LIVE: Motion City Soundtrack / Dinosaur Pile Up / The Xcerts / Lacey @ The O2 Ritz, Manchester

By Chris Hilson

With a near twenty year long career that created six albums and featured countless headline and festival appearances almost behind them, it came down to this, three final UK tour dates and three final chances to say goodbye. With their ‘So Long, Farewell’ heading for Australia and Japan, Motion City Soundtrack called on some reliable homegrown support acts to get the crowd warmed up.

Nottingham-based Lacey were first up but their slick melodic rock was less than captivating. A sparse crowd and some disinterested between-song interaction from the band didn’t help, but a poor sound mix and the decision to concentrate largely on their newest material meant that all but a dedicated few could really engage.

The Xcerts initially seemed to suffer from sound problems of their own, commenting that their set would be a “30 minute sound check” but they soon overcame any issues. Helped by the charismatic presence of front man Murray Macleod they mixed a couple of slower numbers with anthemic crowd-pleasers such as ‘I Don’t Care’ and ‘Live Like This’ to get the crowd truly warmed up. Dinosaur Pile-Up took the final support slot but they couldn’t build upon the momentum of The Xcerts and their grungy rock didn’t fare as well as expected.

However there was no doubt at all who everyone had come to see and the anticipation alone seemed to cause the temperature to rise in the packed venue as Motion City Soundtrack arrived on stage to sound of The Beastie Boys ‘Shake Your Rump’. With such a strong back catalogue to choose from there was going to be some hard choices to make for the set-list, and although more recent tracks such as ‘Anything At All’ and ‘True Romance’ got an airing and were sung along to whole-heartedly, the emphasis was on the classic songs from ‘I Am The Movie’, ‘Even If It Kills Me’, and ‘Commit This To Memory’ which were rapturously received.

Motion City Soundtrack have never shied away from tackling themes of mental health, loss, and addiction alongside tales of failed relationships and the lyrics to songs such as ‘A Lifeless Ordinary’, ‘Even If It Kills Me’ and ‘The Words She Said Destroyed My Planet’ were given extra poignancy by the fact that, for many, this would be the last time they would be able to benefit from the catharsis of singing them back at the top of their lungs. Motion City Soundtrack were clearly aware of what tonight meant to the fans and they posed for a handful of photos with the whole crowd in the background.

After a short encore that built up to the much loved and iconic ‘The Future Freaks Me Out’, all that was left was for Justin Pierre to deliver heartfelt thanks on behalf of himself and the band to those in attendance for their love and support over the years. Never have ‘Last Night’s lyrics been more fitting. “This is goodbye, this is the end.


Check out more photos from the show in our gallery.