The Gospel Youth take to the stage with their polished brand of pop rock, that still manages to maintain an air of ruggedness to their sound. The band play to a sizeable crowd for the evening, given that ticket sales have led to the upper level of the venue being closed off, the main floor fills up quickly. Another hic-up for the show is in the form of The Gospel Youth’s merch stall. The band’s merch stall is understocked as their merch hasn’t made it for the first night of the tour. Setbacks aside, The Gospel Youth give it their all with songs from newest release Always Lose, such as Bloodlines and Moods Like English Weather going down a storm, and while the crowd is somewhat stagnant, they still clap along and applaud each song. For an opening band the sound levels for the set are amazing, complementing the band’s tight performance and impeccable stage presence.
Roam give a well played yet bland performance of their whiny brand of pop punk. The crowd stay stagnant for the duration of the set and calls from vocalist Alex Costello for the crowd to bounce go ignored. Songs like Flatline and Deadweight go down well with the crowd however, and the band introduce Guilty by telling the crowd it’s about someone who deserves a spinkick in the face, which receives a few cheers from the crowd. For the most part however Roam’s performance seems tired and leaves the crowd somewhat bored.
Tonight Alive come on to rancorous applause before kicking straight into The Book of Love, and while the crowd again remain stationary, the crowd sings along to every word. Luckily the band follow straight into Lonely Girl, which sees the first proper signs of life from the crowd all night. Where The Gospel Youth’s levels were immaculate, Tonight Alive’s levels don’t start off as such, with guitarist Jake Hardy being at the forefront of the mix, overpowering bass player Cameron Adler and vocalist Jenna McDougall. Following on from Lonely Girl, the band carry on with older songs The Ocean and Listening, before returning to new record Underworld with the emotional Crack My Heart. During the breaks in the band’s set, Mcdougall gives empowering speeches on topics ranging from feminism to spiritual enlightenment, and give a performance that holds just as much passion. The crowd’s reaction to such a performance however is listless and somewhat dampens the mood, given their energy is heavily juxtaposed to that of the band. The band’s last visit to Manchester took place during the Limitless tour, an album the group also revisit during the set, including an acoustic rendition of Oxygen, a song the band didn’t get a chance to perform on their last UK run. The full band kick straight back in with To Be Free, and the crowd’s lifeless reaction to the band hasn’t gone unnoticed, with Mcdougall telling the crowd she’s not seen any jumping during the night, and this is their que. The band begin to close the night out with Hell and Back and The Other Side from 2013’s album of the same name, and latest single Dissipear. Instead of leaving the stage; pre-encore, Mcdougall again gives an empowered speech about higher thinking about one’s self and ignoring pressures from society and the media, before launching into an encore of The Edge and lead single from Underworld, Temple. Both closing songs somehow top the energy and emotion from the rest of the set, and even though the crowd may seem not to reciprocate the passion the band prove that, even with a smaller crowd than they played to prior, they still have the same ardour and zeal as they ever have.