Apollo, Manchester, UK
2nd November 2016
Chicago’s Rise Against hit Manchester tonight on the second date of their current UK tour in support of their new album, Wolves, alongside the melodic hardcore legends is a diverse duo of support acts in the shape of Sleeping With Sirens and hardcore upstarts PEARS. The queue for Rise Against’s return to Manchester snakes round both sides of Manchester’s historic Apollo venue and I start to get worried that we’re not going to catch the opening set by PEARS, and as that’s one of the main reasons I’m here tonight this is a worrying state of affairs.
We thankfully make it into the Apollo
in the nick of time for PEARS
, they immediately kick into a furious set of hardcore and you can see why they have developed a well deserved reputation for an impressive live show. PEARS
deliver an intense barrage that befits their growing status, and as far as I’m concerned they are one of the best live hardcore acts out there at the moment. When I last caught PEARS,
at this years Rebellion Festival,
they were impressive, but tonight they sound sharper and more focused and there’s a reason they captured the attention of so many since their formation. PEARS
have opened tonight’s show with a short sharp set that’s sets the bar so high that I almost feel sorry for the band that has to follow them, almost.
‘ frontman, Zach Quinn
, is inevitably bare chested by the end of the set and he cuts a perpetually manic and uninhibited figure during a set that spans their short but prolific career, including material from their freshly released split album with Direct Hit
. It’s an intense and all too short twenty five minute set from the New Orleans quartet, aside from the brief easy listening intermissions that punctuate their set this has been an opening salvo that was delivered at full tilt throughout. Despite the early start to their set they play to steadily filling and appreciative crowd at the Manchester Apollo,
and you get the impression that PEARS
have made more than a few friends tonight.
Next up is Sleeping With Sirens
who are touring in support of their new album, Gossip
, and were something of an unknown quantity to me prior to tonight. They play a set of slick post hardcore influenced alt rock that is delivered in an accomplished and crowd pleasing style, but for me their inclusion on this tour seems to be at odds with the two other bands on the bill and for me they came across as a slightly disappointing filling in an otherwise amazing sandwich, however the enthusiastic reaction from a sizable section of the crowd, and the borderline hysteria I encountered whilst queuing to get into the venue, suggests that I am in the minority on this one.
There’s a lengthy changeover before Rise Against
take the stage, which gives the opportunity for a varied selection of punk tunes old and new, including everything from The Clash
to Me First And The Gimme Gimme’s
, to warm the crowd up for tonight’s headliners. The house lights eventually drop and the four minute warning sounds revealing two huge video screens displaying cartoon apocalyptic imagery that sets the tone for tonight’s show. The atmosphere builds until the screen then focuses in on it’s last remaining target, Manchester UK, and we’re off into a set that spans Rise Against
‘s almost two decade long career.
have come a long way since their days with Fat Wreck Chords
, major record deals have taken them into bigger concert halls and bought elaborate stage sets and immense lighting rigs, but the core of the band and their ideals remain the same, and before the first number is out they have the crowd in the palm of the hands. New material from their latest full length, Wolves
, is dropped into the set and blends in perfectly. Dancing For Rain
is appropriately dedicated to Manchester and the set is theatrically punctuated by short dark animated films that depict a dystopian future, the second of these is followed by a triumphant Collapse (Post-Amerika)
that’s accompanied by images of resistance and police brutality.
It’s been too long since Rise Against
hit the UK and the crowds affection for them hasn’t dimmed in the years have that passed. An acoustic Swing Life Away
gets a note perfect chorus from the Manchester crowd, a further heartfelt acoustic number, People Live Here
, is dedicated to those who have the courage to fight for peace in the face of aggression. Hero Of War
see’s the reappearance of the full band for the finale of the song, and for the remainder of the set Rise Against
return to full flow. Tonight’s set has covered the majority of Rise Against
’s back catalogue and they close with Satellite
from their 2011 album, Endgame
Prior to their return we get the final instalment of the dystopian animations, that true to the bands self depicts the downtrodden rising up as wolves against those who have created a living hell, and they retake the stage to deliver a suitably defiant encore to close what has been an impressive return to our shores. Tonight’s show was marked by stunning sets that bookended either end of the evening, Pears
and Rise Against
were both flawless tonight, with the latter’s also having a dramatic visual appeal. But whilst both bands have very different styles they were both equally impressive and share the same vision, and that’s pretty much punk rock in a nutshell, it isn’t our differences that matter, it’s the common bonds that bind us together.
‘s website is here
can be ordered here
Sleeping With Sirens
website can be found here
can be ordered via Fat Wreck Chords here
Live photography by Steven Alexis
You can click on any of Steven’s photos to view a slide show of the images