Review : Against The Current, Manchester Academy 2

Sometimes it’s not what you show, but what you hold back.

I confess – I’m a sucker for female fronted bands.  The problem with female fronted rock bands of a certain generation is that they’ll be compared to Paramore, and we know the issues they had in being largely considered as Hayley Williams and Band.

Against The Current piqued my interest because lead singer Chrissy Constanza already has a massive online following.  In other words, they can take some risks and don’t have to follow a pattern.  At £14.00 to see them play Manchester Academy 2, I thought it was worth a punt.

atc01

I missed most of the first support act, Beach Weather, due to being made to stand in a queue for what seemed like no reason whatsoever.  The bit I did see of the band points to great things.

Unfortunately I did catch the entire set of As It Is.  They were hard to watch because they were every cliché of what a pop rock band now is.  Ask a 6 year old to design a rock band and they wouldn’t give you AC/DC or U2, they would give you As It Is.  They reminded me of a poor imitation of Taking Back Sunday trying to be Busted.  It was all rock star jumps and bubblegum vocals and it grated.  I hate people talking to me about bands who have “sold out” but As It Is are arguably more manufactured commercial than some bona fide boy bands.

That made me nervous for the main event.  I was worried I was going to see a band trying too hard to be a band, rather than being themselves.

As it happens, Against The Current are still a conundrum for me.

atc02

They entered the stage to Runaway and it caused me to look over at the sound desk to find out how feverishly they might be working to get the vocals more audible over the rest of the band.  We were soon told that most of the band were sick and had in fact cancelled their previous date in Birmingham the night before.

Don’t get me wrong – the enthusiasm was there and it seemed genuine rather than the contrived nature of the antics of the second warm up act.  At one point Chrissy stopped to say that she didn’t realise she was going to get so hot running round on stage in jeans.  Presumably they’d been tipped off about the amount of rain in Manchester and that winter has arrived.

The songs that could be classified more as rock than pop just lacked the vocal power for me, and I suspect that was because of illness.  I’ve heard recordings and I’ve seen videos and it was the vocals I was really looking forward to.  The cover of My Chemical Romance’s Teenagers didn’t work and that was about as disappointing as the length of the set.  Yes, they only have one album and an EP to go at, but 13 songs flew by in around 50 minutes including the encore, which felt disappointing.

Where the band really fell in to their groove was with the slower songs.  I’m a big Death Cab For Cutie fan and listening to a Death Cab album, one would be prepared for a morose live show.  That would lead you to be rather shocked and amazed when they start to play live.  Death Cab are still a rock band because of how they play and the sound they produce, and this is what Against The Current managed in parts.

atc03

Chasing Ghosts and Roses worked with a subtle driving beat underneath vocals that didn’t need to strain too much.  Clever guitar melodies gave the songs a weight and interest.  I was reminded of The War On Drugs in style, but without the experience.

I want to give Against The Current another chance.  They have the tools and can be a success.  They seem like a band still trying to find who they are.  They’re not there quite yet, but at least they appear to be being honest with themselves and aren’t just opening the manual of “How To Be A Band” and putting every page in to their act.

Waited all night for you to come home
I always hated sleeping alone
Watching the roses wither away
Wishing my memories would die out the same
I waited all night, yeah, you never came

I miss the long nights under street lights
When our hearts were made of gold
I miss the feeling that we had then
We were never growing old
Yeah, I miss it all
Whoa oh, whoa oh, whoa oh
Yeah, I miss it all
Whoa oh, whoa oh, whoa oh

Everyone’s trying to help me move on
They say it gets better in the long run
You could say that I’ve a couple good days
But nobody’s eyes shine quite the same way
I waited all night, yeah, you never came

I miss the long nights under street lights
When our hearts were made of gold
I miss the feeling that we had then
We were never growing old
Yeah, I miss it all
Whoa oh, whoa oh, whoa oh
Yeah, I miss it all
Whoa oh, whoa oh, whoa oh

Waited all night for you to come home
I always hated sleeping alone
I hope that the lipstick I left on your face
Stays red like the roses I laid on your grave

I miss the long nights under street lights
When our hearts were made of gold
I miss the feeling that we had then
We were never growing old
Yeah, I miss it all

Roses by Against The Current

 

 

Leave A Comment?