The Get Up Kids – Manchester Academy


Following the release ‘On a Wire’, the Get Up Kids have finally made it back round to Europe after a break of almost 3 years. The last time I had the privelege to go and see them was in the Roadhouse (way back in the days before Punktastic), and they blew me away. It is no secret that the more recent ‘Kids material is far more subdued, and, as some refer to it in a frequently annoying fashion, ‘mature’. With this in mind, and the fact I didn’t warm that greatly to the album, left me with a sense of foreboding about the concert, much like revisiting a nostalgia that proved less than satisfactory compared to memory.

Providing the pre-kids entertainment were Koufax, recently signed to Vagrant, with new CD to boot – though I confess I am completely unacquainted with their material, save for the song ‘Never gonna happen’ song on the Vagrant sampler, they did impress me and the surrounding folk, and I think they do warrant a closer look; I became increasingly aware that they played their instruments almost flawlessly, and got a positive reaction from the crowd.

Waiting for the Kids to come on stage was a melancholy affair (blue lighting setting the scene perhaps?), and strangely, a dimming of the lights was accompanied by bizarre hip-hop beat of which the likes none of us really expected; unfazed though they predictably yet satisfying blazed into ‘Holiday’, which is by now due to the success of the previous album, guaranteed adrenaline material. Though it felt as though the sonics slightly meshed together, the overall effect still had impact with the crowd, somewhat docile after the intermission, urged into spontaneous action.

A dedication to Koufax, ‘I’m a loner dottie, a rebel’ was delivered with a power and passion equal to that of ‘Ten Minutes‘, both powerhouse indie pop songs that seem to quench the thirst the crowd possesses for something to release built up energy with; they are interspersed between the more downbeat material from the recent release, maintaining a kind of up-down cycle the Kids display in a number of songs, though this time on a macro, gig style level.

For reasons I explained earlier, I wasn’t entirely sure that the new material would prove enjoyable to listen to in a live environemnt – unfortunately, my gut instinct was wrong, and ‘Campfire Kansas’, ‘Overdue’ and ‘Fall from Grace’ were performed with a dignified talent; of course, such a crowd reaction as raucous as that of Action and Action or ‘I’m a loner dottie, a rebel’ could not be expected, yet appreciation was the order of the day here, not instant satisfaction; and to this extent the concert was far more enjoyable than a few no form, no content punk bands to have graced the Academy stage in recent years.

A plethora of guitars stood amidst the stage, which the band constantly switched between, to remain accurate to the recording material – and this they did, with ‘Overdue’ sounding eerily similar to the recorded version; a particular highlight was ‘Anne Arbour’, a song already steeped in emotion through the use of layering, and it was performed superbly, and obviously held massive significance with the performers – and left the audience and myself, supremely satisfied. ‘Walking On a Wire’ was played out in extended fashion, almost cutting itself off from the audience in order to create a small world upon stage of musical saturation, yet captivating onlookers just the same.

After an encore treated as protocol, ‘Action and Action‘ was no sooner declared as it was underway, and the raw intensity of ‘Something to Write Home About’ was in full effect – the one thing many people traded around ΒΆΕ“11 of their money for – and they were not disappointed. Ending with the melancholy, yet what can only be described beautiful ‘Hannah Hold On’ brought the concert, as with many ventures by the band, to a nostalgic, peaceful, and delicate resolve – perhaps nostalgia may have a hope yet.