LIVE: The Menzingers @ Manchester Academy 2

By Will Whitby

Few bands have an arsenal of as many enthralling opening guitar licks as The Menzingers. As the raucous, get-up-and-go opening riff to the band’s ‘I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore’ slammed over the speakers a showcase of rock at its most honest and care free ensued.

Released earlier this year ‘After The Party’ is the fifth album from the Pennsylvania rockers and is an idyllic mix of matured songs with punk roots but with Springsteen-esque crescendos. Described by the band as “a love letter to their twenties” it incorporated a more pack-a-punk heartland rock sound with big guitar licks and even bigger choruses.

Opening with album opener ‘Tellin’ Lies’ it was clear from the first chorus that everyone in the room was on the same wavelength. A chorus blazing of “where do we go when our twenties are over?”, the matured crowd gave out so much energy it wouldn’t look out of place at a teen pop-punk show- pits and pointing everywhere!

This wasn’t the only taste of punk in Manchester that night as Manchester Punk Festival brought in bands from all around the world to Manchester to celebrate on its opening night. In fact, The Menzingers decided to swap the dates of the Manchester and Bristol dates around as to not clash with the festival too much. The group even gave a shout out to punk band The Murderburgers during the set declaring “there is so much good music in this city this weekend.”

Having two vocalists is something that The Menzingers play to their advantage as Tom May and Greg Barnett play off each other throughout the show. The chemistry on stage is that of a group of guys who have been doing this for years and they’re finally growing overseas and it is rewarding to see as a fan.

The venue tonight was the Academy 2 which by day plays hosts to Manchester University student events to which Greg Barnett asked; “Do any of you go university here?” To which a meagre 7 people put their hands up – PT included. Barnett continued to indulge the crowd in the story behind the next track ‘Midwestern States’ which is about graduating one day and the next going on tour and never looking back.

With the mosh pit and crowd continuing to erupt to ‘Rodent’ the onslaught of brilliant choruses continued. As album track ‘After The Party’, ‘Bad Catholics’ and show highlight ‘Your Wild Years’ emptied out the crowds vocal chords as the show drew to an end.

Encores came from nostalgia anthem ‘Lookers’ released last summer and one of the highlights of 2014’s ‘Rented World’ and ‘In Remission’ to jam the show out. It was during the last song where PT saw something that cemented why live music and bands like The Menzingers are so important.

Spotted in the crowd was a student with what looked like his dad. Both looked like they lived for music, both were drenched in sweat from a night moshing and both were wide-mouthed shouting the lyrics back to the stage. Seeing both generations go for it brought it home that The Menzingers are one of the few bands to be cherished. They’re a band that brings people together, evokes heaps of nostalgia and brings the good times along for the ride.