The Riot Before – Manchester Night & Day

By Andy

*Gig at the Oxford, not Night & Day as above*

An odd venue for a gig, The Oxford?s upstairs is open to the pub below, making those not interested in hearing frenetic punk rock potentially unhappy. However, the people who gathered for the gig were in for a treat.

First up were COWARDS. A jolt of energy from a pretty professional five-piece, it was the perfect start to the night. Aggressive punk rock hardcore with a mix of screamed and sung vocals, they had a strong presence that commanded attention, even as the night?s opener. [3.5/5]

Next came WEXHAPPENEDXNEXT, a totally different twosome. Sped up thrash, the occasional rap and tech guitar work made their set interesting and varied, and though they seemed slightly out of place with the rest of the billing, this didn?t put them off and they offered a strong set. [3/5]
As the final support act, DOWN AND OUTS were probably the most musically similar group. Straight up punk rock, they played fast and loud tunes with a melodic edge. Messy and rough, they had a good reception from the crowd and deservedly so. Standard punk rock is easy to find, but this group made a fairly common genre their own with a distinctive sound and a memorable set. [3.5/5]

Opening with ?The Middle Distance? from their most recent album ?Rebellion?, THE RIOT BEFORE built slowly to the peak of the song, and going into ?You Can?t Sexy Dance To Punk Rock? was the perfect release. Frantic, well-played and energetic, this song was a definite highlight. In fact, energetic is one of the most important things about The Riot Before?s performance. Throwing themselves around, there was so much passion and soul in their show; it?s genuinely upsetting to think of more well known bands getting away with a half-hearted set. The tempo was slowed for the intense ?Words Written Over Coffee?. Brett Adams is an incredible vocalist, and the inspired lyrics of this song were sung out with such passion, it sent chills just about everywhere. The whole set was intense and felt personal; a band that love what they do and play incredibly written songs about doing it, like ?We Are Wild Stallions? with the lyric of ?But I wouldn?t trade this now for any sum, ?cause money can?t buy momentum?. You can believe phrases like this, and believe that the band stand wholeheartedly by that. Ending the set on ?Capillaries? was perfect ? this is genuinely one of the best songs of the genre written in the last few years. It is everything a punk rock anthem should be. A sense of alienation, pulsing rhythm, frenetic guitars and intelligent, personal lyrics that relate on a huge scale. It?s a personal story told as a chaotic last stand, detailing life on the road, the loneliness that goes with it, the sense of belonging. It paints vivid pictures and ends like it begins ? fast, desperate and fucking beautiful. Their entire performance was intense and the whole group seemed so genuinely happy to be playing ? The Riot Before deserve to sell out shows to diehard fans, and this gig was a perfect example of why. [4.5/5]