’s the Busted shit out the way, let’s crack on with how Saturday night at the O2 Ritz went down.
There were plenty of hardcore Fightstar fans in the crowd, complete with vintage t-shirts and singing voices. Manchester has never failed to deliver in regards to live events.
I personally am not an avid Fightstar fan, but they are one of the bands on my bucket list, and you must check them out if you’re into the UK rock scene. The die-hard fans here tonight crammed themselves inside a venue which happened to be packed tighter than a fat bloke in skinny jeans. The at-mosh-phere was fused to explode in high-energy riffs and catchy choruses, which were delivered on cue as soon as the Fightstar lads stepped on stage.
Despite touring their new album Behind The Devil’s Back, Charlie and co. played tracks from their back catalogue as well as new one. It’s a pretty obvious choice when tunes like Paint Your Target, Palahniuk’s Laughter and War Machine are recognised as their biggest tunes to date. Admirable mention to Death Car, which allowed the crowd to open up a huge circle pit followed by carnage by the Manchester faithful.
Despite playing well-constructed songs to a packed house, I was personally bemused by the amount of guitar changes permitted during a one hour set. It seemed like a personal record attempt to change guitar for each song, but that’s a minor digression. My main complaint was the lighting. If you want to see a band, it’s handy to be able to see the actual band, and not just be completely blinded by the stage lighting. I didn’t realise sunglasses were necessary to see Fightstar. The secondary vocals needed considerably more volume. Lead guitarist Alex Westaway’s vocals were simply nowhere to be found on the night.
But hey, it’s all about the stage presence and sounds, and they were largely spot on. Charlie rocked a complete guitar collection throughtout the set, and still had time to abandon his guitar altogether and rock the mic while his brother took over on guitar.
Words: Tom Blackwell | Photos: Wendy Keogh