Zebrahead & Support @ Club Academy
Another rainy night in Manchester and I had just finished work. Well, I couldn’t think of a better reason to get my arse to a gig and what a night, with pop-punk legends Zebrahead hitting up Club Academ. They brought along pop-rockers Patent Pending and Japanese electro-rockers Man With A Mission this was set to be a great night. The venue filled up quick and there was such an age range in there, from little kids to teenagers to full grown adults. This made for an amazing atmosphere, the younger members of the crowd brought the intensity and the older members brought the loud noise. I have to say it’s always nice when even the bar staff is getting into the bands and dancing along. That’s when you know you’re at a good gig.
Man With A Mission
Oh my, what a sight, Man With A Mission hit the stage and just wow, I was in awe. This was one fantastic performance, the band was just so energetic and interesting. The sight of their wolf masks was a sight to behold and you can just tell that they were into their performance. The set just flowed by and the crowd just made this set so enjoyable. One moment of the set that was particularly memorable was their cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” which got the crowd going mental. Also playing the tune “Database” (the theme tune to the anime ‘Log Horizon’) again sending the fans into a frenzy. As the set progressed they just kept getting better, I was exhausted just by watching them. Then they invited Ali and Matty from Zebrahead to perform “Out of Control” from their collaboration EP this year. I have to say it was one hell of a way to open the night and it certainly got the crowd going!
So let’s call this what it was. The headline set. There were more people there for them, the crowd was louder and the place was just jumping. The US pop-rockers just exploded on stage and the crowd just went nuts. Opening on the song Classic You and the crowd burst into life with excitement and passion. Joe Ragosta, was just one amazing frontman and he got the crowd fired up. Being the day of the new album release for Riot Hearts Rebellion you can just tell that the band were living it up and so excited about it as they hit their new single Started In My Head, again much to the crowd’s delight. Hell, there were so many great songs and the crowds participation was exquisite. Everyone was dancing and partying right along with the band. There were jazz hands and sing-a-longs it was everything a good pop set is made out of.
Love was certainly in the air as there was an on-stage proposal in the middle of the set, once again sending the crowd into an absolute frenzy. It was quite amazing to see to be honest. The set got a little emotional as the band spoke of the Bataclan incident in Paris, they went into their final tune, the big single Brighter which was certainly a fitting way to end the set. Overall Patent Pending just completely stole the show with a massive energetic and entertaining performance.
After Patent Pending it was a little difficult to get into this set. A big portion of the crowd had gone and that intensity that was in the Patent Pending wasn't there. Still the pop-punk legends knew how to make the most of the crowd. The band radiated excitement like Macho Man Randy Savage in those Slim Jim adverts from back in the day. The band just hit the stage with everything they had. The setlist was a great mix of old and new songs, for a band that has been around for nearly 20 years they took full advantage of that fact. With great old songs like Rescue Me, Call Your Friends and Hello Tomorrow that was brilliant for that old school pop rock feel. Also, they showed off some of their newer songs like Save Your Breath and Who Brings a Knife to a Gunfight. Also returning to Man With A Mission by inviting them on-stage to perform. An absolutely stunning performance and the crowd just completely got into it. With crowd surfers, circle pits, sing-a-longs and just an insane atmosphere overall.
This was a great show. I was well and truly exhausted by the end of it but I had so much fun. All three bands put on an amazing show and there was just such an amazing atmosphere for everyone involved. What a cracking night.
Words: Mick Birchall | Photos: Wendy Keogh