There are some bands just too good to miss. Having only reformed last year after a three year hiatus, they’ve been welcomed back by the scene they help spawn. Often referred to as pioneers, they picked up where the first wave of Emo left off, in turn launching the late nineties / early noughties revival. However never quite achieving the same mass success of the bands that followed, instead they’ve amassed a cult following over the years. Now back in the UK for potentially the last time, this four date mini tour not only promises to be a real treat for the diehards, but also for those new to the band through the numerous bands they’ve influenced.
Birmingham 02 Academy, 17/08/09
After an extra intimate show at The Peel in London, the next stop is Birmingham. It’s a welcome surprise that instead of being in the generic main room, we’re in the smaller Academy 2. On support duty, despite boasting members of Gallows and Haunts, Watford quartet Spycatcher prove to be a far too generic affair. Whilst there was nothing particularly wrong with their blend of gritty rock, equally there’s nothing memorable either. Or at least nothing memorable enough to justify tonight’s support slot, which any number of bands would have jumped at. Disappointing.
But let’s be honest, the night was never really going to be about Spycatcher. Tearing into opener ‘ Holiday’, the first half of The Get Up Kids’ set flew by. They may be noticeably older and a little more, shall we say, rounded, but early airings for ‘The One You Want’ and a pounding version of ‘I’m A Loner Dottie, A Rebel’ quickly settled any doubts that it somehow wouldn’t live up to expectations. Whilst a new song mid-set, very much in the vein of third album ‘On A Wire’, divided opinion, outings for ‘Mass Pike’ and ‘Red Letter Day’ brought the set to a triumphant close. The encore featured their cover of The Cure’s classic ’Close To Me’, as well favourites ’Action & Action’, ‘I’ll Catch You’ and the thrilling finale of ‘Ten Minutes’. So far, so good
Manchester Academy 2, 18/08/09
Back up North and knowing what to expect from Spycatcher granted us more crucial warm up time in the pub. Finally arriving in the much larger Manchester Academy 2 it was clear this venue was much better suited; a lot less humid than Birmingham, even if still inevitably sweaty. Starting with ‘Coming Clean’, the majority of the set is the same; albeit for a reshuffle in order that worked much better, running much more smoothly. Welcome additions were ‘Martyr Me’ and ‘No Love’, and ending the encore with ‘I’ll Catch You” brought the night to a more sombre close. With what felt like a roudier crowd, despite the bigger venue there was a more welcoming atmosphere, with a lot more singaglongs than in Birmingham. As the band head back to London for their final gig of the tour, the majority at Manchester will have left feeling they got the performance they have been waiting a long time for. Whether or not the band will back in 2010 as speculated, or whether they will continue to write material remains unseen, although the band does seem to be getting on a lot better than in the past. Either way, there’s no question tonight was just a little bit special. Timeless