Taking Back Sunday were a band at the forefront of the mid 2000’s hugely influential emo/alternative music scene as they managed to encapsulate the teenage angsty spirit with songs written about love, loss and heartbreak with an undertone of defiance.
Its now more than a decade on since the perceived “glory days” and as the bands audience have grown up and matured so did their lyrical content and musical direction as the bands latest record, 2016’s, ‘Tidal Wave’ has been described by many as their most well rounded album and seen as the band being back to their best, so it now remained to be seen whether this would transcend through their live performances.
There were early signs of the fans unwavering dedication before a note was even sung as Wednesday nights show at the O2 Ritz in Manchester was a sell out, and fans were even queuing outside the venue over night just for a chance to be at the very front when the boys from Long Island take the stage, this speaks volumes for the band’s lasting effect on the fans of their music.
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The band’s live shows have a reputation of non stop high octane energy and with the opening track of the night ‘Death Wolf’ it seemed to fit in to that category seamlessly as the crowd are up in arms from the get go and this only continues with ‘Liar (Takes One to Know One)’ as the fans scream the lyrics back to the band.
With a back catalogue spanning 17 years and 7 albums the set plays out like a “best of” list, songs such as ‘What’s It Feel Like To Be A Ghost?’, ‘Timberwolves at New Jersey’ and ‘A Decade Under the Influence’ are greeted as old favourites but the band effortlessly drop new songs ‘You Can’t Look Back’, ‘All Excess’ and ‘Call Come Running’ into the set which are welcomed with open arms by the fans as they dance, scream and shout.
Lead singer, Adam Lazzara’s charisma can’t go unnoticed, performing in front of an expectant crowd looks easy for him as he struts and peacocks his way around the stage with the crowd in the palm of one hand and his mic swinging in the other.
His back and forth banter with the crowd comes in many forms as one minute he’s performing his interpretation of a royal wave and the next he’s talking about his favourite Manchester bands such as Elbow which was greeted with boo’s, clearly the audience music taste hasn’t matured enough to appreciate that.
Not to fall into the rock band cliche of an encore the band power through with an 18 song set that reaches its peak with arguably the band’s most well known song, ‘Cute Without the “E”‘ and the wonderfully pop punk song ‘MakeDamnSure’ which sends the crowd into a frenzy as they sing a long at vocal chord shattering volume, an energy sapping finisher that sends the crowd home on a high.
It’s easy for bands like Taking Back Sunday to rely too heavily on nostalgia to keep them going, and tour the same songs year after year but this band have shown that they can not only keep up the pace with their live shows, they can also create new music that effortlessly fits in with their existing body of work, if longevity is the prize then this band are on the right track to win.